While some businesses may still be recovering financially from the pandemic, General Motors is having a different issue: the company is looking to hire 400 temporary workers in its Flint, Michigan assembly plant and 275 temporary workers in Fort Wayne, Indiana and is having trouble attracting workers. The Detroit Metro Times reports that General Motors recently hosted a job fair in Fort Wayne that only attracted 60 applicants. If General Motors hired all 60 workers, they would still need an additional 215 workers to meet their hiring needs for Fort Wayne alone.
What’s the solution?
The United Auto Workers union (UAW) officials in the Flint and Fort Wayne plants have proposed a solution: stop testing applicants for marijuana and raise the minimum wage, which is currently at $16.67 per hour.
Why is the UAW saying this?
UAW Local 598 Shop Chairman Eric Walter noted in an interview with the Detroit Free Press that many applicants don’t continue the interview process after finding out about mandatory drug testing. He noted that young people specifically were likely to skip the interview.
Is weed legal in Michigan and Indiana?
As of June 2021, Michigan is one of the 16 states where weed is legal. By legal, this means that adults 21 or over can purchase and consume weed for medicinal and recreational purposes. In Michigan, adults can possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis in their home and up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis outside their home. The law also allows adults to grow up to 12 cannabis plants at home and purchase up to 2.5 ounces of weed at a time. In Indiana, weed is pretty much illegal for both recreational and medicinal purposes. The only form of weed that is legal in Indiana is CBD that contains less than .3% THC.
What type of drug test does General Motors perform?
General Motors is known to perform a hair follicle test, which as we know, can detect weed for 90-120 days after use. However, one of our users, a warehouse worker based in Beaverton, Oregon reports no drug test either pre-employment or on the job. The user states “I was never tested’. Note that this user is in Oregon, where recreational weed is legal. Although even in states where recreational weed is legal, we would expect warehouse workers to still receive drug tests given that these jobs are often considered to be “safety jobs” where being impaired on the job is considered to be dangerous.
How does General Motors feel about this?
General Motors has not responded
Could this mean the end of drug testing at General Motors?
Unlikely. First, the UAW’s suggestion is only in regards to weed drug testing. Companies typically test for drugs other than marijuana, so even if General Motors stops weed testing, it doesn’t mean they will stop drug testing completely.
States such as Nevada and Illinois and cities such as New York City and Philadelphia have banned pre-employment drug testing. In the cases of Nevada and Illinois, a state-wide ban makes sense because recreational weed is legal in these states. In the case of New York City and Philadelphia, the ban was limited to just the city since weed is not fully legal in either state. Indiana is very far from legalizing weed, so we wouldn’t count on the state to ban pre-employment drug testing. Given that recreational weed is legal in Michigan, on the other hand, it’s very possible that either General Motors or the state of Michigan will issue a ban on pre-employment weed testing. However, even in cities, states, and companies that ban pre-employment drug testing, this does not mean all workers are exempt from drug testing on the job. Case in point, Amazon’s recent plan to ban employment drug testing for weed does not apply to workers in roles regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (e.g. delivery truck drivers and operators of heavy machinery). Not only that, workers at Amazon can still be tested for weed if the company believes that drug related impairment caused an accident.
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