A railroad workers' strike may have been averted following news of a tentative deal between unions and railway companies this week, but a congressman says the conflict also speaks to the broader need to address labor and supply chain issues, including ending employment-related cannabis testing policies.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) discussed the issue and other aspects of cannabis reform during an appearance on C-SPAN's Washington Journal on Thursday. He said that the railroad worker deal is "welcome news" and the "situation that the workers faced was really intolerable."
Working on the railroad requires specialized skills, and while those jobs are generally well-paid, there's been a gradual erosion of workplace benefits and job security that has created tension and contributed to supply chain problems, the congressman said, adding that one part of the solution would be to eliminate drug testing mandates for cannabis, which discourages would-be applicants and can get qualified workers fired or otherwise punished even if they are not under the influence while at work.
"A lot of these shortcomings in terms of the supply chain are that people do not qualify for the jobs because they've used marijuana sometime in the last six weeks, which doesn't affect their ability to do their job, but it throws them out of the consideration," Blumenauer said.
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