The UAW's Detroit 3 contracts contain similar substance abuse policies that essentially boil down to this: In a zero tolerance environment, seeking help will save your job, but repeat relapses will get you fired.
The companies' benefits guides break down the drug-testing regimen on the job and the coverage employees can expect for drug treatment.
At Ford Motor Co., the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Program requires hourly members to obtain "inpatient hospitalization authorization" and assessments from the Central Diagnostic and Referral Agencies before receiving treatment. It fully covers inpatient treatment for up to 365 days and the first 20 visits to an outpatient program.
Drug testing is briefly addressed in Ford's Code of Conduct Handbook: "In order to protect everyone's health and safety, the Company will take steps to investigate possible violations of its substance abuse policies," the company says, including personal and facility drug searches and medical evaluations. Ford says alcohol and drug testing also can occur "if judgment or performance appears impaired, if behavior is erratic, or under special circumstances such as following an accident."
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has a similar policy, one that covers lab tests, treatment suppliers and professional and ancillary services including therapy or counseling, not just for the employee but for covered family members as well. The program offers full coverage for 35 visits for substance abuse patients before a $25 copay begins to apply.
A memorandum of understanding on drug testing, identical to language in Ford's contract, states that the union and company agreed that employees returning to work after a leave of absence for substance abuse treatment will be subject to physical exams that include drug testing. That testing is conducted up to 12 times over two years. Three positive tests within three years results in a 12-month probationary period during which one more positive test is cause for termination with no chance to appeal.
General Motors, under its UAW contract, conducts drug testing in line with the guidelines set by the Department of Health and Human Services. For each positive test, employees are "deferred from working" for two weeks. Then, follow-up tests are scheduled and employees face a three-month probationary period during which they may be subject to surprise drug testing. The probation period increases to six months after a second positive and 12 months after the third. A fourth results in termination, "regardless of prior disciplinary record or length of service."
GM's Code of Conduct, titled "Winning with Integrity," states: "Working under the influence of drugs or alcohol can create a safety hazard and affect your judgment. That's why we prohibit employees from working under the influence of these substances. Medication prescribed to you by a doctor can also affect your ability to do your job safely. Check with your doctor about any impact your prescription might have on your ability to perform your job safely, and communicate any concerns to your supervisor." a