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From: eye@interlog.com (eye WEEKLY)
Newsgroups: eye.news,alt.drugs,can.general,alt.privacy
Subject: EYE.NET: The Piss Police
Date: 21 Apr 1995 11:14:33 -0400
Approved: eye@interlog.com
Message-ID: <3n8i4p$aq6@gold.interlog.com>

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
eye WEEKLY                                               April 20 1995
Toronto's arts newspaper                      .....free every Thursday
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
EYE.NET                                                        EYE.NET

                             PISSING AWAY
 The Usenet `piss list' and others campaign against worker urinalysis

                                  by
                             K.K. CAMPBELL


The dream of every crude economist is to be able to account for labor
(humans) as methodically as machines, raw materials, overhead, etc.

Of course, it rarely works that way. Unlike machines, humans have
annoying interests extraneous to their roles as "capital." Humans think
for themselves -- even the dumb ones. Humans fight back.

In the never-ending struggle to hammer human-round-pegs into corporate-
square-holes, meet the ...

                              PISS POLICE

"Urinalysis" involves performing arcane alchemical rites over bottles
of employee urine. Consider it a peek through the ol' urinary tract
keyhole into workers' private lives.

In Canada, the High Priests of Urinal Augury lurk in the shadowy towers
of the Toronto Dominion Bank. Last August, the bank was given the green
light by the Human Rights Tribunal to force new employees to tinkle
into tumblers. (eyeNET could find no evidence supporting the rumor TD
sponsors the net's National Golden Shower Special Interest Group
(gshowerm@aol.com).)

TD's "official" logic runs thusly: People who "do drugs" ("drugs": a
generic term indicating the person using it actually knows nothing
about "drugs") are a higher risk in job performance. Of course, there's
no proof of this -- welllll, except for alcohol, which is notorious for
decreasing work performance, but TD isn't testing for booze.

"Don't be fooled, this War On Drugs is part of a political agenda,"
says Chris Conrad, director of the L.A.-based Family Council on Drug
Awareness. I spoke with Conrad when he was in Toronto for a meeting of
the Canadian Hemp Association (cha@io.org). "When you test people for
only some drugs, you are testing people for lifestyle."

In the U.S., piss tests are common. "One of the tragedies is that U.S.
labor unions capitulated," Conrad says. "In the '80s, labor was unified
against it, then in the early '90s caved in. Now we have new
generations of young adults entering the labor force who assume they
have to be urine-tested to get jobs. We hope to shake that out of their
heads and make them realize the U.S. is the only country in the world
that does this on a truly national scale."

Why do so many U.S. companies piss-test? Conrad says that in the Reagan
years, Carlton Turner did studies for the National Institute of Drug
Abuse on drugs in the work place.

"Turner didn't find much about the effects of drugs in the work place,
but he did discover someone had invented a way to test for THC in
urine. Turner recognized it could be a gold mine. The Reagan
administration, at Turner's bidding, agreed to put urinalysis
requirements in the government contract process."

The U.S. government effectively subsidized the pee-test industry.
(Note: In '91, the U.S. Center for Disease Control reported labs
routinely come up with false positives in piss tests.)

"The European Community has totally banned it," Conrad says. "In fact,
in Europe there are more countries where you can legally smoke
marijuana in your home than where companies can legally urine-test."

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has asked the Federal Court of
Canada to review the tribunal decision legitimizing TD urine-mongers.
Canadian Privacy Commissioner Bruce Phillips dubbed TD's policy "a
major step in the intrusion of privacy" of workers. The Ontario
Information and Privacy Commission recommends a legislative ban against
random pee-tests. They all say workers should be measured by job
performance, not off-hours, recreational drug use.

                          TRACKING PEE FREAKS

"The Great Usenet Piss List" is a huge compilation of which U.S.
companies piss test (e.g., Intel, Motorola) and which refuse (e.g.,
Apple, Microsoft). Visit http://rafferty.com/~piss/. Or send email to
piss@rafferty.com with the word "send" in the subject line and you'll
be auto-forwarded the list.

It's also posted monthly by the Piss List maintainer, Colin Rafferty
(piss@rafferty.com). If you have first-hand experience with piss tests
from a company, add its name to the list. Anonymity is guaranteed.

Rafferty writes: "This list exists as a one-man crusade (supported by a
cast of thousands) against the current government-sponsored terrorism
sometimes called the Drug War .... This crusade is about constitutional
protections, individual privacy and freedom. It is not an advocacy of
the abuse of any mind-altering substance."

                      YOU'RE HIRED: NOW, URINATE

TD denies urine testing invades an employee's privacy. "We have taken
great measures to ensure the employee's privacy is maintained," TD
spokesperson Meredith Wiens told eyeNET. "The tests are between the
health professional and the employee only. Results don't go to the
employee's manager, they remain with the health professionals --
doctors and nurses who have their own code of confidentiality."

And TD stresses it only tests new employees -- i.e., those most
vulnerable and likely to comply. And if a new employee refuses to pee
for TD? "That's perfectly fine," Wiens says. "We respect that
decision." The employee's contract is terminated.

TD tests for opiates, cocaine and marijuana. eyeNET asked Wiens if she
believes marijuana belongs on the same plateau as coke and smack.

"Yes. We just don't want any drug users."

What about alcohol?

She corrects herself. "We don't want any illegal drug users."

Canadian marijuana advocates say Wiens' response proves this isn't a
workplace/health issue but rather a political/subculture issue. It's a
war on lifestyle, not drug use.

Many advocates ask the public to bank anywhere but TD. Others, however,
think the public should help the green-logo bank. Suggests HEMP B.C.'s
Marc Emery, "Since it's only a matter of time 'til the TD wants a poo
sample, why not leave one on their doorstep in advance?"