“No-Call, No-Show” Employees: Opioid Addiction Is Devastating American Manufacturers

Wednesday, September 20, 2017
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
ZeroHedge.com
Sep 20, 2017

We’ve spent a lot of time of late discussing the impact of opioids on the American workforce. While it is unclear exactly how much of an impact opioids are having on the steadily declining labor force participation rate, one thing is clear: nearly half of working age men not in the labor force today take some form of opioids on a daily basis.

But, as Bloomberg points out today, drug abuse among those still gainfully employed is perhaps an even bigger problem for American manufacturing employers because of the safety concerns it presents. Meanwhile, the additional drug testing costs associated with maintaining a safe work environment, in an era in which opioid addiction is spiraling out of control, tend to “mount up” as additional employees are required just to manage rigorous testing programs.

At Philip Tulkoff’s food-processing plant in Baltimore, machines grind tough horseradish roots into puree. “If you put your arm in the wrong place,” the owner says, “and you’re not paying attention, it’s going to pull you in.” It’s not a good place to be intoxicated.

Drug abuse in the workforce is a growing challenge for American business. While economists have paid more attention to the opioid epidemic’s role in keeping people out of work, about two-thirds of those who report misusing pain-relievers are on the payroll. In the factory or office, such employees can be a drag on productivity, one of the U.S. economy’s sore spots. In the worst case, they can endanger themselves and their colleagues.

That’s why Tulkoff practices zero-tolerance. One randomly chosen employee gets tested every month, “and we’re gonna move it to two.” The costs mount up: He has to hire a third-party company to select the worker, and pay the clinic to conduct tests. Money is wasted training workers who subsequently drop out when they fail the screening.

“We caught someone recently, saw him injecting,’’ said Jay Steinmetz, chief executive of Barcoding Inc. The Baltimore company creates software, and provides equipment, that helps businesses manage their inventory. It’s a desk environment, with none of the grinding machinery that poses risks for Tulkoff’s staff.

Of course, other manufacturing companies have decided to take the opposite approach on drug testing as too rigorous a program would inevitably just result in excessive layoffs in an already tight labor market.

The Rest…HERE

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