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News Release

Release #01.11
February 20, 2001

ALPA and TTD Seek Court Review of Testing Rule Changes

WASHINGTON, D.C.---The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), in conjunction with the Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the AFL-CIO, today filed a "Petition to Review" in the United States Court of Appeals challenging certain revisions to U.S. Department of Transportation rules governing drug testing for transportation workers.

The regulations now require "validity testing" of urine specimens, i.e., tests to determine the diluteness of the sample and the presence of exogenous substances. Workers with more dilute urine are deemed to have "substituted" their samples and treated as rule violators. ALPA and TTD believe that the recently revised rules lack "due process" for workers accused of violating these provisions.

Under these rules, a longtime employee, with an unblemished record and absolutely no evidence of any illegal drug use, could be deemed to have tampered with her sample without being given any real opportunity to demonstrate her innocence. The new procedures fail to adequately protect the 8.34 million transportation workers who, according to DOT, are subject to these regulations.

In the past year, ALPA uncovered serious issues in both the underlying science and the procedural guidelines for "validity testing" of urine samples provided for drug tests. As a result of ALPA’s defense of a pilot accused of "substituting" his urine sample, an emergency inspection of the national laboratories certified to conduct regulated testing was ordered by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

In that inspection, 40 or more of the 66 laboratories were found in non-compliance with the federal guidelines covering testing procedures. In light of those findings, the HHS announced the cancellation of approximately 300 test results for transportation workers nationwide.

In spite of the previous laboratory errors, the revised drug testing procedures announced on Dec 14, 2000 still limit the ability of accused individuals to gather the information necessary to mount a credible defense of their innocence.

The suit was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, in San Francisco.

ALPA and the TTD seek procedures to ensure that the rights of workers are protected. Along with a drug free workplace and national transportation system, the dignity and constitutional rights of all workers must be preserved.

ALPA represents 59,000 airline pilots at 49 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. It is a member of the TTD, which is composed of 32 AFL-CIO unions in various transportation trades. Visit the ALPA Web site at http://cf.alpa.org.

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ALPA CONTACT: John Mazor (703) 481-4440