Union Fights Back on Drug Testing Mandate


The Boston Firefighters’ Union is fighting a new mandate that all firefighters will be randomly tested for drug and alcohol use. The excuse they are using is “self protection”.  In my opinion, the protection of the public from these civil servants completely outweighs that of the civil servants themselves.  These people are responsible for protecting citizens from dangerous situations.  How can they do that if they are using alcohol or narcotics on the job?  This union should take a long hard look at their position on this matter and weigh the pros and cons.  Do their personal beliefs regarding drug and alcohol testing really surpass the need for public safety?  If the answer is yes, then I would suggest they find another career.

Fire Department’s culture problem

July 10, 2008 By Joan Vennochi, The Boston Globe

CLOSE RANKS. Protect self interest, not the public interest.

The Boston Firefighters’ Union is once again flaunting its me-first culture and resistance to change.

Four months ago, Boston Fire Commissioner Roderick Fraser demanded that a department board reopen its investigation and examine autopsy reports of two firefighters who died last year in a restaurant fire. The board – composed entirely of union members – did nothing. As reported by the Globe’s Donovan Slack, board members refused to examine autopsy reports that indicate that one firefighter had cocaine in his system and the second had a blood alcohol level of 0.27, more than three times the legal limit to drive in Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, the union, which has been without a contract since July 2006, continues to reject random drug testing, unless firefighters are paid more to do it. But despite strong union opposition, change is coming to the Boston Fire Department.


  • Boston politics are notorious for impropriety, corruption, and pronounced patronage. Add the union to the mix, and you get the expected result…. a focus upon money and contracts, vs. the safety of firefighters and the public.

    All public employers should be random drug tested…. politicians, teachers, and public safety personnel, period.