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Blue Light Report - January / February 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I hope everyone had a great holiday season and a Merry Christmas. As seasons go, to me, winter is a time for reflection and a time to prepare for the upcoming spring and summer.

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Blue Light Dispatch - March / April 2018

This message is very important to all members and applies to those who utilize the Out-of-Work wheel, as well as those who are dispatched or contract hired. The new DOT drug testing laws will impact many of us. I am referring to the addition of testing for semi-synthetic opioids: hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone and oxymorphone. Some of the common brand names for these are OxyContin, Percodan, Percocet, Vicodin, Lortab, Norco, Exalgo and Dilaudid. There may be others that I am unaware of.

The purpose of this message is to let you know the necessary steps that you now must take in order to pursue pipeline work if you are prescribed any of these medications.

If you have any prescriptions containing these semi-synthetic opioids and you attempt to go to work on a pipeline, it is advisable that you talk with your doctor and clarify whether he/she will be able to write a letter saying you are fit for duty. Particularly, a letter specifying that you are able to perform safety sensitive work, such as performing pipeline and fabrication work on the pipeline construction. It also may be beneficial to talk with your prescribing doctor about any and all plans of treatment that can provide reliable pain relief.

Once you are informed that your drug test provided positive results for these opioids, you will have five (5) business days to have your prescribing doctor get in touch with the Medical Review Officer.

If the doctor cannot convince the MRO that you can safely perform your work, the contractor will have the right to terminate you for being unfit for duty.

The drug test result will be changed to list as negative once you have proof of a legal prescription. This will mean that you are not subject to the Rehab steps in the National Pipeline Agreement or DOT.

This law has only been in effect for a month and it is proving to be very difficult to get our members through this process and on the job. There have only been a few members who have satisfied the MRO’s specifications. This is affecting many of our members who are simply trying to work for a living but are dealing with chronic pain. Feel free to contact the Dispatch Office at (918) 610-2761. We will do our best to assist you in this matter.

The Building & Trades work has been very slow this winter. We continue to search for Building & Trades work, but we truly expect that our pipeline work will arrive first and at a greater pace, so be prepared.

As of the date of this writing, the wheel has 1,374 Welders, 203 Journeymen, and 1,851 Helpers.