Business leaders decry drug issues in hiring
By The Associated Press
Published: Sunday, May 12, 2013, 7:33 p.m.
YORK — Business leaders said Gov. Tom Corbett was right when he said Pennsylvania employers are having trouble finding prospective workers who can pass a drug test.
That was the consensus among members of several business groups who held a conference call last week to discuss challenges facing companies with open positions, according to The York Dispatch.
Taking part on Thursday were the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the Pennsylvania Business Council, the Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association and the National Federation of Independent Business.
“What the governor said is absolutely valid,” chamber President Gene Barr said.
Federation state director Kevin Shivers said many employers are having trouble filling jobs despite the state's 8 percent unemployment rate.
“They don't have the skills, and drug testing is a problem,” Shivers said.
David Taylor, executive director of the manufacturers' association, said the issue is of greatest concern in the manufacturing industry, where workers may deal with volatile chemicals, bladed instruments, extreme temperatures and other potentially hazardous conditions.
“To operate a safe workplace, manufacturers need a drug-free environment so nobody gets hurt or killed,” Taylor said.
Taylor said, however, that applicants failing drug tests is not the biggest challenge manufacturers are facing. He said he has heard of manufacturers having to go through hundreds of applicants to find hires, since many potential ones lack science, technology, engineering and math skills as well as other basic skills.
“They don't have the internal discipline to show up on time, and they can't pass a drug test,” Taylor said.
Democrats this month heaped criticism on the Republican governor for suggesting that too many residents remain unemployed because they cannot pass drug tests.
In an April 29 interview, Corbett cited anecdotal evidence that the drug testing issue is part of the reason the state's March unemployment rate was 7.9 percent, down slightly from February but still more than the 7.6 percent national rate.
Democrats portrayed Corbett as out of touch with people who are looking for work and took him to task over cuts in state aid to public schools in 2011 and his ongoing refusal to accept an expansion of the state's Medicaid program that the federal government would underwrite initially.
Dave Patti, president of the business council, said the drug issue has been a problem for more than 20 years.
“There are 25 million Americans with an addiction problem. That's twice the size of our cancer problem, but only 10 percent of people with addiction problems get treatment,” Patti said. “The governor was just repeating things we have all heard many, many times.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Retired Pa. Game Commission chief to get $220K severance payment
- Pennsylvania leaders expect pope may visit Philly in 2015
- LCB marketing director to leave
- Greene County proposes more than $200,000 for Brave sewage plant rehab
- Corbett selects hockey executive for PSU board
- Pennsylvania municipalities to get more road repair money from liquid fuels payments
- GOP says privatizing LCB could aid budget
- RMU poll: Dem women not behind Obamacare backers
- Dems’ debate assails Gov. Corbett
- Russian-born man still jailed in bomb case
- Pennsylvania plans experimental program to allow inmates computer tablets