Will a tight labor market lead to less drug testing?

Apr 23, 2019

The latest New York State Labor Department figures put the Buffalo area's jobless rate at 4.5% in March, its lowest level in nearly 30 years. With workers harder to find and a push on to legalize marijuana in New York, some employers may stop drug testing in order to fill open positions.

Jakeem Colvin of Buffalo says companies may want to consider whether testing is worth it.

Job seekers at the Queen City Job Fair in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.
Credit Chris Caya WBFO News

"People will do what they do, regardless. It's up to them at the end of the day," Colvin said.

Colvin was among hundreds of people who turned out for the Queen City Job Fairat  the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center on Tuesday. The event included nearly 200 businesses with more than 9,500 available positions.

Speed Global Services talent acquisition and retention specialist Roxanne Young says the Buffalo-based company has a variety of openings but the biggest need is for tractor-trailer drivers. Young says the company can not stop drug testing employees because all of its vehicles are classified as safety sensitive equipment.

Roxanne Young at Speed Global Services booth at the Queen City Job Fair
Credit Chris Caya WBFO News

"It even pertains to prescription drugs. There are some prescription drugs you can't take and operate a forklift or a Class A or Class B vehicle. So, no matter how they change the laws in New York State, we have to be very careful," Young said.   

Another job seeker, Michael Stiller of Cheektowaga, says companies that drug test get more reliable workers.   

"I've been seeing it for 20 years. You can tell which people are smoking weed and which people aren't. And the people that are usually aren't there very long," Stiller said.