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Challenging Unfair Pre-Employment Testing
Laborers Local 563 successfully pursued a grievance against a contractor for using a physical machine test to screen members that we referred for work. We were concerned that this type of test has nothing to do with the ability to do the work and may unfairly exclude members who have disabilities or past work injuries, women members, and older members.
The contractor adopted the test unilaterally without bargaining with the Union about it.
The pre-employment test measured the strength of an isolated muscle group—such as one arm or one leg—at a constant rate of speed, and within a specific range of motion. The test did not, however, emulate body mechanics, experience-based judgment, or technique used to perform essential job functions. In other words, the test did not measure whether a member has what it takes to perform the practical skills of the job.
As soon as we found out about this test, the Union filed a grievance and unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of all affected members. While arbitrating the grievance, we discovered that several other contractors had unilaterally imposed the same physical machine test. Each of the contractors agreed to stop using the physical machine test and not to use it ever again unless a court rules that the test is not discriminatory.
The Union will continue to stand strong against the use of the physical machine tests in our bargaining units. If a signatory contractor makes or attempts to make you or someone you know submit to a physical machine test, contact the Union hall immediately at 612-781-6933.