Factory Bust Raises Questions


This time, it’s in Philadelphia. And they were making high tech military helicopters. But the story is strangely familiar – workers with good jobs risking all by abusing drugs. The last scandal of this sort was at an auto plant in Detroit, MI. A continuing series of reports in that case showed the popularity of doing drugs and drinking on your lunch break.

In Philadelphia, workers at the Boeing plant are accused of abusing prescription pain killers. According to reports, of the 37 arrested, all but one was a current or former Boeing employee. Feds mentioned drugs as powerful as Fentanyl and Oxycodone.

When the auto plant story broke, there were calls for the union to take action and clean up their ranks. Now that another union in another plant in another State is in the news, perhaps something will be done to address the problem. According to the story above, “A man who answered the telephone at the union for workers at the plant declined to comment.”

Interestingly, Boeing already has a policy of testing workers for drugs if they show signs of impairment. This brings up the question of whether workers were covering for one another or just what would constitute “impairment” at the plant. Are the factory jobs so mechanical that they don’t require full attention? If that were true it would explain quite a bit. A boring, rote job would be one reason to seek the escape of drugs in the first place.

The suspicion now will be that any manufacturing errors discovered in the product line (the plant makes the Chinook helicopter and the V-22 Osprey) may be due to worker inattentiveness from drug abuse. These machines are used in military operations and flaws could have deadly consequences.


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