Bus Driver Can't Get Fired for Showing Up to Work Drunk

This is enough to make you want to sniff your bus driver's breath before you pay your fare. A city bus driver in Albuquerque, N.M., has been on paid leave for five months and will probably get his job back soon, even though he obviously showed up to work drunk back in November. This debacle is brought to you by an improper substance abuse test and union contract conditions.

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The city transportation department seems to have its hands tied, but reiterates that the driver was never allowed behind the wheel when he came to work showing signs of inebriation. A savvy supervisor noticed that he was acting suspiciously, and sent him for a breathalyzer test, which showed he was definitely under the influence. He was immediately sent home.

That's when union officials got involved. They said that not only was the breathalyzer test administered improperly by an independent clinic, but that the driver's union contract states that he can keep his job after a first time offense if he gets counseling.

Union spokesman Rocky Gutierrez says "We believe in public safety, number one, but we also believe in the policies and procedures of the City of Albuquerque, that they should be followed, especially when it comes to the due process of employees."

The city wants to fire the bus driver, but the union won't allow it. It's taking quite some time to sort the issue out, and in the meantime, the driver is on paid leave. He hasn't been disciplined yet but could get up to 20 days suspension with mandatory counseling.

City officials say they hope to establish a no tolerance policy the next time they negotiate a contract with the union.


Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Editor

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning multi-media journalist and author of Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want.  Her work has been translated into 20 different languages, and she is a frequent expert guest and commentator on news and talk shows. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, on the CBS Early Show, NBC Today, CNBC, Fox Business News, Dr. Phil, Oprah.com and many other media outlets.  Lisa discusses her AOL pieces each week and interviews vital guests on the web TV show, This Week in Careers. Learn more on LisaJohnsonMandell.com.

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finfrock57

Unions are the reason we don't have sweatshop disasters like they had in China. If it weren't for the unions, you'd still be making seventy-five cents a day in today's eonomy. Think about THAT while you're buying groceries and paying your ren.

May 16 2013 at 6:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DAN

Unions are the reason why everyrhing we buy is priced so high

May 15 2013 at 1:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mr Wonderful

Another reason to get rid of unions,they protect the inept workers. They are run by criminal elements who make big money from union dues,they don't care how bad a worker is as long as he pays his dues.

April 16 2011 at 4:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
folders

Lets be honest, Rock Gutierrez of the union doesn't give a rat's a_ s about the public. His only concern is protecting his pay check via union dues. The ones at fault is the bus company management for having signed a contract that has such contemtpt for its customer - the bus riding public.

April 12 2011 at 4:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jacqueline

Unions can be a fantastic thing for average Americans when utilized properly. This fucktard shouldn't have shown up drunk undoubtedly, but Unions do have their place in America! One idiot is spoiling the goods for the whole bunch once again! MOST Americans have the sensibility AND integrity to show up to the job in workable condition...this ******* makes all unions look bad!

March 30 2011 at 1:11 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Jacqueline

Unions can be a fantastic thing for average Americans when utilized properly. This fucktard shouldn't have shown up drunk undoubtedly, but Unions do have their place in America! One idiot is spoiling the goods for the whole bunch once again! MOST Americans have the sensibility AND integrity to show up to the job in workable condition...this ******* makes all unions look bad!

March 30 2011 at 1:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert Clayton

Anti union retards... listen up.
Get rid of Unions and you will all be working for dirt wages.
Read your history books.
Watch the movie.. Grapes of Wrath.
I was there in the forties. Working in the fields for nothing.
The Unions saved our ass.
Big business will grind your ass in to the dirt if given the
chance

March 26 2011 at 11:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert Clayton

how many police and judges and lawyers have two or three glasses of wine when they are dining out and then drive home?
Answer... all of them.
Can you say hypocrite?

March 26 2011 at 11:22 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Robert Clayton's comment
Bobby B 4

Sorry , Robert, not the same thing. When a cop,,judge or or lawyer gets drunk (on three glasses of wine?) shame on him!! Maybe they'll get in an acccident and, god forbid, kill someone. If a bus driver does the same thing, he has (1) betrayed his responsibility of employment (2) potentially become a time bomb on the streets he travels w/ his huge bus. and (3) can be responsiblefor many deaths; both on the bus and the street.

April 06 2011 at 10:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
steven

I worked for a telecom job for 15+ years. I had zero days off for the last 5 years which includes being sick. I was voted for employee of the year twice and numerous employee of the months in the last 5 years of employment with this telecom job,but I was fired because I didn't report office gossip. If I was a union memeber I would not have been fired for something so stupid. I would like to know why everyone blames the union? the union didn't make this contract alone, I do believe the city had some doings and could use some blame too. This is wrong but its a contract signed by the city and the union.

March 25 2011 at 9:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ddepalma94

Horray...... for NEW MEXICO, they really love their DRUNK DRIVERS , from politicos ,police, to regular dirt bags with multiple offenses , the bussey, he probably was haven a bad day at home.

March 25 2011 at 9:06 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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