Two flights attendants unions have taken up the case of a non-unionised flight attendant at Delta Air Lines who was fired after the airline alleged she provided a “substitute” urine sample during a random drug test.
Yasuko Ishikawa has denied the allegation, saying that she was mostly vegetarian, weighed less than 100 pounds and had drunk a lot of water before the sample, which she maintains was legitimate. Ishikawa also said that a test she got done privately after the incident was also “dilute,” (showed low levels of creatinine, the metabolite found in urine) like the one taken by Delta Air Lines and did not show any signs of drugs.
Ishikawa’s case has now been taken up by both the Association of Flight Attendants and the Transport Workers Union of America, which are each trying to organise the carrier’s 20,000 flight attendants. Both unions claim Ishikawa’s plight highlights the vulnerability of non-union employees, and point to a similar case at another airline where the worker was able to resume work after submitting another sample.
Delta Air Lines has said that the carrier had to take a strong line on the issue in order to ensure passenger safety, but admitted that Ishikawa had not been given an opportunity to resubmit, nor was the sample actually tested for drugs.