Employee Diversity and Inclusion.

Latino Employee Network Spreads Safety Message to Railroad's Neighbors

The San Antonio chapter of Union Pacific’s Latino Employee Network (LEN) is bringing the rail safety message to the Hispanic community and other railroad neighbors. LEN partnered with the Select Employees Credit Union, located next to our East Yard tracks, to educate its members about safe rail crossing procedures.

Since many credit union members are Spanish-speaking, tellers distributed bumper stickers reading “Cuidado con el tren” (Use caution with trains) and wore T-shirts with the safety slogan “Yo ferno por los trenes” (I brake for trains). LEN members assisted with the effort. Additionally, with LEN’s support, an overview on rail crossing safety education is being presented at UP hiring sessions in San Antonio, especially in areas with large Latino populations.

A diverse workforce benefits our company, bringing a wide range of ideas, experiences and backgrounds. Our employee resource groups provide a vehicle for workers seeking to expand their networks within the company and across the railroad industry.

Our Employee Resource Groups
  • Asian Employee Resource Organization
  • Black Employee Network
  • BRIDGES (network for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees launched in 2013)
  • Council of Native American Heritage
  • Latino Employee Network
  • Lead, Educate, Achieve and Develop (women’s network)
  • UP Ties (emerging professionals network)
  • UPVETS (military veterans)


Many of Union Pacific’s employee resource groups coordinate community volunteer activities, and in some instances, have committees established for this purpose. As an example, Union Pacific’s Omaha-based DREAM program coordinates mentoring opportunities among employees and students with a focus on developing the students’ self-esteem and confidence.

Beauty and the Beach

Concrete Cluster Tie Gang‘s 8566 employees were some of the railroaders who volunteered to participate in Union Pacific 2012 Earth Day events. Employees helped create a cleaner and safer environment in one of the communities through which the railroad operates. Five of the Tie Gang employees cleaned the beach at Lake McConaughy’s Martin Bay near Ogallala, Neb.

"As we worked on the project, citizens drove by, honked their horns and gave us the thumbs up," said Nathan Weirich, supervisor. "It was a positive experience for everyone. There also was a strong camaraderie among the employees."

The Fight Against Cancer

In honor of his grandparents who were taken by cancer, Locomotive Engineer Howard Locke raised $500 in 2012 for LIVESTRONG by participating in a May 26 cycling race, the Iron Horse Classic. In the event, cyclists race a train to the top of a mountain pass near Durango, Colo., where elevations reach 10,900 feet above sea level.

“It’s not for the faint of heart,” Locke said. “It was the hardest ride of my life.”

Prior to the railroad, Locke served in the Army as a mechanized infantry lead gunner. He joined stabilization forces at Camp McGovern in Bosnia, where he provided anti-aircraft support near the Serbian border. During his service, he earned awards as his battalion’s top gun and soldier of the month.

Harriman Dispatching Center Supports Women, Children in Need

Women should never need to choose between buying diapers or food for their children. The Lydia House, a branch of the Open Door Mission in Omaha, Neb., attempts to make that choice unnecessary by providing diapers to an average of 40 children every night. But they can’t do it alone.

In December, the Union Pacific Harriman Dispatching Center hosted a diaper drive to support the Lydia House. Employees donated 1,383 diapers to the facility.

“You should have seen their faces when we pulled up in four SUVs loaded with diapers,” said Beth Fanksmann, Union Pacific director-network operations. “We do what we can to help the less fortunate. This is something small we could do to make others’ lives a little better.”

Diversity, Inclusion Attracts Qualified Applicants


Ken Kuwamura, UP
senior recruitment manager,
San Antonio, Texas

To improve employee relations throughout the San Antonio Service Unit, I have taken an active role in our Employee Resource Groups, specifically the Latino Employee Network. In 2012 alone, our LEN chapter registered more than 80 members, implemented a mentoring program for union and non-union employees, and held community activities to raise awareness of diversity’s role in the success of Union Pacific and the towns where we have tracks.

Union Pacific has set the rail industry’s standard for diversity and inclusion. Throughout our 150 years, our employee demographics have changed, and it’s obvious that workplace diversity has become a business necessity. Our company’s workforce must be a reflection of the diverse communities we serve, allowing us to use a broad range of talents to fulfill our commitment to providing the best service and being the best neighbor possible.

Without a doubt, Union Pacific’s reputation is important to my success. As a recruitment manager, I go into our communities and sell Union Pacific. Being known for our ethics, fair employment practices and appreciation for diverse talent helps me attract a wider pool of qualified applicants.

As our railroad’s diversity and inclusion efforts continue to grow, so will our reputation, which leads to increased profitability, and ultimately, opportunities for employees.

Key Awards and Recognition

 img_sustain_eric-butler Eric Butler
Executive Vice President-Marketing & Sales
Black Enterprise magazine 100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America
  img_sustain_ivan-jaimeIvan Jaime
Director-Border Policy and Community Affairs
The Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility Young Hispanic Corporate Achievers™ Award
 img_sustain_rob-knight Rob Knight
CFO and Executive Vice President-Finance
Wall Street Journal’s Top 25 CFOs
  img_sustain_gayla-thalGayla Thal
Senior Vice President-Law and General Counsel
Profiles in Diversity Journal Women Worth Watching
 img_sustain_jim-young Jim Young
Progressive Railroading’s Railroad Innovator Award