A year ago, a teenager named Darnella Frazier video recorded the murder of George Floyd, which ultimately led to the conviction of ex-police officer Derek Chauvin. While witnessing the traumatic and terrifying episode, Darnella stood her ground for justice. Her courage is helping drive profound change in this country, and is a stark reminder for all of us - see something, say something, do something, because it will make a difference.
Darnella’s actions and the events that followed were a wake-up call for Union Pacific to reexamine our commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I). That meant undergoing an intense and rapid audit to find out what we were doing right, what needed improvement and what was missing.
Things we were largely getting right included:
- our zero tolerance for harassment or intimidation of any kind;
- our 40+ years of dynamic and robust Employee Resource Groups, which now number nine;
- our diversity training and code of conduct training, and
- our equity policies around pay and affirmative action.
In terms of things that could be better, we amped up our voice in our communities. As a 160 year old industry-leading company, we needed to use our voice to support those fighting racism and injustice because it erodes the strength of our communities and the well being of our employees. We also learned we needed to build more paths to create allies for those early in their understanding of diversity and justice issues. We needed a stronger channel for employees to speak directly to leadership on cultural issues.
As a result, we added some new efforts in our approach to DE&I:
- bi-monthly listening sessions where employees can express personal experiences of assimilation, microaggressions and belonging;
- publicly committing to doubling our workforce’s female representation and growing our minority workforce to 40% by the year 2030, and
- breaking down the employee life cycle by department to identify under-representation gaps and strip out unconscious bias.
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Our efforts converged into our “Count Me In” and “I DO D&I” campaigns, as well as a strong drive to find new ways to advance in our DE&I journey.
We are a company built by UP family from all walks of life, from all ethnicities and of all colors who connect our communities to the rest of America and to the world. The strength and value created by diversity is seen throughout our history. Our duty, building off the 160 years of work done before us, is to create true equity and inclusion for all our employees and help do the same in the communities we serve.