Strengthening Communities

Union Pacific strengthens communities where we operate by providing good jobs, partnering with local governments, and volunteering time and resources to help organizations that help others. Our supplier diversity program also creates opportunities for hundreds of minority- and women-owned businesses across the country.

Union Pacific helps introduce young women to IT careers through programs such as Code Crush.


Railroads have played a critical role in communities throughout American history. We had unique opportunities in 2015 to raise awareness of that history and those who took part in it. Union Pacific was honored to join President Barack Obama in the dedication of the Pullman Historic District located near Chicago, as a national monument. Union Pacific also sponsored events highlighting the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Chinese workers who played key roles in constructing the Central Pacific Railroad. They worked through the Sierra mountains on to Promontory, Utah, culminating efforts with the driving of the Golden Spike.

Union Pacific and the communities we serve have grown together, and our trains continue delivering goods people use every day, such as clothing, electronics, and lumber to build homes. Supporting America's growing freight needs requires us to serve businesses that count on rail 24/7. Federal law requires locomotive engineers to sound train horns 15 to 20 seconds before entering public railroad crossings equipped with lights and gates or the X-shaped railroad crossing signs. This increases safety by alerting drivers and pedestrians of approaching trains, but can affect homes and businesses near railroad tracks. Train horns can be loud distractions during the day and interrupt sleep at night.

The Federal Railroad Administration allows cities to establish quiet zones, areas in which engineers are not required to routinely sound train horns. Even though Union Pacific believes quiet zones compromise safety, we work with communities by providing perspective on safety measures needed to establish quiet zones. Once quiet zones are implemented, engineers only sound train horns for emergencies or safety concerns, such as people walking near the tracks.

Building America Report 2015 - Eco-Treasure Hunt

The South St. Paul Mayor's Youth Task Force highlights rail safety at the city's summer parade with a float carrying the remains of a pick-up truck that collided with a freight train. The task force received a $5,000 Union Pacific grant to organize a series of initiatives promoting safety near railroad tracks.

2015 State-by-State Economic Impact

  • State Employees* Payroll** Route
    Arizona 1,234 116.6 691 93.7 24.6
    Arkansas 2,823 250.7 1,325 169.5 41.0
    California 4,783 462.8 3,292 278.0 239.1
    Colorado 1,208 124.9 1,503 67.1 161.0
    Idaho 886 88.5 848 60.7 17.4
    Illinois 4,205 384.3 2,318 173.2 1,600.0
    Iowa 1,695 154.0 1,386 128.4 96.2
    Kansas 1,347 146.3 2,203 119.5 231.8
  • State Employees* Payroll** Route
    Louisiana 1,187 127.9 1,152 140.7 19.5
    Minnesota 447 48.5 647 54.7 211.0
    Missouri 2,531 237.7 1,537 92.3 462.6
    Montana 13 1.5 125 1.0 3.3
    Nebraska 7,905 1,045.6 1,067 376.8 219.4
    Nevada 520 47.2 1,193 60.1 21.1
    New Mexico 527 47.7 618 33.9 1.5
    Oklahoma 354 41.8 1,173 41.1 163.3
  • State Employees* Payroll** Route
    Oregon 1,632 150.4 1,073 141.4 197.6
    Tennessee 46 4.4 14 0.1 52.1
    Texas 7,700 765.6 6,304 800.3 1,800.0
    Utah 1,247 132.4 1,247 78.2 290.4
    Washington 345 32.0 532 4.1 130.0
    Wisconsin 430 46.4 930 24.9 66.5
    Wyoming 1,172 103.4 874 88.4 75.5
    Total 44,338 4,561.0 32,050 3,028.0 6,125.0

    *Fourth quarter 2015 average
    **In millions

Providing Good Jobs

We are proud to be a good employer in the communities where we operate, offering competitive benefits and growth opportunities.


The success of our company – past, present and future – rests on the shoulders of our people.

Our employees are our best recruiters, and Union Pacific's employee referral program supports their efforts. Great people know other great people. Our employees connect us with their friends, family, neighbors and members of their faith communities.


Union Pacific wants to bolster employee diversity within our workforce. Research shows that diversity fosters creativity and innovation. Union Pacific has created a thought leadership team including employees from various departments who advise on strategies to acquire talented people who represent the communities in which we operate.


Our Information Technologies Department launched a year-round summer high school internship pilot program, and our college recruiting teams targeted Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) talent at 18 core universities. In addition, we actively recruit STEM students at 20 other colleges and universities for our IT and Operating departments.

Union Pacific also sponsored K-12 student experiences that promote an interest in STEM careers. Examples include:

  • Code Crush. An annual immersion experience for middle and high school girls at the University of Nebraska at Omaha's College of Information Science and Technology. The program is designed to introduce girls to information technology in a secure, friendly and engaging environment.
  • Girls on Board. An annual workshop that teaches middle school girls about non-traditional careers and celebrates women in STEM professions.

We are continually evolving and refining our strategy to attract and retain the best millennial STEM talent.

View More
Building America Report 2015 - Providing Good Jobs

Brandon Thomas, foreman

Commitment to Military Veterans

Union Pacific again was recognized as a Military Friendly Employer, finishing sixth out of 100 companies designated by G.I. Jobs, a military recruiting publication. G.I. Jobs assessed our military programs and policies, including military recruiting efforts, percentage of new hires with prior military service, retention programs for veterans, and company policies on National Guard and reserve service.

We serve on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Veteran Employment Advisory Council. The council is committed to hiring veterans and military spouses; establishing best practices for veteran employment; reporting measures (job opportunities, interviews and placements); providing mentors to help transitioning service members and military spouses, and enlisting the commitment of American businesses to do the same.

Union Pacific also was recognized as a finalist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Lee Anderson Veteran and Military Spouse Employment Award for overall excellence in hiring and retaining veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses.


Number of veterans hired in 2015.


Percentage of 2015 hires who are veterans.


Number of disabled veterans hired in 2015.


Percentage of active employees who are veterans.

Connecting with Communities


In 2015, through employee volunteering and financial contributions from the company's charitable foundation, Union Pacific supported many communities in which the company operates. Some examples include:

  • Sustainability Report 2015 - Communities ullman Historic District

    Pullman Historic District, Illinois

    President Barack Obama signed the Pullman National Monument proclamation in February 2015. Built in the 1880s as an industrial town for the Pullman Company, the historic district highlights both the promise of American opportunity and the struggles for civil rights and fair labor standards. The Union Pacific Foundation's $1 million donation helped jumpstart critical projects at the district's new park. Highlights include a visitor center, educational and experiential exhibits, and programming in the Administrative Clock Tower Building designed to engage visitors on the importance of Pullman's role in American history.

    Photo: President Barack Obama signs the Pullman National Monument proclamation at a ceremony in Chicago.

  • Sustainability Report 2015 - Communities 150th Anniversary Celebration of Chinese Workers

    150th Anniversary of Chinese Workers Building the Transcontinental Railroad, California

    In an effort to gather and keep their stories alive, 350 descendants of Chinese railroad workers came together in May 2015 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Chinese contributions to the Transcontinental Railroad. Union Pacific was among sponsors of the event. We were privileged to run a special scenic excursion train to recognize the Chinese contributions. The seven-hour journey between Oakland, California, and Reno, Nevada, aboard Union Pacific heritage passenger cars featured docents telling stories about Chinese workers' achievements

    Photo: Descendants of Chinese railroad workers celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Chinese contributions to the Transcontinental Railroad.

  • Sustainability Report 2015 - Communities World War II Museum Train Car

    World War II Museum Train Car Experience, Louisiana

    The National World War II Museum's Train Car Experience exhibit offers accounts of trains carrying servicemen to war. Visitors begin their experience at the rail car, launching their journey in the same way as tens of thousands of American soldiers headed to combat once did. The true-to-life rail experience provides detailed personal accounts of the brutal four-year war that changed the world forever. During the war, U.S. railroads, including Union Pacific, moved 90 percent of the nation's military freight and 97 percent of its military passengers. We are honored to assist in creating this touching exhibit with a $250,000 gift from the Union Pacific Foundation.

    Photo: The National WWII Museum’s Train Car Experience is housed in the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion.


Union Pacific is committed to improving the quality of life in the communities we serve and supporting our employees when they donate personal funds or volunteer with local nonprofit organizations.

We offer programs to enhance our employees' charitable contributions and volunteerism. Our MoneyPLUS Program supports and extends employees' financial contributions to qualified 501(c)(3) public charities by providing matching contributions to that charity. Our TimePLUS Program allows employees who volunteer their time to apply for a $250 gift from the company to support the public charity with which they volunteer. The annual company match per employee was raised from $12,000 to $25,000 in 2015. Union Pacific matched $1.8 million in 2015, maximizing our employees' contributions in their communities.

Keeping Communities Safe


What used to be a designated "Fire Season" in California now applies year-round as the state recently experienced one of the worst droughts in its history.

With more than 3,200 miles of track in California, Union Pacific works with hundreds of professional and volunteer fire departments to prevent fires along the railroad. We also created a 70-foot-wide firebreak centered on our main track between Rocklin and Soda Springs. This structure protects our operations and a national forest by reducing the probability that an errant spark could ignite the tinder-dry grass.

Tree trimming, removing pine needles and debris, and even using goats to eliminate dry vegetation along our rights of way has decreased the potential for fires. And when hot work – rail grinding or welding – needs to be done, we enclose the work area with a fireproof tent. When the project is completed, employees and contractors remain for at least one hour to ensure a safe environment.

Building America Report 2015 - Keeping Communities Safe

Spark shields are in place during "hot work."


Union Pacific bridges are safe for the freight traffic they carry, as well as motorists and pedestrians.

Our nearly 600-member team of bridge maintenance and inspection professionals works every day to maintain roughly 18,000 bridges across communities in our 32,000-mile network. Bridge inspectors carefully examine each bridge component, looking for corrosion or cracks in trusses, decking and other components. Union Pacific bridges are inspected four times more often than federal highway bridges.

Inspections begin at the base of the bridge, where a visual check is conducted to identify any telltale signs of defects. Inspectors then work their way up and across the bridge, looking for structural issues. The track itself also is evaluated. Inspectors use a gauge to measure every fourth crosstie, ensuring proper track alignment.

Reaching every nook and cranny can be challenging, especially on bridges that span rivers or deep ravines, but no area is ignored. Inspectors use a truck-mounted articulated basket crane for better access during "snooper" inspections.

Building Ameria Report 2015 - Snooper Inspections

Supplier Diversity

Our 30-plus year supplier diversity program was the first among the largest U.S. railroads. It is evident in purchases made across our organization, including fuel, engineering services, infrastructure maintenance, construction materials, rolling stock maintenance and technology.

Union Pacific spent $423 million last year with minority- and women-owned businesses, purchasing goods or services from approximately 600 diverse suppliers in 39 states, including all 23 states in which we operate. Our spending with diverse suppliers grew an average of 5.7 percent annually from 2008 to 2015. About 43 percent of Union Pacific's critical suppliers reported purchasing goods or services from diverse suppliers, demonstrating their support for our diversity initiative, a 45 percent growth over 2014.


Union Pacific is committed to high standards of ethical business conduct. As a condition of doing business with Union Pacific, all suppliers must fully comply with all federal, state and local laws, rules, regulations, orders, codes, and ordinances as outlined in their contract with Union Pacific, as well as Union Pacific's Supplier Code of Conduct. Union Pacific requires suppliers to report any violations of this code by calling our values line. Suppliers also are bound to comply with the U.S. federal government's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.


After a successful 20-year career in heavy highway construction, Roger Tate founded Allen Engineering in 2001. The company added a rail division in 2006, and Union Pacific's Supply Department guided Tate through the process of registering to become a minority-owned supplier for the company.

After completing several small projects, Allen Engineering began helping Union Pacific with major efforts, from building bridges to responding to washouts and other emergencies. Tate's Railroad Division has flourished with Union Pacific, growing by 1,200 percent in 2014 and 64 percent in 2015. The company now has nearly 100 employees in its Rail Division. Allen Engineering expects to open an office in Houston soon.

Building America Report 2015 - Allen Engineering bridge replacement

Allen Engineering bridge replacement project in Fresno, California. The company grew after registering as one of Union Pacific's minority-owned suppliers.