Engaging Employees

Engaging Employees

Union Pacific's dedicated employees are passionate about their role in building America. We strive to provide them with fulfilling careers and professional development opportunities, helping us serve customers with excellence.

Embracing Employee Needs

Union Pacific draws thriving talent, energizes current employees and develops them to carry our mission and lead the transportation industry into the future. Key engagement initiatives revolve around our culture, workplace relationships, employee rewards, job responsibilities and personal growth opportunities.

Employee Benefits

Union Pacific offers a comprehensive benefits program including medical insurance, educational assistance and a 401(k). Benefits may vary based on non-union and collective bargaining agreement employees. For full details, please see the Health & Wellness page.

Work schedules required to run our railroad's around-the-clock operations can be challenging and employees often need extra support caring for loved ones. The Bright Horizons Care Advantage™ database refers employees to supportive care providers and services listed below.

  • Center-based and in-home child care
  • Elderly care
  • Pet care
  • Housekeeping
  • Tutoring and homework help

Labor Agreements

Union Pacific works with 15 major rail unions representing approx.imately 85 percent of roughly 43,000 full-time employees.

Labor agreements became subject to modification January 1, 2015, launching the latest round of ongoing negotiations with unions. Existing agreements remain in effect until new agreements are reached or the Railway Labor Act's procedures are exhausted. The process involves mediation, cooling-off periods and the possibility of Presidential Emergency Board and congressional intervention. Contract negotiations historically continue for an extended period of time and rarely cause work stoppages.

Auxiliary Work And Training Status (AWTS)

Train and yard service reductions due to business declines resulted in employee furloughs. Approximately 65 percent of all train and yard employees were eligible to be covered under AWTS agreements providing limited benefits.

AWTS agreements provide up to eight work or training days per month and continue full health care benefits and service months contributing to Railroad Retirement. Employees continue training to sharpen their skills and prepare for full-time employment when customer demands increase.

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Building America Report 2016 - Thomas Moses and Eddie Echols

Locomotive engineer Thomas Moses, left, and Eddie Echols before operating trains to separate locations.

Population (Total Company) Approximately 43,000
Traditionalists (born before 1946) <1%
Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) 28%
Generation X (born 1965-1981) 52%
Millennial (born 1982-1997) 20%
Senior Management
Female 19%
Male 81%
Asian 1%
Black 9%
Caucasian 84%
Hispanic 6%
Native American 1%

Helping People Develop

The work of building, maintaining and operating a railroad is challenging. Union Pacific's commitment to employee training and development is vital for cultivating the high-quality workforce we need. It also plays a critical role in keeping our employees safe and ensuring we operate ethically.

2016 Training Nonagreement Agreement
Total Hours 447,572 2,239,712
Number Employees 6,672 38,344
Avg Hrs/Employee 67 58
Union Pacific conducted 2 million hours of safety-related training, a slight decrease from 2.1 million hours in 2015 driven primarily by a reduced workforce.
2016 Retention Rate Operations Management Trainee Field Management Trainee
2013 51% 76%
2014 56% 81%
2015 68% 78%
2016 87% 88%

Developing Skills

Training and development focus on setting goals and achieving great results. Union Pacific believes how employees accomplish their work is equally important as what they accomplish. Our core competencies foster a culture of performance and growth supporting our vision, mission and values. In addition to work-related skills, we develop employees' capabilities in eight core competencies.

  • Building relationships and influencing others
  • Handling adversity
  • Confronting problems with courage
  • Leading teams
  • Embracing change
  • Making effective decisions
  • Acting strategically
  • Focusing on customers

We offer skills development opportunities for employees at all levels of Union Pacific. These include:

  • New Employee Onboarding Program – Courses on communication and industry-specific training through an interactive, instructor-led learning experience.
  • Skill Development – Technical, communication, safety and environmental courses.
  • Managerial and Leadership Development – Management and leadership courses helping employees grow and develop.
  • Transitioning Managers – Courses helping newly promoted managers lead teams.
  • Transportation Operations Training – Operational excellence courses strengthen employee skills and train for superior service.
  • Field Management and Operations Management Training Programs – These programs prepare employees for frontline management positions within the Operating Department.
  • Emerging Leaders – Leadership programs maintaining a strong pipeline of future leaders including day-training courses to 10-month programs. Ongoing, self-led learning tools to foster employee development also are available.
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Employee Spotlight: Recognizing the Value of Mentorship

Union Pacific's Coach of the Year Awards recognize those providing excellent one-to-one guidance and support to future frontline leaders, through our Operations Management Training program. In 2016, we recognized 10 exceptional coaches, who were nominated by the more than 100 trainees mentored through the program during the year.

Honorees included William Barlow, director-Terminal Operations; Adam Brock, director-Mechanical Maintenance; Glenn Bulanek, senior manager-Terminal Operations; Casey Clark, senior manager-Terminal Operations; Thomas Cooper, manager-Track Maintenance; Gerald Hoelting, manager-Terminal Operations; Jonathan Jett, manager-Yard Operations; Daniel Jones, director-System Locomotive Facility; Steven Kirby, manager-Terminal Operations; and Preston Lawless, manager-Track Projects.

Building America Report 2016 - Lance Good and Casey Clark

From left, Lance Good, transportation associate, with his coach Casey Clark, senior manager-Terminal Operations.

Embedding an Ethical Approach

Union Pacific's brand and business stems from employees' character, people with whom we choose to do business and the decisions we make. Providing training and tools needed to help employees make the right decisions is a priority.

Our Policy on Ethics and Business Conduct, "The How Matters," explains the company's expectation of ethical conduct, as well as our zero tolerance policy toward dishonesty. Union Pacific employees operate under the following high ethical standards.

  • Honesty: Being truthful when dealing with customers, suppliers, shareholders and fellow employees.
  • Fairness: Treating everyone fairly.
  • Integrity: Voicing concerns when we believe our company or colleagues are not acting ethically or complying with the law.
  • Respect: Maintaining a foundation of trust and respect with colleagues, customers, regulators, suppliers and other stakeholders.
  • Loyalty: Ensuring no employee is, or appears to be, subject to influences, interests or relationships that conflict with the company's best interests.
  • Accountability: Holding ourselves, peers and customers to the company's high standards.
  • Adherence to the law: Complying with all laws.
  • Compliance with policies: Complying with the letter and spirit of company policies.

Ethics Awareness

Union Pacific educates employees about ethics and why they are important throughout the year. We focus on 'The How Matters,' and how we do our jobs is as important as what we accomplish. Published articles, periodic ethics bulletins and mandatory training modules remind employees of Union Pacific's ethical standards. In 2016, we held our third annual Ethics Awareness Week, a companywide initiative focusing on our values and business conduct required of all employees.

Establishing a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace

Union Pacific recruits talented people dedicated to our mission of service who are passionate about performing to the best of their abilities. We are committed to diversity and recognize people come from all backgrounds and walks of life.

Recruiting and maintaining a diverse workforce provides access to the skills and character we need, resulting in innovative ideas to grow business. Drawing on different experiences and expertise is critical for strategic decision making, problem solving, leadership development and creativity.

Union Pacific makes great efforts to increase diversity through recruiting and helping employees from all groups advance their careers with Union Pacific. However, we still have work to do. We are committed to improving and strengthening performance to establish a workforce reflecting the diverse communities we serve.

We established a diversity taskforce to develop strategies for recruiting talented people from underrepresented backgrounds at Union Pacific.

Our Diversity Policy

All Union Pacific employees have the fundamental right to fair treatment within a discrimination-free workplace. We create a work environment that respects and values differences which is essential for employees to reach their fullest potential in our business.

We are committed to a work environment free of offensive behavior directed at a person's race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, gender identity, veteran status or disability. This includes offensive behavior directed at employees, customers and visitors to company facilities and other people employees may contact during the normal course of work.

For full details, please see Affirming Diversity.

Employee Resource Groups

Union Pacific's Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are nurturing networks promoting a diverse workplace where everyone does their best work. Each ERG has an executive sponsor directing the leadership team's attention to issues of particular concern. ERGs support their members, educate other employees and support the communities we serve.

While most ERGs traditionally host annual conferences for respective members, all eight ERGs came together for Union Pacific's first collective ERG conference in 2016. The groups shared best practices and celebrated diversity at all levels of Union Pacific.

About 3,000 employees across Union Pacific are involved in one or more Employee Resource Groups, which include:

  • Building America Report 2015 - Employee Group AERO

    Asian Employee Resource Organization (AERO): AERO's mission is to recruit, retain and advance Asian employees to leadership at Union Pacific, as well as build awareness of the rich and diverse Asian culture through engagement in the company and with the community.

  • Building America Report 2015 - Employee Group Ben

    Black Employee Network (BEN): BEN's mission is to increase the recruitment, retention and advancement of African-American employees within Union Pacific through promoting and facilitating personal and professional growth, and working with Union Pacific senior leadership on diversity issues. BEN also provides scholarships, encourages post-secondary education for high school graduates, and supports local African-American communities.

  • Building America Report 2015 - Employee Group Bridges

    BRIDGES: BRIDGES' goals are to help protect and enhance Union Pacific's progressive, innovative reputation; create development opportunities through training, coaching and mentoring; provide a forum for networking; engage local communities; and advocate for issues affecting the LGBT community.

  • Building America Report 2015 - Employee Group Conah

    Council of Native American Heritage (CONAH): CONAH's mission is to assist Union Pacific with the recruitment, retention and development of employees with Native American heritage and to build bridges to the Native American community. CONAH has built bridges with local and state entities that have special initiatives addressing the needs and concerns of the Native American people.

  • Building America Report 2015 - Employee Group Lead

    LEAD –A Women's Initiative – Lead Educate Achieve and Develop: LEAD's mission is to foster an environment that increases opportunities for women to be recruited, retained and advanced as Union Pacific leaders and to make a difference through professional programming, personal development, mentoring and community involvement. LEAD celebrates Women's History Month, sponsors and participates in many community events, and supports many philanthropic causes.

  • Building America Report 2015 - Employee Group Len

    Latino Employee Network (LEN): LEN was established to serve as a liaison with management to promote a better understanding of the issues and concerns among Latino employees. LEN endeavors to ensure the full integration of Latinos into the workplace through partnering with the company on recruitment, development and retention initiatives. LEN also has established strong partnerships with the Latino community in Omaha, Nebraska, through its many social and cultural projects.

  • Building America Report 2015 - Employee Group UP Ties

    UP Ties: This ERG works with the company to ensure that Union Pacific attracts, develops and retains emerging professionals. Membership in UP Ties promotes understanding of the railroad, heightens inter-departmental knowledge, builds leadership and communications skills and provides Union Pacific with another "face" in its communities.

  • Building America Report 2015 - Employee Group UP Vets

    UPVETS: UPVETS' mission is to recruit, develop and retain military veterans and interested employees at Union Pacific through engagement in the company and community. The group provides military veterans immediate access to a network of fellow service members who provide mentorship and camaraderie.

Encouraging Women To See Themselves At Union Pacific

Women make up approximately 6 percent of Union Pacific's total workforce and represent one of the company's biggest diversity opportunities. At the same time, businesses such as ours face a growing shortfall of skilled trade workers due to fewer men and women choosing to learn a trade.

Union Pacific hired 4% more women into our Operating Management Trainee program, 16.7% vs. 12.2% in 2015. We continue recruiting and encouraging women to see themselves succeeding at Union Pacific. In 2016, Union Pacific's careers website featured stories of women working in Transportation, Engineering, Mechanical and Technical teams. We partnered with women's skilled trade organizations, women's veterans groups, technical and trade schools, and women affinity groups of 28 universities. Union Pacific shared opportunities with women who possess skilled trade experience. We also introduced support systems offering women's mentoring and child-care options.

Building America Report 2016 - Manager of Yard Operations Leia Durrant

Manager of Yard Operations Leia Durrant talks with Brakemen Jason Pendley (left) and Allen Hammer in Salt Lake City's Roper Yard.

Keeping Employees Healthy, Happy and Well

We are determined to help employees stay healthy and well. Our wellness program helps employees take charge of their well-being with tools to manage physical and mental health. Available resources include coaching, access to fitness centers, health education programs, health screenings and flu shots.

The System Health Injury Protocol program assists employees who may be at risk for injury because of low fitness levels. It provides access to personal training and nutritionist consultations, helping them achieve their fitness goals. When employees sustain injuries, Union Pacific's Return to Work program offers meaningful work within their physical capabilities. We also provide education and assistance to help with substance abuse, staying alert and stress-related conditions.

Other employee wellness programs include:

Union Pacific Wellness Challenge

Launched in 2013, the Worksite Wellness Challenge recognizes Union Pacific locations adopting world-class wellness programs. The challenge evaluates and scores all sites on wellness and safety education objectives. Points are awarded based on employee engagement levels. Approximately 72 percent of Transportation and Mechanical work units achieved platinum or gold status through the Challenge in 2016.

  • Personalized health coaching, helping employees and their spouses manage stress, depression, smoking, diabetes, nutrition education and weight management.
  • Employee assistance program, offering all employees and their families counseling and referral services for personal or work-related problems.
  • System health facility program, giving employees access to more than 5,000 gyms located near UP work sites, including gyms from industry leaders such as Gold's Gym, Lifetime Fitness and Anytime Fitness.
  • Wellness incentives encouraging annual wellness assessments and physicals for non-union employees.

Spreading Best Practice On Peer Support

A central role in Union Pacific's approach to well-being is played by peer support networks with trained employees offering confidential advice and guidance to their colleagues. This strengthens bonds between our people and builds a sense of community within Union Pacific, providing support from those with an inherent understanding of the rail industry.

Peer support leadership conferences in Iowa, Texas and California, enabled networking, sharing best practices and building momentum for a vital part of our well-being support structure. Union Pacific brought together 400 volunteers from regional peer support programs to provide invaluable support to those facing crises at home or work.

Employee Assistance Program

We operate an employee assistance helpline available to employees 24/7. It provides access to trained employee volunteers equipped to help colleagues work through the emotional impacts of life-changing events. Support is entirely confidential – and can provide a bridge to professional support services where needed.

Employees Actively Serving

Union Pacific's Support our Troops initiative encourages employees to send messages to our railroad's uniformed soldiers on active service around the world on Memorial Day 2016. We sent an American flag, messages and care packages to our 45 employees stationed overseas. This marked the 13th year we supported our troops in this way.

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Commitment To Military Veterans

Each year, the job search websites www.monster.com and www. military.com partner to compile a list of the Best Companies for Veterans. Union Pacific is proud to have earned sixth place in the 2016 ranking, our second year on the Top 10 list. The Best Companies for Veterans list rates businesses on veteran support, recruitment, onboarding and retention policies. At the start of 2017, the website www.militaryfriendly.com also recognized Union Pacific as a Military Friendly Employer.

Photo: Looking on as Chairman Lance Fritz signs the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve document are, back row, from left, UPVETS leadership representatives Brian Detweiler, associate systems engineer-Information Technologies; Tammy Anderson, senior manager-Industrial Track Construction; and Jim Astuto, manager-Data Integrity. Front row, from left, Nate Westover, senior manager-Strategic Sourcing; Fritz; and Jesse Miller, senior manager-Short Line Development.

Building America Report 2016 - Lance Fritz signs the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve documents.

Employee Spotlight: Applying Railroad Skills In A Combat Zone

Nate Westover's experience as a Union Pacific senior manager for strategic sourcing made an important difference when the 13-year U.S. Army reservist was deployed to Iraq May 2015 to April 2016. Nate was sent to Iraq to perform petroleum support operations – but on arrival, he received a much larger responsibility. A new base camp supporting special regional operations needed procurement and logistics support, making Nate ideally suited for the job. In September 2016, following his return from Iraq, Nate was presented with the Bronze Star for meritorious service in a combat zone. The award recognized his leadership in ensuring food, fuel supplies and life support services were available for the camp. It's a vivid demonstration of how the skills learned at Union Pacific carry weight in all walks of life.

Building America Report 2016 - Nate Westover.