Supporting Diversity - Internally
Raising awareness and providing a nurturing environment where women and minorities can do their best work is critical to successful diversity management. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are important to achieving this objective, and they bring to management's attention issues particular to their groups and to the welfare of Union Pacific.
Asian Employee Resource Organization (AERO)
AERO began at Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha in 2012 with a mission 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.
Black Employee Network (BEN)
The Black Employee Network (BEN) at Union Pacific Railroad began in Omaha in 1979 with five employees. Membership has grown to more than 700, with BEN chapters in St. Louis, North Little Rock, Kansas City, Memphis, Los Angeles, Fort Worth, Houston, Omaha, Chicago and Addis, Louisiana.
The mission of BEN is to increase the recruitment, retention and advancement of African-American employees within Union Pacific, by promoting and facilitating personal and professional growth, and working with UP senior leadership on diversity issues. BEN also provides scholarships, encourages post-secondary education for high school graduates, and supports local African-American communities.
Annually, all of the BEN chapters across the system host a professional development conference. The Company's leadership plays an integral role in this conference through presentations, panel participation and less formal one-on-one discussions.
BRIDGES began in 2012 with founding membership spanning several states and representing more than a dozen departments. With a focus on fostering a culture that demonstrate diverse and inclusive values, the LGBT group's goal is to align itself with Union Pacific's objectives in the following ways: help protect and enhance UP’s progressive, innovative reputation; create development opportunities through training, coaching and mentoring; provide a forum for networking; engage local communities; and be a voice and advocate for issues affecting the LGBT community.
Council on Native American Heritage (CONAH)
Beginning in 2006, a group of employees with Native American heritage or an interest in the Indian culture, came together to celebrate the history and contributions of the people indigenous to North America. In 2006, they became the railroad's fifth ERG. 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 plans programming in celebration of their heritage to coincide with the national dates of celebration (November), and has built bridges with local and state entities who have special initiatives addressing the needs and concerns of the Native American people.
Latino Employee Network
The Latino Employee Network was established to serve as a liaison with management to promote a better understanding of the issues and concerns among Latino employees. Similar to other culturally defined ERGs, LEN also 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 Omaha's Hispanic community through its many social and cultural projects. Founded in 2004, LEN now has a membership with fully functioning field chapters in Ft. Worth, San Antonio and Houston, and interest groups in Cheyenne and Denver.
LEAD: A Women's Initiative - Lead Educate Achieve and Develop
The LEAD Mission is to foster an environment that increases opportunities for women to be recruited, retained and advanced as Union Pacific leaders; to make a difference through professional programming, personal development, mentoring and community involvement."
LEAD hosted its first annual conference in 2008. Women from across the system attend these conferences which have full executive support. While this effort is central to LEADs objective of ensuring professional developmental opportunities are available to women, throughout the year LEAD members plan other educational programs on job performance, investments, environmental stewardship, networking, etc. LEAD also celebrates Women's History Month, sponsors and participates in many community events, and supports many philanthropic causes.
This ERG works with the company to ensure that Union Pacific attracts, develops and retains emerging professionals. This effort is seen as critical to the future success of the railroad. Membership in UP Ties promotes understanding of the railroad, heightens inter-departmental knowledge, builds leadership and communications skills, and provides UP another "face" in the Omaha community.
UP Ties is widely recognized for its ability to build and strengthen networks - both internally and externally.
Started in 2013, UPVETS has a mission to recruit, develop and engage military veterans. Because veteran engagement is critical when transitioning into civilian life, UPVETS sponsors a successful mentor program supporting Union Pacific’s service men and women.
Living core values such as honor, service and commitment, UPVETS strives to promote career development; support guard/reserve employees and their families; participate in veteran recruiting, and sponsor veteran outreach activities such as the Wounded Warrior Project. With UPVETS’ help, Union Pacific has been recognized by national organizations as a top military-friendly company.
In addition to the initiatives of the established affinity groups, various informal resource groups may stage events related to celebrating their respective cultures and heritage during the national month honoring them.
From salsa contests and tribal dancing and music, to displays of cultural artifacts and speakers discussing historical perspectives and contributions, Union Pacific employees are provided opportunities to learn, grow and "sample" the many "flavors" of its employee population.
Supporting Diversity - Externally
Union Pacific believes in presenting an important corporate image in the communities we serve. Because the franchise operates in 23 states (three regions) and hundreds of locations – many in communities where there is a strong mix of diverse cultures – our company ensures support to the many local initiatives in those communities as well as others.
Union Pacific serves as a major sponsor of the annual Heartland Latino Leadership Conference held in Omaha. Additionally, UP is represented on the Board of Directors of the sponsoring organization.
Our Operation Lifesaver program and cadre of employees who volunteer thousands of hours annually to teach railroad safety in schools and for other community groups, is another example of the Company's commitment to corporate responsibility and teamwork in diverse communities.
Union Pacific was the recipient of the local Urban League's Employer of the Year award at its Equal Opportunity Day luncheon in 2009.