UP Dispatchers Gain More

The majority of Union Pacific train dispatchers recognized the benefits of staying management and did not complete an authorization card (A-card). Their decision likely is based on the direct benefits of remaining part of the management team.

Over the last five years, UP train dispatchers’ average pay increases outpaced union-represented Class 1 train dispatchers. UP dispatchers gained more. From 2013 to 2017, UP dispatchers’ average wage increase was approximately 3.0 percent; union-represented dispatchers received approximately 2.75 percent.

This chart proves negotiated wage increases for union-represented Class 1 dispatchers have not been as generous as UP’s merit increases.

One thing this chart doesn’t demonstrate is delay. UP train dispatchers received merit increases every year in their March paychecks. Union-represented train dispatchers did not, waiting until their 2015 contract concluded in December 2017 to receive pay adjustments for 2016 and 2017.

Although UP doesn’t often refer to averages because each management employee is paid on merit, it’s useful to consider averages in the context of pay.

In 2016*, a UP train dispatcher’s average salary, including new hires just getting up the step rate ladder, was approximately $92,525. That same year, a Class 1 union-represented train dispatcher’s average salary was $93,216. UP was clearly in the market range on average.

In the fall of 2017, UP increased train dispatcher salaries. This raised their average salary above those of their union-represented counterparts by year end 2017. After December 2017, the average salary for a UP dispatcher was $94,345. UP train dispatchers with more than 20 years of service average more than $110,000.

After adding in the cost of the employee benefits UP pays on behalf of each train dispatcher, a UP dispatcher’s “total compensation,” less taxes, is approximately $134,970; this includes UP contributions for health care, salary continuation, pension and 401K benefits. This compares to a “total compensation,” less taxes, to each union-represented train dispatcher of approximately $110,590.

*2016 is the most recent year the industry gathered relevant data.