September, 2003



Welcome to your new life as a UP object.  Please read this Updated Employee Handbook immediately.

It is advised that you come to work dressed according to your salary.  If we see you wearing new Red Wing boots & carrying a $600 Gucci grip, we assume you are doing well financially and therefore you do not need a raise.  If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better, so that you may buy nicer clothes and therefore you do not need a raise.  If you dress in-between, you are right where you need to be and therefore you do not need a raise.

We will no longer accept a doctor statement as proof of sickness.  If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.

Operations are now banned. As long as you work for the railroad, you need all your organs. You should not consider removing anything. We hired you intact. To have something removed constitutes a breach of employment.

Each employee will receive the contractually allotted personal days.  Approval for taking these days is left to managers who do not get personal days.  You may apply for personal days at any time.

All employees will take their vacation at the same time every year. The vacation days are as follows:  Jan. 1, July 4 & Dec. 25, except for everyone else. (Forget it. You're a new hire, vacation isn't something you need concern yourself with at this time.)

This is no excuse for missing work. There is nothing you can do for dead friends, relatives or coworkers. Every effort should be made to have non-employees attend to the arrangements.  In rare cases where employee involvement is necessary, the funeral should be scheduled for off time, as long as no one else has to work overtime.  We will be glad to allow you to work through your lunch hour and subsequently leave one hour early, provided all of the work is done and we have enough people to fill the next shift, without paying overtime, or no one misses call.

This will be accepted as an excuse. However, we require at least two weeks notice, as it is your duty to train your own replacement.

Entirely too much time is being spent in the restroom. In the future, we will follow the practice of going in alphabetical order, by shift.  For instance, all employees whose names begin with 'A' will go from 8:00 to 8:20, employees whose names begin with 'B' will go from 8:20 to 8:40 and so on. If you're unable to go at your allotted time, it will be necessary to wait until the next day when your turn comes again. In extreme emergencies, employees may swap their time with a coworker. Both employees' supervisors must approve this exchange in writing. In addition, there is now a strict 3-minute time limit in the stalls. At the end of three minutes, an alarm will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract, the stall door will open and a picture will be taken. After your second offense, your picture will be posted on the company bulletin board under the "Chronic Offenders"

Skinny people get 30 minutes for lunch as they need to eat more so that they can look healthy. Normal size people get 15 minutes for lunch to get a balanced meal to maintain their average figure. Fat people get 5 minutes for lunch, because that's all the time needed to drink a Slim Fast and take a diet pill.

Thank you for your loyalty to our company. We are here to provide a positive employment experience.  We hope your career with the Union Pacific will profit us. Oh, and you, too. Or not.
Have a nice week.
Your friends at UP Management

Reasons Why UP Sucks, Part 53

(Recent News Item)

The Compassionate Friends, the world's largest self-help bereavement organization, has named Union Pacific a 2003 Compassionate Employer of the Year. Union Pacific was recognized for the support it provided ……

I want you kids to remember this the next time you try to lay off sick and the caller fights with you, the next time you need time off for your family and the caller fights with you, the next time you need off because you have worked the last 42 days in a row without a day off and the caller fights with you, the next time you have a sick parent that you are very concerned about and the caller fights you over laying off, the next time you waste an entire day of your life because the train lineup sucked and was not accurate, the next time you spend 12 hours sitting in an un-air conditioned locomotive in 110 degree heat in a siding and the dispatcher fights with you, the next time your organization tries to get you a raise in light of the carrier's record profits and the paid arbitrators screw you, the next time you get injured on the carrier's unsafe equipment and the Supt. wants to fire you, the next time you refuse to leave the terminal until you get the proper and necessary supplies to make your trip bearable and the MTO wants to fire you, and the next time they pull an unfair test on you and you fail because it was impossible not to fail and the MOP wants to fire you.

Please remember that deep down the U.P. really loves you and has a very compassionate heart, especially when there is happy, feel good publicity involved.

                                         Grumpy Old Switchman

(Our sources indicate UPRR won this coveted award after timekeeping finally paid the contractually mandated three day's bereavement leave two years later without having had to actually produce a dead body.)

Griever's Corner

Ah, Summertime!  Barbeques and beer, fishing with friends and family, a day at the lake or beach, sun and fun, time to relax, right?  WRONG!  Not if you're a UP operating employee.  Our genius management decided to bolster the stock price and their bonuses a couple years ago by freezing hiring and making workforce reductions.  And of course, Remote Control will free up manpower. (We have more yard jobs now than before.) Now, it's come back to bite 'em in the ass. Overwhelming manpower shortages have caused our fearless leaders to crack down on "excessive absenteeism" and the traditional railroader's ability to lay off.  And one labor organization wimps out by making "cooperative" agreement proposals to gut Crew Consist.  Meanwhile, if you wanna lay off, CMS makes you call some jerk MYO at a phone number that is usually not manned, so you get to lay off to a voice mail system nobody ever listens to.  Next time you lay off, or try to, call the Superintendent's home phone number.  After all, it was his idea….Speaking of summertime, check out to see how some happy folks in SoCal have fun… Speaking  of manpower, our sources tells us that recruitment of new folks is rather disappointing.  After they screen out the druggies and illiterates, they give them a presentation about how crappy the working conditions are.  (You know, how we live now.)  Then they tell 'em they get to start, after training at almost minimum wage, at 75% of what the other guys are making.  Then they figure it out.  Then they leave.  Anybody left after this ordeal is certainly management material….Speaking  of managers, Roseville has a new position open since a couple of RCO fender-benders have occurred here.  The powers that be have decided that an employee will always be exactly on the point of every move under remote control.  You know, like a hood ornament.  So, effective Sep. 5, UP has created the position of Manager of Hood Ornaments, or MOHO.  The Sweatt brothers, Willie and Wayne, being the first managers promoted to this position, have been told to "get your MOHO workin"….I read recently where the U. of Nebraska is cooperating with UP to track folks who lay off sick.  Get this: the survey is being done by something called the Department of Biosecurity!  These folks have already figured out that folks get sick more often at the opening of deer season and holidays like Christmas and Mother's Day!  No Shit!  This'll probably result in several doctoral theses and an even worse absenteeism policy than we have now.  When you own an entire state, its University, Legislature, Courts and  infrastructure, I guess you can make up your own reality…I was taken to task by my favorite company officer about the flippant term "fender bender",  and rightfully so.  No accident should be taken lightly and I am one who worries daily about something serious happening.  Please, work safe and look out for each other.


The GCOR, as Amended, again.
(This from the UP's operational confusion center in Flamefart,  Iowa.)


A speed that will permit stopping within one-half the range of vision, short of train, engine, railroad car, stop signal, derail or switch not properly lined, looking out for broken rails, shunts, and bushes with radar guns attached, not exceeding 10 mph, except when using foreign line engines (because they stop faster than UPRR engines), not to exceed 20 mph unless there is a fog or descending grade within 30 miles, in which case 2 mph cannot be exceeded unless, of course, the conductor wishes to walk ahead of the move then not exceeding 4 mph, except if the conductor is a former switchman, then a speed of 3 mph must not be exceeded, or if you have less than 375 cars, 5 mph may not be exceeded because the train length permits (see Special Instructions for exceptions - should be somewhere in the first 15 pages of rules changes, as amended by General Order and supplemented by specific instructions on certain subdivisions as put into effect by Superintendent Notice), except if in signaled territory and track is seen to be clear to the next signal and crew is short on time, then 40 mph must not be exceeded.

Everyone got that?