ISSUE 4 Volume 99
ROSEVILLE CA APRIL EDITION
As usual, UP management proves that, as in art and music , the absurd and the
ridiculous can happen and most fools will buy it anyway. Figure it out: The
biggest hiring binge any of us have seen in our careers and at the same time
we're cutting off new folks by the bushel! In my limited management
experience I've seen some real neat ideas come and go, but never even thought
about this one. Imagine that! Hire hundreds of people, tell them they've
got a career so they give up their GOOD jobs (and they'll look good after
this!) train them, pay the crews they work with a training allowance, put
them where they aren't needed and finally, cut the boards so they are bumped
off the bottom and have nowhere to go. BRILLIANT! Why didn't I think of it?
SAFETY FIRST DEP'T
As all working rails know, we can be severely fired for shoving blind. That
is, farther than we can see safely and ascertain that everyone and everything
is in the clear. Well, technology to the rescue! I'm told by local
management that, in the new Roseville yard, we can now shove blind some 8000
feet with the help of electronic devices which will tell us exactly how far
we have to go. Problem is, HOW FAR CAN THE DAMN TRACK SENSOR SEE? Are we
going to be relieved of the responsibility for the first company vehicle
destroyed? Oh, no, we'll just fire the carman that left it 2" out to foul.
Are we going to be relieved from the responsibility of the first carman hurt
or killed? You can't fire a dead guy. Our brothers in the car dep't should
take note of the carrier's attitude. WE WILL CONTINUE TO WORK SAFELY NO
MATTER WHAT IT TAKES!
I wish the carrier shared our concern.
BE SAFE, Sarge
A MESSAGE TO THE PRESIDENT
I'm sure by now we all have read the latest issue of INFO magazine.
With all the pull-outs, inserts, etc., I had to call my kid home from college
to instruct me on how to disassemble the damn thing without ripping it to
The feature article was "A Message From The President" which was a
canned propaganda interview with Ike Evans. We could waste a lot of space to
discuss all the double-speak terms that were in your article but everyone
realizes that so why go over it twice. Instead we'll just take a look at what
you said about the employees. These are actual quotes from the article:
"Our commodity mix is the most diverse and balanced in the railroad industry.
That, coupled with people who care about this company . . . . "
"Our company's vision addresses our three stakeholder groups - customers,
employees and shareholders. The bottom line is if . . . our employees are
proud to work here . . . "
"We're going to re-earn the confidence of our customers, shareholders, and
Ike, if your speech writer is going to feed you lines like this,
don't put it in a magazine that the employees read because they come up with
one of two possible conclusions, either you know what is going on or you
don't. One implies contempt, the other implies ignorance.
Ike, here are the facts. CMS and HDC (with Labor Relation's blessing)
uses our agreements for toilet paper. I'm not talking about crew
dispatchers and train dispatchers, because those poor bastards are
overworked, treated like slaves and are just doing what they are told for
fear of their jobs. We're talking about the low life scumbags that control
CMS and HDC. They are out of control and everyone knows it but you, or do
you? Maybe that is why they are the way they are, because that is their
Well hey, so the agreement was violated, so what? Put in a claim.
Then we get the other barrel. Timekeeping just denies everything. Hey, forget
you have an agreement cause we ain't gonna honor it and we sure as hell ain't
gonna pay the claim. So where does that leave us Ike? Let me tell you what a
surly, maltreated employee does. We do what we are told, and not a damn thing
more. So we see a mistake is being made, so what? Not my job. They don't pay
me to think around here. They don't want my help.
You just went through a hiring binge to appease who? The Feds? Oh, so
now the heat is off, so cut'em all off just as they come out of class, then
start droppng turns and shoving the pool, denying PL days, refusing to allow
people time off because you're short of people? Then tell these poor
unemployed fools how proud they should be for working for the U.P.?
You mention three groups, shareholders, customers and employees. Ike,
did ya ever see a three legged stool with one leg missing? U.P. employees are
not proud. They are pissed. A lot of them feel like whipped puppies. Most
hate to come to work on a job that they used to enjoy. Most were willing to
"go the extra mile" in the old days because it was a team, a family, a proud
tradition. Not any more. With a few exceptions, employees believe that
management is inept, arrogant, uncaring, self-centered and budget driven
rather than service driven. Employees are still being cited for investigation
for trivial matters, yelled and cursed at (ala Fresno), and in general
treated like a nuisance rather than a team member.
You also said, "We're going to walk the talk and we are going to
succeed." Well, first off, if U.P. didn't have the coal business, they'd be
in the toilet right now, and second, we've heard this rhetoric before and we
don't believe it. As long as you have the current management team in CMS,
Labor Relations and HDC, things will not change.
So we say to you, "Action speaks louder than words."and "Talk is
UPRR MANAGEMENT NEWS
UPRR organization is like a tree full of monkeys, all on different
branches at different levels, some climbing up. The monkeys on top look down
and see a tree full of smiling faces. The monkeys on the bottom look up and
see nothing but assholes
VIEW FROM THE TOW-PATH
Well! Here it is one year later. Of course all the bugs have been worked
out and the reporting is right on. Your work orders are perfect and the
waybills match your consist. The yard lists include all the cars you're
about to switch. NOT!
Let me digress a few years. I'll share an impression that I got the first
time I met Union Pacific Employees at the annual Region Eight Meetings. They
were invariably disgruntled. Here we were, the Southern Pacific Employees,
with our back to the wall having been raped by the ATSF of all our peripheral
activities. We were the ones I would have thought would be disgruntled and
yet our morale was measurably higher than that of the UP's. Each succeeding
year I would be dismayed at how bitter the ex-employees of the Milwaukee, or
the Missouri, or the Western Pacific Railroads would appear. Now I'm
learning first hand WHY.
Every shift you hear horror stories involving employees regarding encounters
with every department of the Union Pacific Railroad. Be it Crew Dispatching,
Train Dispatching, Payroll, or Clerical, the one word that describes their
attitude is: ARROGANCE. To hell with your contract, to hell with your
schedule, and to hell with your reported work. They'll damn well do it their
way and they answer to no one. Now I see once proud, dedicated, enthusiastic
Southern Pacific employees . . . . disgruntled.
Where once the Operating Department (you remember them, they produced our
product: service to the customer) ran the railroad, they have been reduced
to just another member of the committee. It appears from down here, tamping
the ballast, that each department of the Union Pacific is equal and answers
to no one. Else, why would one create problems for the other and vice versa?
The revenues from their many long haul operations have created deep pockets
on the UP and with it the arrogant attitude that they must know what they are
doing. But, the truth of the matter is, they don't know jack about serving
customers and the paper work that goes with it. They have made profits in
the past in spite of themselves.
I just hope it all hangs together for a while as I have six or seven years to
tamp ballast before retirement, or, I hit the lotto.
Bad Order Bob
NEW & IMPROVED
In our continuing search for excellence on the UP, we've uncovered the
A directive to locomotive servicing facilities on the entire UP system has
provided us with the following samples of how our Mech. Dep't managers solve
problems. They have a new program from Omaha called ANSWERS.
Check some of them out:
(Problem)Thin flanges on #3 wheel set almost needs replacement
(Solution) Almost replaced #3 wheel set
(P) Dynamic brake not effective at any speed
(S) This locomotive not equipped with dynamic brake
(P) Locomotive smokes excessively
(S) Cigarettes on locomotive removed
(P) #2 traction motor seeping oil
(S) #2 traction motor seepage normal - #1 #3 and #4 motors lack normal seepage
(P) Something loose in cab
(S) Something tightened in cab
(P) Evidence of leak in crankcase
(S) Evidence removed
(P) Alerter volume unbelievably loud
(S) Volume set to more believable level
(P) Locomotive dances up and down when brake applied at 40 MPH
(S) Could not reproduce problem in engine house.
(P) Dead bugs on windshield
(S) Live bugs on order
(P) Emergency brake application caused dynamic brake to fail
(S) Yeah, that's right
(P) Engine missing
(S) Engine found under hood after brief search
(P) Locomotive handles funny
(S) Locomotive given verbal warning to be serious
(P) Radio hums
(S) Reprogrammed radio with the words
As always, we encourage other examples for the next issue.
UNCLE SAM SCREWS YOU, TOO
The FRA has a document called Employee Human Factor Attachment. You may get
one of these bogus forms in the mail if you are involved in any kind of
incident. If you do, CALL YOUR LOCAL CHAIRMAN. Don't ignore it or throw it
away. Those worthless claims agents and their cowardly bosses have taken yet
another shot at having to tell the truth about railroad accidents.
If you get one of these forms in the mail at any time, PLEASE call your LC.
Don't let the bastards get away with it!
The new improved Roseville hump is giving them fits. Nobody thought about
loads and empties, weather conditions, length of tracks, gravity or why
Livonia doesn't work either. After all, if the Missouri Pacific can inflict
its management on the UP to the point of this stupidity, why, all the laws of
nature can be suspended long enough to install a couple thousand dowdy
retarders and solve all the hump problems in the world. Right?
Our guys who have worked the experimental hump job all walk away with the
"They coulda saved about a hundred mil and fixed the old hump and fired that
SNAKEBITES is published irregularly by the Roseville Switchmen as an antidote
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If you haven't noticed, the 245 herder shanty is gone. A victim of the new,
modern, "almost as good as it used to be" renovation of Roseville Yard. This
little shanty was originally built in Rocklin and was part of the migration
of that terminal to Roseville shortly after the turn of the last century.
Us old farts remember when it was located between the main line and Number
Nine track but when a few of our fearless hoggers like Ol Man Neugebaur
hi-balled into the yard, there would be an occasional derailment that piled
cars all around the shanty and there was nowhere to run, so it was decided to
relocate it to the north side of the main. That way, herders (and the dinger)
could run out into the street when cars started going side ways.
This shanty has been a host to many a character who resided therein. Buzzy
Leggett, Dean "SS" Conard, Jack Rabbit Johnson, RW "You can't fire me"
Woodward, SW "Shaft Ya" Young, Ed "Get us out of the United Nations" Bunn,
Charlie "Shoulders" Cochran to name a few of the icons that answered to the
call of 245 Herder.
Let us not forget those precious times gone by, as when, after months of
complaining, Conard painted the entire shanty, inside and out, in one 8 hour
shift, while performing his normal herding duties, only to be timeslipped by
the B&B department for 2 painters for 5 days each. Or the following
conversation overheard one night,
Dinger (over the intercom): "Herder, What was that you just put down
Herder: "It was a train, damn few boats ever go down that track."
On the brighter side, 245 shanty was not demolished, but rather was carted
off intact and donated to a museum where it will be on display. I don't know
why, but every time I stepped into that shanty (yawn) I just started feeling
so sleepy . . . L. B.
News from the BROTHERS
Just received this interesting tidbit from a local chairman of the
pipefitters union here on the UP.
Just when you thought it was out of the goodness of their heart....
was informed today that not only is FRA pissed at UP locally, but nationwide
as a railroad. Apparently, UP's FRA defect ratio is at 48%. To put that in
perspective, the nearest challenger is BNSF at 20%. Rudy Bussard (brother to
local Sparrling #3) was told to come up with a plan to address this problem
(presumably by Santa Maria), but didn't and sat on it' instead. When FRA said
"Where is it?" nothing was produced.
This placed FRA in the hyper pissed mode, since this is their area of
responsibility, and they have a ready-to-order target with a railroad that is
by far 'the worst' by over double, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to do
the math. Apparently over the last and next few weeks, meetings are being
held to determine a course of action. Place this together with an odd, out of
the blue, statement Mr.Sparr (Director UP Mechanical at Roseville) supposedly
made in a call to a night planner:
"If I'm going down, I'm taking others with me," sounds like the feces
is about to strike the impeller.
Should be interesting.
FOR SALE One set of Encyclopedia Britannica. Never used. Just got married,
wife knows everything Rodney
TRADE: Your seniority for mine so I can give it to my useless kid and he can
suffer like them new guys.
FOUND: New Motorola radio in back of carryall. Will return for the right
price. OOPS! Someone else just stole it. Damn!
FOR SALE: One screwed up railroad. No takers so far, but who knows? The name
and history alone are priceless in spite of the fact that it has been
mismanaged for years. Nasty but competent employees included. Offers to UPRR
WANTED: Cheap, used up railroads. Money is no object, as long as my credit
is good. Call PFA, Denver.