14 Pros and Cons of Working for Union Pacific

In the summer of 1862, when the US was in the midst of war, President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act.

With that stroke of a pen, Union Pacific was born.

Since then, the company has become one of the top names in transportation in America.

In total, the trains run through almost half of the states with a multitude of cargo.

The hauling has continued through both prosperous and hard times the country has faced.

Union Pacific is also known for providing work to veterans.

Are they as good as they sound to work for?

Hop aboard as we find out!

Pros of Working for Union Pacific

1. Pay

Resoundingly, employees at Union Pacific praise their pay.

This is a big deal anywhere you work, but it’s unusual to have so many people happy with their salaries.

Perhaps the best part of the high pay is that some of the positions don’t even require a degree. 

In a world where most employers won’t even look at a resume without one, despite experience, it’s a breath of fresh air.

If working for this transportation company does nothing else, it at least compensates well enough.

2. Benefits

There is no need to worry about being able to pay for medical needs while working for Union Pacific.

Each employee is entitled to medical insurance that also covers prescriptions.

In addition, the company provides vision, dental, life, and disability insurance. 

Aside from the physical needs, there are other benefits to be had here. 

There’s financial planning, child and pet care, tutoring, housekeeping, community programs, wellness programs, tuition reimbursement, employee discounts, and a lot more.

Let’s not leave out that Union Pacific is the only company that offers breast milk delivery for moms.

3. Retirement

Not many companies offer retirement and pension plans anymore.

Union Pacific has worked out ways to keep you comfortable in the golden years.

First off, there’s a 401(k) plan. 

With a 401(k), you can choose one of several options and become an active part of investing for your future.

Workers are able to get involved after one year of employment.

The other point to touch on is Railroad Retirement.

With this benefit, long-term workers end up collecting two and a half times as much as they would on social security. 

Between Railroad Retirement and a 401(k) plan, retirees can go confidently into signing off for good. 

4. Supportive Feedback

Whether you’re brand new to a position or are waiting for a promotion, it can be tough to know where you stand.

Union Pacific tries to cut out the guesswork by providing feedback.

This isn’t a form you receive at an annual performance review, either. 

Higher-ups want to ensure employees are not only supported but confident in their work. 

A member of management will spend one-on-one time working with employees to connect the dots.

Having someone in a position of power guiding you is beneficial to everyone. 

5. Career Opportunities

Transportation has a multitude of facets that make a journey successful.

The best part is that you aren’t necessarily stuck in one role. 

It’s nice to know that there are other options.

Want to go back to school and take advantage of tuition reimbursement? 

Employees can get a degree in something they’re more interested in and elect to follow a different career path.

All of which can be accomplished while still working at Union Pacific.

6. Part of a Union

There’s a lot of confusion and misinformation surrounding unions. 

However, unions can be quite handy to have on your side as an employee.

For starters, they negotiate things like pay, vacation days, and changes to benefits.

In companies without unions, big decisions like that are made by a particular group of people. 

Those decisions are forced upon the workers to deal with, no matter what. 

Union leaders fight for the rights of workers and make sure the upper management doesn’t take advantage. 

7. Coworkers

It doesn’t seem to matter which department you fall under.

At Union Pacific, teams bond over the work. 

Transportation is vital to the interworking of the nation.

Employees often consider the gravity of the work and their positions as a duty.

Smooth deliveries keep the world running, which creates camaraderie. 

It’s encouraging to be able to rely so much on coworkers to learn and have each other’s backs. 

Cons of Working for Union Pacific

1. No Work-Life Balance

It’s a good thing employees get along so well with their coworkers.

Have family and friends you like to spend time with?

Be sure to invest in a smart device you can video call with because your time is now very limited.

This is very much a place to work to start your career before having family or life commitments.

A time when you can dedicate yourself wholeheartedly to working. 

2. Long Hours

12-hour shifts, being on call 24/7, and no holiday acknowledgment are great ways to erase any shred of a work-life balance.

It’s also a fast way to burn out. 

These long hours and days away add a lot of stress to workers.

Those hours coupled with always being on call means it’s hard to truly rest when a shift is over.

Sometimes the schedule has you on again a mere 10 hours after ending the prior shift. 

3. Lack of Technology

It’s kind of strange to be aboard a train and wonder if this is the same technology that was being used when the company started.

Okay, while it may not be that antiquated, the systems used by Union Pacific are definitely due for an upgrade.

What’s currently in working order is slow to process requests and often keeps employees waiting longer than they should be.

While it would be quite an overhaul, updated equipment and systems would improve efficiency. 

4. No Paid Sick Days

If you catch a cold, or your body refuses to function because of burnout, there might be problems.

Unfortunately, this is often what happens when you compromise your time and body with rigid schedules. 

When you get sick, it’s an annoying process. 

You may be used to just picking up the phone to call out at other places. 

Here, you might be opening yourself up to a hard time from management.

They may require a doctor’s note and still not pay you for the time off. 

5. Safety

To be fair, training does include safety.

Once a worker gets started, though, an outsider would wonder if it was enough.

Inhaling dangerous fumes and using heavy equipment should be a bigger cause of concern.

Luckily, this is something that can be raised by the union.

Will it, though?

That is the question on the minds of those who are put in these situations regularly. 

6. Layoffs

One rainy cloud that hangs over Union Pacific workers is the fear of being laid off. 

Over the past several years, layoffs have been coming in droves.

The company reasons that they are trying to create better operation schedules. 

Downsizing, it was revealed, is a necessary part of that plan for streamlining.

With the severe reduction in the labor force, the daily tasks of employees left on the schedule have gotten almost too heavy to bear. 

They can’t do anything about it though.

Protests are not tolerated.

7. Management

Almost everyone has a problem with management to one degree or another.

A manager is often putting together torturous schedules or behaving in a tone-deaf manner.

They seem highly reluctant to grant any time off, no matter how far in advance a vacation was scheduled.

Likely, the issues stemming from management come directly from higher-ups.

Either way, it’s an overwhelming problem that needs to be addressed.

14 Pros and Cons of Working for Union Pacific – Summary Table

Pros of Working for Union PacificCons of Working for Union Pacific
1. Pay1. No Work-Life Balance
2. Benefits2. Long Hours
3. Retirement3. Lack of Technology
4. Supportive Feedback4. No Paid Sick Days
5. Career Opportunities5. Safety
6. Part of a Union6. Layoffs
7. Coworkers7. Management

Should You Work for Union Pacific?

Working for a company that is in its third century comes with a bit of prestige and looks good on a resume.

Union Pacific workers are happy with their pay and benefits.

There’s nothing like security, especially when you’re out on the road.

The big problem is finding time to spend the money or use those benefits.

Schedules are so long and endless that it’s hard to be present for things.

It’s a great place to kick off a career, but is it worth it for the long haul?

Be sure to consider options before applying. 

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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