Letter from Supt on COVID 19

March 17, 2020

Local Chairman

Union Pacific understands that there is concern among its employees regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Union Pacific takes these concerns seriously. While the risk of contracting the virus in the United States is still considered low, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warn that this situation is evolving and likely to continue changing. To minimize the impact of COVID-19 on its employees, Union Pacific has already taken certain actions and plans on taking more. The actions employees can assist are described below.

Union Pacific has updated its Pandemic & Natural Disaster Planning website to provide extensive information on COV-19 and the Company’s policies. A link to that website is provided below, but there is also a link on the UP Employee’s Homepage. This website is the best way for employees to receive up to date COVID-19 information and the Company’s actions in response as letters and emails will not remain relevant for long. Please encourage your members to check this site often since it will be updated frequently.

As we all know, Union Pacific is critical to the nation’s ability to respond to the pandemic.  We are critical infrastructure to interstate commerce that serves businesses and municipalities throughout this country.  We transport food, chemicals that clean our water supply, medical supplies, and basic essentials along with consumables. Our ability to serve the public will in large measure will affect the nation's ability to meet the challenges and quickly recover from this unprecedented event.

Actions Taken

Union Pacific has updated its Pandemic & Natural Disaster Planning website to provide extensive information regarding COVID-19, the Company’s policies and actions, and any other relevant information. In particular, there is a FAQ section that employees will find useful in answering questions they may have. There is a link to the website on the UP Employee’s Homepage, but can also be found at this address:http://home.www.uprr.com/e/operating/safety/PandemicandNaturalDisasterPlanning/index.htm. This website will be updated frequently to provide the latest information.  

•        Mr. Lance Fritz, Union Pacific’s President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board, is co-chairing the Business Roundtable CEO COVID-19 Task Force. This national effort provides Union Pacific unparalleled information and resources to the latest information provided by the Federal Government and business leaders around the Union States.
•        The Company developed a relationship with the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) a number of years ago providing us access to doctors and staff at the National Bio Containment Center. These doctors are on retainer for consultation purposes.
•        The Company developed a Pandemic Response Protocol with assistance from UNMC.  A Pandemic Planning Team (Team) has been activated as part of the protocol. Members of this team include health and safety professionals. This Team is responsible for collecting, analyzing and developing responses to the most current information from various sources. The Team is currently working closely with the various relevant government agencies and public health organizations and thoroughly evaluating next steps. The Pandemic Response Protocol can be found in the Coronavirus section of the Pandemic & Natural Disaster Planning website.  
•        Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) information is available by speaking with your manager. Company Mangers are stockpiling this material, which may take some time due to limited inventory from suppliers.
•        Travel restrictions have been initiated. No employee is authorized on company business to travel abroad or domestically without prior approval by Senior Management. The Travel Policy and any subsequent updates can be found in the Coronavirus section of the Pandemic & Natural Disaster Planning website and UP’s Homepage.
•        The new TE&Y Attendance Policy as did the prior Policy remains unchanged as it relates to sickness.  Union Pacific does not want anyone to report to work while ill. One employee in each Operating Region (Senior Director of Operations Support) has been approved to grant “points” relief when an employee reports illness with proper medical documentation. Further an employee has been appointed to address illness related attendance issues in Engineering / Mechanical along with non-Operating Departments.

Note: With the recent announcement by the CDC, where employers have been notified not to anticipate "doctors notes" for employees due to the strain of administrative burdens on the health care system, your members should call the HMS Nurse Hotline (Fitness for Duty line) to complete the intake survey at 402-544-7011 or speak with their local OHN for related questions.  

•        In-Cab Disinfectant is being used in the locomotive toilet rooms and control stand / conductors desk.  The latest research indicates the virus can survive only hours on hard surfaces.  Employees are asked to further wipe down these surfaces with wipes provided through the OrrBit Safety Supplies Application or your manager.  Further, locomotives are being equipped with a bottle of an antimicrobial solution (Clorox solution) that will be available for crew use to further disinfect surfaces.  These bottles will start appearing in locomotive cabs as long as supplies last.
•        We anticipate communities will issue forms of travel restrictions / curfews in the days to come.   We are working to obtain a letter from officials with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) that would allow the bearer of such a letter to traverse curfew lines / access company property due to our "Critical Infrastructure" designation.  The attached letter should suffice with local government and law enforcement officials until the FRA letter is issued.


Requested Assistance

Please remind your members that the CDC and the World Health Organization recommends the following personal protection techniques:

•        Avoid close contact with people with acute respiratory infections.
•        Wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment. The CDC recommends washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
•        Use antiseptic wipes on shared areas — such as computers, hand scanners, doorknobs, locomotive cabs and tools — before and after use. These wipes may be ordered by way of the Safety Supplies OrrBit App for TE&Y.  For other crafts see your local manager.
•        Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
•        Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Place the tissue after use in a resealable bag or used drinking bottle before discarding to prevent further spread of the virus.
•        People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands frequently.
•        If you or a family member is experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness, please contact your physician for guidance.

Finally, if one of your members is sick, remind them to stay home.

Union Pacific will continue to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak and keep you informed via the COVID-19 link on the Union Pacific Online page.  Further, Union Pacific's Health and Medical team can be reached through the Employee Service Center to answer your questions.

By working together and following prevention practices and, most important, by showing consideration for others, we can all help maintain a healthy workplace.

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