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2011 Service Updates (July - Present)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Freight Railroads Reach Agreements with Two More Unions
Settlements Avert Immediate Threat of Strike; Last Unsettled Union Agrees to Extend Negotiations

The nation’s major freight railroads have now reached tentative collective bargaining agreements with two additional unions: the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, and the American Train Dispatchers Association. The last unsettled union, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes, has agreed to an extension of the cooling off period until February 8, 2012.

This eliminates the immediate threat of a national railway strike, which could have impacted the critical flow of goods and services during this busy shipping season.

The full press release from the National Carriers' Conference Committee (NCCC) is included below.

Thank you for your continued support. We will continue to keep you updated as new information becomes available.

WASHINGTON (December 1, 2011) – The nation’s major freight railroads today reached tentative agreements with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the American Train Dispatchers Association, which together represent about 26,500 employees in collective bargaining. The last remaining union without a settlement, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes (BMWE), has agreed with the railroads to extend the “cooling off” period until Feb. 8, 2012, eliminating the immediate threat of a national rail strike.

“We’re pleased that we have now settled with 12 of the 13 unions in this bargaining round. Everyone wins when we reach voluntary agreements,” said A. Kenneth Gradia, Chairman of the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC), the railroads’ bargaining representative. “In a tough economy, these agreements offer a terrific deal for rail employees. They lock in well-above market wage increases of more than 20 percent over six years, far exceeding recent union settlements in other industries.”

The NCCC represents more than 30 railroads, including BNSF, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific in national bargaining with the 13 major rail unions.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

GOP Leaders Issue Statement: House Will Act if Necessary to Avert National Railway Strike

House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy issued a statement November 29 that the House of Representatives is prepared to act if necessary to avert a national rail shutdown. Click here to read the release.

The railroads continue to work to reach agreements with the three remaining unions needed to avert a service interruption before the end of the cooling off period at 12:01 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, December 6. When Railway Labor Act (RLA) procedures have failed to produce agreements, Congress has historically stepped in to prevent or quickly terminate potentially crippling strikes. A national strike last arose from national bargaining in 1992 and Congress acted immediately to end it.

Thank you for your continued support. We will continue to provide updates as information become available.

For additional information, please visit RailLaborFacts.org.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Railroads, Unions Fail to Reach Agreement on Extension of Cooling Off Period

The following information has been released from the National Carriers' Conference Committee (NCCC).

WASHINGTON (Nov. 29, 2011) — The nation’s freight railroads have not reached agreements with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the American Train Dispatchers Association to extend the current “cooling off” period. The railroads’ proposed extension – which a third union, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, accepted – was contingent upon the acceptance by all three unions. Absent an extension of the “cooling off” period or tentative settlement agreements, these unions and the railroads will be free under the Railway Labor Act to exercise “self-help” at 12:01AM on Dec. 6.

“The railroads have made and will continue to make every effort to reach agreements with the remaining three unions. During the busiest shipping and travel period of the year, a nationwide disruption of rail service would deal a crushing blow to our nation’s economy, potentially costing our country $2 billion a day,” said A. Kenneth Gradia, Chairman of the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC), the railroads’ bargaining representative.

“The Presidential Emergency Board appointed by President Obama to help avert such an outcome made recommendations for the resolution of these disputes. The railroads – and eight other unions – have agreed to implement these settlement terms, which reflect the Board’s careful consideration of both sides’ arguments. We urge the remaining unions to reach agreements with the railroads before December 6. ”

The freight railroads have reached settlements with 10 of the 13 rail unions covering more than 60 percent of the 132,000 employees in the current round of bargaining.

The NCCC represents more than 30 railroads, including BNSF, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific in national bargaining with the 13 major rail unions.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Railroads Agree to Extend Cooling Off Period if Three Unsettled Unions Agree
Extension Would Avert National Rail Strike During Busy Holiday Shipping, Travel Period

The following information has been released from the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC).

WASHINGTON (Nov. 23, 2011) — The nation’s major freight railroads announced today they would join in an agreement with the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes to extend negotiations beyond a “cooling off” period set to expire Dec. 6. The extension agreement is contingent upon similar agreements being reached with the American Train Dispatchers Association and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, the two other unions that have not yet reached settlements with the railroads. All three agreements must be reached by November 29. Without securing such agreements with each of the three unions, there would be a continuing threat of a strike or other service disruptions after the current “cooling off” period expires.

The freight railroads have reached settlements with 10 of the 13 rail unions covering more than 60 percent of the 132,000 employees in the current round of bargaining and including eight unions that have agreed to implement settlement recommendations made by a Presidential Emergency Board on Nov. 5.

A. Kenneth Gradia, Chairman of the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC), the railroads’ bargaining representative, said the carriers would agree to the negotiation extension to “maximize the chances of voluntary agreements. It is critical to the national interest to make every reasonable effort to avoid the threatened service disruption during the busy holiday shipping season and potentially cost the U.S. economy $2 billion a day.”

Without an extension, the unions and the railroads would be free under the Railway Labor Act to exercise “self-help” such as a strike or lockout on Dec. 6. The agreements would extend the “cooling off” period until Feb. 8.

The NCCC represents more than 30 railroads, including BNSF, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific in national bargaining with the 13 major rail unions.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Freight Railroads Reach Agreement with Four Additional Unions
The nation's major freight railroads have reached tentative collective bargaining agreements with four additional unions representing more than 11,000 employees: the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Blacksmiths, Iron Ship Builders, Forgers and Helpers; the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association; the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers; and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen.

The railroads now have a total of 10 agreements covering more than 60 percent of the 132,000 employees in this bargaining round. The other unions which have reached agreements include the United Transportation Union and its Yardmasters Department, the Brotherhood Railway Carmen, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the Transportation Communications International Union, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

All of the tentative agreements implement the recommendations laid out by a Presidential Emergency Board appointed by President Obama. Details are not being released pending ratification votes by union members.

The railroads are making every effort to reach settlements with the three remaining unions to ensure there are no disruptions to rail service. As mandated by the Railway Labor Act, the carriers and remaining unions are in a 30-day cooling off period. During this period, which ends at 12:01 a.m. on December 6, strikes are not permitted.

We will continue to provide updates on the progress of negotiations with the remaining unions as new information becomes available.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Railroads Reach Agreement with Electrical Workers
The nation’s major freight railroads have reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. This is the fourth agreement since a Presidential Emergency Board made settlement recommendations, and the sixth overall in this round of bargaining.

The railroads now have agreements covering the majority of the 132,000 employees in this bargaining round. The other unions who have reached agreements include the United Transportation Union and its Yardmasters Department, the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the Transportation Communications International Union.

As mandated by the Railway Labor Act, the carriers and the remaining seven unions are in a 30-day “cooling off” period to negotiate voluntary settlements, which would avert any potential disruptions to rail service. During this period, which ends December 6, all parties are barred from engaging in any self-help action.

For additional information, please visit RailLaborFacts.org.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Presidential Emergency Board Issues Recommendation to President Obama
The Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) issued its recommendation this weekend to President Obama to resolve the dispute between the nation’s largest freight railroads and two coalitions representing 11 unions. The parties now have a 30-day period in which to negotiate voluntary settlements, which would avert any potential disruptions to rail service.

We are optimistic that the PEB's recommendations will allow us to reach a voluntary settlement and avoid a work stoppage. If that is not possible, we may seek customer support to contact members of Congress to urge their intervention in quickly resolving a potential work stoppage.

Please refer to the statement released by the National Carriers' Conference Committee (NCCC) at RailLaborFacts.org for additional information.

We will keep you advised as the negotiations continue.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

President Obama Appoints Presidential Emergency Board
Today, President Obama signed an Executive Order creating a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) to investigate the dispute between the nation’s largest freight railroads and two coalitions representing 11 unions. The president’s action followed the National Mediation Board’s (NMB) decision on Sept. 6 to release the parties from federal mediation. The appointment of the PEB by the President extends the collective bargaining process for 60 days: 30 days for the PEB to investigate and make its recommendation, followed by a 30-day cooling off period.

Please refer to the National Carriers' Conference Committee (NCCC) for additional information.

Monday, September 12, 2011

ThurTuesday, September 6, 2011

Operations Impacted by Wildfires and Drought in Texas
Union Pacific personnel in Central Texas, where severe heat and the worst drought conditions in 50 years have impacted track structure most of the summer, are now battling the impact of wildfires which have broken out across the area this weekend. Fanned in part by 30 mph winds from Tropical Storm Lee which made landfall over the weekend in Southern Louisiana, the wildfires have destroyed nearly 500 homes and resulted in the evacuation of thousands of residents across Central Texas. Winds are expected to drop to around 10 mph today, according to the National Weather Service.

Wildfires have encroached Union Pacific right-of-way on routes between Dallas and Longview; Austin/Waco and Smithville; and Houston and Hearne. Operations in these areas have been intermittently suspended as UP personnel work side by side with local fire departments, utilizing water trucks and bulldozers to build firewalls to protect track structure and attempt to contain the fires in the impacted areas. Engineering crews are patrolling Union Pacific track and country roads around the clock to monitor wildfire conditions. Union Pacific field transportation managers and Special Agents posted in the State of Texas Command Centers continue to monitor the fires and work closely with our Service Interruption Team at the Harriman Dispatching Center to determine their impact on rail operations across the area.

On another front, engineering crews continue their efforts to repair track infrastructure across the area, where heat and drought conditions have eroded ballast and compromised track conditions and service performance this summer. Despite additional resources deployed to the area, as drought conditions continue, crews are struggling to make significant progress and are having to return to areas where they've made prior repairs. Rainfall is critical to stabilize soil and subgrade and to allow engineering crews to make the necessary repairs and return train operations to normal speeds.

Customers with shipments moving through Central Texas should anticipate up to 24-hour delays, as crews continue to battle the impact of the fires and drought conditions on our operations.

We will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Operations Resume Following the Landfall of Tropical Storm Lee
Tropical Storm Lee has passed the southern portion of Louisiana and is currently approaching Baton Rouge, tracking north-northeast toward southwestern Mississippi. Southern Louisiana experienced heavy rainfall amounts and rail traffic was delayed during the heaviest period of the storm's passing. As the storm situation improves, operations have once again resumed for those trains held outside the affected area.

With the worst of the storm now past the New Orleans area, the New Orleans Levee board has announced that they will reopen the flood gate that had previously been blocking UP's interchange with the CSXT, at 2:30 p.m. local time today. As interchange with the CSXT resumes later today, volumes are anticipated to remain heavy for the next several days as recovery operations begin and both UP and CSXT crews work off the backlog of traffic.

We will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Union Pacific Prepares for the Arrival of Tropical Storm Lee
Tropical Storm Lee is approaching landfall today in Southern Louisiana with heavy rains in the New Orleans area. The storm is anticipated to drop as much as 10-20 inches of rain in some areas.

The New Orleans Levee board has closed flood gates which has blocked Union Pacific's interchange capability with the CSXT. Operations personnel have developed a plan with the CSXT to reroute some eastbound and westbound trains today via the Memphis gateway. Other traffic for the CSXT is being staged until the flood gates reopen, currently projected to be late Sunday night or early Monday morning.

We'll continue to provide updates as new information is available.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Embargo Canceled for Inbound and Outbound Shipments to St. Joseph, Missouri
Receding water levels have enabled the city of St. Joseph, Mo. to remove the flood wall erected across a portion of Union Pacific track, allowing service to be restored to all remaining embargoed customers. As a result, the embargo at St. Joseph has been canceled for all inbound and outbound shipments.

Customers with questions about shipments into and out of the St. Joseph area should contact the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-272-8777. For a current list of embargoes, please refer to the embargo section of the Union Pacific website.

We appreciate your continued cooperation and will continue to provide updates on our website.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Drought Continues to Affect Operations in Texas; Embargo Lifted for Inbound Shipments to St. Joseph, Missouri
The severe heat and drought conditions across central Texas this summer continues to compromise Union Pacific's track structure and impede operations primarily between San Antonio, Houston and Fort Worth. The number of slow orders across the area remain well above normal, and operations personnel continue to use speed restrictions across much of the area to protect the track structure and allow for engineering crews to make necessary repairs. The speed restrictions, combined with some scheduled maintenance projects, have reduced capacity and put a strain on equipment and crew availability.

To address the situation, we have deployed additional engineering resources to help keep pace with necessary track repairs. We've adjusted our transportation plan, prioritized resources, increased dispatching support at our Harriman Dispatching Center for the Texas area and added local industry support jobs in response to reduced capacity across the area, as well as the impact of increased volume. One of the major scheduled maintenance projects designed to increase velocity in and around the Forth Worth area has now been completed and we are reviewing maintenance projects for the remainder of this year and 2012 to balance the work and minimize the impact on our customers' shipments.

Despite these continued efforts to maintain operations and restore velocity across the area, improved conditions remain primarily dependent on the weather. In some cases, engineering crews are having to return to areas where they've made prior repairs, as continued drought conditions again erode ballast and compromise the repaired track structure. Rainfall is critical to stabilize the soil and track subgrade across the impacted areas. As the soil and subgrade are stabilized, engineering crews can make the necessary repairs and return train operations to normal speeds. As the severe drought continues, we anticipate remediation efforts will continue until late September or into October.

Your Union Pacific representative will keep you updated on our progress so you can make any needed adjustments to ensure your product continues to move efficiently to market.

Operations Continue to Improve Along Flood-Impacted Subdivisions in Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri
Crews continue to restore service along flood-impacted areas, despite the heavy rainfall in the last few weeks across Kansas and Missouri. Operations are improving along the River Subdivision between Kansas City and Jefferson City, Mo.; and the Falls City Subdivision between Atchison and Leavenworth, Kan. As weather conditions permit, Union Pacific will continue maintenance efforts to restore these subdivisions to normal operations.

Customers with shipments moving through the affected areas should continue to expect 12- to 24-hour delays.

The embargo at St. Joseph, Mo. for inbound shipments has been lifted for the majority of customers, allowing business to return to normal levels. Union Pacific is working with the city of St. Joseph to restore service to remaining embargoed customers as river levels return to normal. Customers with questions about shipments into and out of the St. Joseph area and other embargoed areas should contact the National Customer Center at 1-800-272-8777. For a current list of embargoes, please refer to the embargo section of the Union Pacific website.

We appreciate your continued support and will continue to provide updates as conditions change.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Operations Returning to Normal Along Flood-Impacted Subdivisions; St. Joseph Embargo Remains in Effect with Limited Operations to Resume
Receding water levels are allowing operations to slowly return to normal along the River Subdivision between Kansas City and Jefferson City, Mo; and the Falls City Subdivision between Atchison and Leavenworth, Kan. We will continue to operate a limited number of trains along these routes as conditions permit and in conjunction with ongoing maintenance to complete repairs and stabilize track infrastructure in the flood-impacted areas.

Customers with shipments moving through the affected areas should continue to expect 12- to 24-hour delays.

The embargo in St. Joseph, Mo. remains in effect for both inbound and outbound shipments. However, Union Pacific will begin implementing a plan this week to provide limited service into and out of the area utilizing alternative routes. For a current list of embargoes as a result of flooding, please refer to the embargo section of the Union Pacific website. Customers with questions about shipments into and out of the St. Joseph area and other embargoed areas should contact the National Customer Center at 1-800-272-8777.

As conditions change, we will continue to post updates on our website.

Monday, July 26, 2011

Track Repairs Under Way Along Flood-Impacted Subdivisions
Receding water levels along the River Subdivision between Kansas City and Jefferson City, Mo; and the Falls City Subdivision between Atchison and Leavenworth, Kan. have allowed crews to begin making repairs to track infrastructure in the flood-impacted areas. As a result, very limited and restricted operations have resumed on both lines for a few trains per day in conjunction with this engineering maintenance effort.

If weather conditions permit, necessary repairs and track inspections will continue, and we will slowly transition trains back to both subdivisions over the next 7-10 days. Customers with shipments moving through the affected areas should continue to expect up to 24- to 48-hour delays.

For a current list of embargoes as a result of flooding, please refer to the embargo section of the Union Pacific website. Customers with questions about shipments into and out of embargoed areas should contact the National Customer Center at 1-800-272-8777.

As conditions change, we will post updates on our website.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Limited Operations Expected to Resume between Kansas City and Jefferson City, Mo.
Water levels have begun to recede along the River Subdivision between Kansas City and Jefferson City, Mo., allowing crews to initiate repairs to track infrastructure in the impacted areas. If conditions permit, operating personnel will begin the process to transition re-routed trains back to this subdivision as early as next week.

Flooding conditions continue to impact operations along the Falls City Subdivision between Atchison and Leavenworth, Kan. Trains scheduled to move through this area will continue to be re-routed.

Customers with shipments moving through the affected areas may continue to expect up to 24- to 48-hour delays.

For a current list of embargoes as a result of flooding, please refer to the embargo section of the Union Pacific website. Customers with questions about shipments into and out of embargoed areas should contact the National Customer Center at 1-800-272-8777.

As conditions change, we will continue to post updates on our website.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Update: Flooding Continues to Impact Operations in Kansas and Missouri
Flooding conditions continue along the Falls City Subdivision between Atchison and Leavenworth, Kan; and the River Subdivision between Kansas City and Jefferson City, Mo. Officials estimate that the water levels across the area could take several more weeks to recede. Crews have positioned ballast and other materials at key locations to make any necessary repairs to track infrastructure in the impacted areas as conditions improve.

We will continue to reroute all trains around flood-impacted areas. Customers with shipments moving through the affected areas may expect up to 24- to 48-hour delays.

For a current list of embargoes as a result of flooding, please refer to the embargo section of the Union Pacific website. Customers with questions about shipments into and out of embargoed areas should contact the National Customer Center at 1-800-272-8777.

As conditions change, we will continue to post updates on our website.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Update: Flooding Continues to Impact Operations in Kansas and Missouri

Flooding conditions continue to impact operations along the Falls City Subdivision between Atchison and Leavenworth, Kan; and the River Subdivision between Kansas City and Jefferson City, Mo. River levels continue to be affected by local rainfall, and we anticipate that it may be weeks before the water recedes to a point where crews can complete required maintenance and restore these subdivisions to service.

Operations and engineering personnel are continuing to closely monitor water levels and track conditions across the affected areas. Crews have positioned ballast and other materials at key locations to make any necessary repairs once the water level recedes.

We will continue to reroute all trains around flood-impacted areas. Customers with shipments moving through the affected areas may expect up to 24- to 48-hour delays.

For a current list of embargoes as a result of flooding, please refer to the embargo section of the Union Pacific website. Customers with questions about shipments into and out of embargoed areas should contact the National Customer Center at 1-800-272-8777.

We will continue to post updates on changing conditions on our website.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Flooding Continues to Impact Operations in Kansas and Missouri
Local rain this weekend across Kansas and Missouri has caused water levels to remain high across the area, with flooding conditions continuing to impact operations along the Falls City Subdivision between Atchison and Leavenworth, Kan; and the River Subdivision between Kansas City and Jefferson City, Mo.

Operations and engineering personnel are continuing to closely monitor water levels and track conditions across the affected areas, where more rain is forecasted this week. Crews have positioned ballast and other materials at key locations to make any necessary repairs once the water level recedes.

We will continue to reroute all trains around flood-impacted areas. Customers with shipments moving through the affected areas may expect 24- to 48-hour delays.

The embargo in St. Joseph, Mo. remains in effect for both inbound and outbound shipments. Customers with questions about shipments into and out of the St. Joseph area should contact the National Customer Center at 1-800-272-8777.

We will continue to post updates on changing conditions on our website.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Flooding Impacts Operations in Kansas and Missouri
Increased water levels along the Missouri River east of Kansas City overnight have resulted in approximately two miles of main line track under water between Myrick, and Marshall, Mo. Crews are rerouting trains over the Sedalia Subdivision between Kansas City and Jefferson City, Mo., and other alternate routes.

The Falls City Subdivision remains out of service, with approximately nine miles of track under water between Atchison and Leavenworth, Kan. Crews will continue to reroute all trains moving through this corridor.

Union Pacific has recalled over 300 TE&Y employees and put over 100 additional locomotives into service to create the surge capacity necessary to expedite the rerouting of train traffic around flood-impacted areas. As water levels begin to recede - currently estimated to be as early as next week - engineering crews will assess any damage to track and begin the necessary repairs. Customers with shipments moving through the affected areas should expect 24- to 48-hour delays.

The embargo in St. Joseph, Mo. remains in effect for both inbound and outbound shipments. Customers with questions about shipments into and out of the St. Joseph area should contact the National Customer Center at 1-800-272-8777.

We will continue to post updates on changing conditions on our website.