Counseling the Counselors

Union Pacific Peer Support Volunteers Receive Annual Training

Omaha, Neb., March 28, 2007 – Whether helping a fellow employee involved in a tragic accident or a co-worker experiencing a personal crisis, Union Pacific Peer Support volunteers are standing by around the clock to help railroad employees cope with traumatic incidents. More than 500 Peer Support volunteers across UP’s operating system undergo special training and draw from their own experiences to counsel fellow employees. In addition, their training is enhanced each year with educational workshops.

"Peer Support is an important part of Union Pacific’s emphasis on safety and overall health and well being," said Mark Jones, Ph.D., director – employee assistance services. "We want to ensure our Peer Support employee volunteers have all the tools they need to help their co-workers."

This year, the volunteers will attend workshops that will hone their counseling skills in the areas of stress management and post-traumatic stress disorder. They will also receive advanced training in substance abuse recognition and intervention techniques to get those with a problem to accept treatment.

Workshop instructors included Robert Ursano, M.D. – professor of psychiatry and director, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Md., and Rick Thomas from the Red Road Program, an alternative alcohol recovery program.

Union Pacific’s Peer Support program was started in 1976. It provides volunteers with the tools they need to help fellow employees facing a variety of issues, including depression or anxiety, marital or family problems, alcohol or substance abuse, stress, psychological problems, work-related concerns, financial concerns or trauma.

Volunteers focus on helping co-workers understand their feelings, and work through and resolve their reactions. Peer Support volunteers may also work on the Operation RedBlock program, the rail industry’s alcohol and drug abuse intervention program that is led by employees and supported by both labor and management.

About Union Pacific

Union Pacific Corporation owns one of America’s leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country and serves the fastest-growing U.S. population centers. Union Pacific’s diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad offers competitive long-haul routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways. Union Pacific connects with Canada’s rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major gateways to Mexico, making it North America’s premier rail franchise.

For further information, contact Mark Davis at (402) 544-5459.

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