Rule 2.21

I received this email from the Portland Service Unit. 

Good Afternoon Team,

Today we received the new SSI that will go into effect on May 2, 2016. In looking at the changes I found one that will impact us and our past practices.  Please review Rule 2.21 Electronic devises.  The major parts that you need to know about the change are as follows.  

Personal Electronic devices must be powered off with any ear piece removed from the ear, and properly stowed whileON DUTY.

After conducting a safety briefing with all crew members and agree the limited use of the device is safe to do so.  Cell phone can only be use for voice communication (no texting, social media, etc )

An operating employee may use an electronic device when:

1.        Deadheading in a non controlling unit or automobile.

2.        In a crew room to update rules or other documents specified in SSI Item 7-A or other required company provided electronic media only.

We used to be able to use a cell phone while on duty in a crew room.  The way the rules department has outlined rule 2.21 this will no longer be allowed.  When coming on duty your device must be stowed away and turned off.   We are communicating this change in an effort to spread the word as quickly as possible.  Should there be any updates or changes to this rule again in the coming weeks I will be sure to get them to you as well.  The service unit will be conducting a communication stand down in the coming weeks to help bring attention to this change as well.


I have talked to the head of rules in Omaha and this is the position that is being taken.  While in the crew room your are not allowed to text, play games, be on social media, surf the web, etc.  The second bullet on the email is the only time the cellphone can be utilized to the internet.  This can only happen after there is a job briefing with all crew members.  This rule is considered a critical rule and a violation will result in MAPS. 

Vacation Settlement Award

After waiting almost a year, we finally have the Vacation Settlement Award.  You can no longer be punished for extending your vacation 48 hour pursuant to the agreement.

Weed was so pissed he wouldn't even sign the award, oh well.  It only take 2 signatures to make it a binding award and we have those.


File attachments: 
Attachment Size
PDF icon Vacation Settlement Award Arbitrator Kohn.pdf 6.95 MB

Training and Education

Brothers and Sisters,

We made a commitment at the GCA meeting to train our representatives.  I need any newly elected Local Chairman or Vice Local Chairman to sign up for the classes that will be held in Cleveland.  The GCA will pay delegate days, expensenes and travel to attend these meetings.  

It is very important that we get this training done so we will have the best representatives on the UP.

We are also training the S/T officers, we got a lot of those done in December but we still need to send a few.

We have a lot of younger Members getting interested in the Union, I love that.  If we stick together we can make some real changes.  

I am asking each of you to attend your Union meetings if you are in town and make your voices heard, if we don't know what the problem is we can't try to fix it, we may not always be successful but you can believe we will give it our best try.  

Only the Members can make the Union stronger, please take time to attend your meetings.

Ronnie Rhodes

Pre-approved PL LV Days

Brothers and Sisters,


We have extended the Pre-approved PL and LV day pilot to all of our Committee.



File attachments: 

MAPS letter to UP and the Carrier's response.

Brothers and Sisters,

Below you will find our letter objecting to MAPS sent by our Legal Counsel and the Carrier's response to the letter.  May have another fight on the horizon. 

Ronnie Rhodes

File attachments: 

Medical Questionnaire

Brothers and Sisters,

 These documents will be mailed to you in a few weeks, they are strictly voluntary.  My suggestions to you is not to share any health issues with the UP, there is a good chance you will be pulled out of service never to return to work.

Just say no.


File attachments: 

Restricted Medications

As part of ongoing efforts to promote safety through Fitness-for-Duty, the following initiatives will be announced in November to covered agreement employees.   Your members who are affected by these requirements are in the Operating field (which includes Transportation, Mechanical, Engineering and Intermodal), Supply field and Telecom departments.  


  • Restricted Prescription Drugs - Work restrictions are currently applied to ensure employees working in safety related jobs are not impaired by prescription drugs that pose safety risks for themselves or others.  These individuals are not allowed to work while using a prescription drug of concern. In response to requests from supervisors, employees and union leadership to be more transparent, Health & Medical Services is publishing a list of restricted prescription drugs.  As always, employees should report ready to safely perform their job.

The drugs listed are restricted due to documented significant impairment that lasts for a prolonged period.  Employees must take the time to discuss their prescription drugs with their personal physician and begin to transition safely from any restricted prescribed drug to a safer alternative medication.  Employees should also be aware that updates to UP’s list are made as needed.  Drug categories of concern include: Opioids, Benzodiazepines, Barbiturates, Muscle Relaxants, Hypnotics, and Varenicline.  

At this time, employees are not required to report use of these restricted prescription drugs, but that may change with any future Medical Rules update. Specific information about restrictions for each drug category is available by clicking on the link below.


Opioid and Synthetic Opioid Drugs
Opioid and synthetic opioid drugs are typically used to treat moderate to severe pain.  All drugs in this class are restricted except as noted. 


Generic Name               BRAND EXAMPLES
Buprenorphine Buprenex, Butrans, Suboxone, Subutex
Butorphanol Stadol
Fentanyl Abstral, Actiq, Fentora, Duragesic, Lazanda, Onsolis, Sublimaze
Hydrocodone (extended release) Hysingla ER, Roxicodone, OxyIR, Zohydro ER
  Hydromorphone   Dilaudid, Palladone
  Meperidine   Demerol
  Methadone   Dolophine, Methadose
  Morphine   Astramorph, Avinza, Duramorph Infumorph, Kadian, MS Contin, MSIR, Oramorph, Roxanol
  Nalbuphine   Nubain
  Oxycodone (extended release)   OxyContin, Dazidox, Oxecta, Oxyfast, OxyIR, Percolone, Roxicodone, Roxicodone Intensol, Targiniq
  Oxymorphone   Opana
  Pentazocine   Talwin NX
  Tapentadol   Nucynta
  Tramadol   ConZip, Rybix, Ryzolt, Ultram

EXCEPTIONS: SHORT ACTING OPIODS (cannot work until after 12 hours of the last dose)

Generic Name               BRAND EXAMPLES
Codeine (short acting)  Tylenol with codeine no. 3, Empirin no. 4
Dihydrocodeine (short acting) Panlor DC, Synalgos DC, Zerlor
Hydrocodone (short acting) Vicodin, Hysingla, Zohydro
Oxycodone (short acting) Combunox, Endocet, Endodan, Endocodone, Percocet, Percodan, Roxicet, Roxiprin, Tylox

Benzodiazepine Drugs 
Benzodiazepines are typically used as sedatives, to treat anxiety, as muscle relaxants, and for other purposes.  All drugs in this class are restricted.

Generic Name               BRAND EXAMPLES
Alprazolam Xanax
Clonazepam Klonopin
Clorazepate Tranxene
Diazepam Valium
  Lorazepam   Ativan
  Midazolam   Versed
  Oxazepam   Serax
  Temazepam   Restoril
  Triazolam   Halcion

Barbiturate Drugs 
Barbiturates are typically used as sedatives, in combination with other drugs for headaches and for a variety of other uses.  All drugs in this class are restricted.

Generic Name               BRAND EXAMPLES
Amobarbital Generic versions
Butabarbital Generic versions
Butalbital Esgic, Fioricet, Fiorinal, Phrenilin
Pentobarbital Nembutal
  Phenobarbital   Generic versions
  Secobarbital   Seconal

Muscle Relaxant Drugs 
Muscle relaxant drugs are typically used to treat muscle spasms, often for persons who have back or neck pain symptoms.  The muscle relaxant drug of concern, is Carisoprodol (brand name Soma).  This drug is restricted.

Hypnotic Drugs 
Hypnotic drugs are typically used as sleep aids. The hypnotic drugs of concern are Eszopiclone (brand name Lunesta)and Zolpidem Tartrate extended release (brand name Ambien CR).  These two drugs are restricted.

Varenicline (brand name Chantix)is typically used to treat nicotine addiction, as an aid in smoking cessation.  This drug is restricted.


1.        When will more information be available?  A webpage dedicated to restricted medications will be available in November.  Employees will receive communication via UPOnline articles, ITV, and various other ways as needed.  


2.        What should employees discuss with their doctors?  Employees should discuss the following with their doctor:

·        Their safety related job duties

·        UP’s list of restricted prescription drugs

·        Safer alternative drugs

·        A plan to discontinue restricted drugs (if applicable)


3.        Are there less impairing alternative drugs that UP does not restrict  for covered employees?  Yes, for each category of restricted drugs there are safer alternative drugs, which UP does not restrict.  Employees should discuss other alternatives with their doctors.   Employees can email [email protected]if they have questions about whether a specific prescription drug is restricted or not.


4.        What should I tell an employee who believes he or she may be on a restricted prescription drugs?  Employees should take the following steps now:

·        Take UP's list of restricted drugs to their doctor

·        Only change the use of prescription drugs under the direction of their doctor

·        If the doctor confirms the employee is using a restricted prescription drug, the employee and  doctor should discuss a plan to discontinue the restricted drug

·        Employees with questions after discussing prescription medications with their doctor, may contact Fitness-for-Duty at[email protected] or call the HR Service Center at 1-877-275-8747, Option 4.


5.    How does this align with the company’s emphasis on safety? Safety is a core value at UP and a responsibility for all employees.  The purpose of the restricted prescription drug list is to ensure covered workers are not impaired by medications at work, which may pose significant safety risks for the worker and others.

  • Color Vision Field Test Standardization - The color vision field test may be administered to train crew and other employees who do not pass the first level color vision Ishihara test.  To ensure consistency, enhancements to the field test have been made, and include: standardized process for conducting field tests, coordination by an Occupational Health Nurse, utilization of the same equipment, and employees may still request union representation.
  • Compliance Requirements for Medical Monitoring - Employees with certain serious health conditions will be required to periodically provide medical information to Union Pacific Health & Medical Services by a specific date for a medical review to determine the employee’s ability to continue working safely.  Medical monitoring will mainly be done for chronic medical conditions such as cardiovascular disorders, diabetes treated with insulin, severe sleep apnea and vision related conditions.

    As part of this process, the employees will receive three written reminders (60, 30 and 15 days) prior to the date the medical information is due.  If a response is not received from the employee following the first notice, then the supervisors will also be notified at the time of the employee’s second notice (30 days before deadline).  If the employee does not respond by the due date, then the employee will be removed from service until the requested medical information is received and a Fitness-for-Duty review is completed.  

Employees with questions after discussing prescription medications with their doctor may contact Fitness-for-Duty at FF[email protected] or call the HR Service Center at 1-877-275-8747, Option 4.


Thank you!

Greg Workman
Vice President-Safety & Chief Safety Officer
Union Pacific Railroad

Restricted Drugs

I got this list yesterday, if you are taking these any of these prescriptions, the UP wants you to go to your Doctor and ask for alternative medications.  These are legal medications that your MD might have you taking.  They did not say they when or if they were going to start testing for these legal medications.


I wasn't supposed to put out this list, UP says they will be putting something out soon.  I just wanted to give everyone a heads up.



File attachments: 
PDF icon Restricted Drugs 10072015_0000.pdf2.73 MB

MAPS, New discipline policy

File attachments: 
PDF icon MAPS263.33 KB



BLET President Pierce challenges railroads on fatigue, attendance policies

Locomotive engineer fatigue remains a major safety issue in the railroad industry, and BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce challenged the CEOs of North America’s six largest freight railroads to work with the BLET to help alleviate the issue. A less punitive approach to employee relations would go a long way toward making the industry safer, President Pierce said.

In a letter dated September 22, 2015, Pierce wrote: “This is to alert you to a significant problem facing … locomotive engineers who are being forced by threat of an attendance policy violation to work when fatigued, even though such safety-critical locomotive engineers honesty believe that working in such circumstances would jeopardize safety.”

Countless National Transportation Safety Board accident reports show that fatigued operating employees pose a significant safety risk for every railroad, and that “fatigue induced performance degradation” all too often contributes to or directly causes accidents. Fatigue can seriously degrade task performance, leading to longer reaction times, memory problems, poor decision-making, workload shedding, and inefficient information processing.

Pierce said a main cause of fatigue is variable work schedules, which result in unpredictable and inconsistent patterns of awake and sleep time for engineers. However, the situation is made much worse when railroads routinely fail to provide accurate train lineups.

“Due to the unpredictable nature of their assignments, compounded by glaring deficiencies in the railroad’s train lineups as compared to actual call times, these engineers are more frequently subjected to situations where they are not adequately rested through no fault of their own, despite their being in compliance with carrier calling rules,” Pierce wrote.

Punitive carrier attendance policies only make the situation worse by threatening employees with discipline for attempting to avoid hazardous conditions by laying off due to fatigue. Under current attendance policy rules, engine and train service employees could be suspended from work or even fired for laying off due to fatigue.

“Indeed, there can be no question that even the mere threat of a Carrier policy violation in these circumstance is itself an unfavorable personnel action and/or a denial of a safe place to work that not only is dangerous but may constitute a violation of federal law,” Pierce wrote.

The Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) was enacted to promote safe rail operations, and it protects employees who refuse to work in unsafe conditions and who report such conditions to their management supervisors. “Therefore, enforcement of Carrier rules and policies violates the FRSA if it denies employees a safe place to work,” Pierce wrote.

Pierce suggested the carriers include provisions in their attendance policies that allow engineers to lay off when fatigued, exhausted, overworked or otherwise unable to perform safety-critical duties.

“I strongly urge you to instruct your managers to allow locomotive engineers who find themselves fatigued to lay off due to that fatigue without fear of disciplinary retaliation,” Pierce wrote. “It is clear that if forced to work when fatigued by no fault of their own, they will be jeopardizing their own safety as well as the safe operation of the trains to which they are assigned, which in turn directly endangers the safety of the general public and their co-workers.”

Pierce told the involved CEO’s, “I am sure that you share my interest in seeing that unsafe activities that could result in needless accidents and injuries be avoided. I trust you will investigate this situation and take appropriate action so that the interests of the company, its employees, and the general public are protected against the threat that fatigue brings to safe railroad operations.”

A copy of one of the letters is available here: