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Union Pacific to require employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations

By | October 15, 2021

Railroad cites status as federal contractor in enacting requirement

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Union Pacific logo with Building America slogan

Union Pacific logo with Building America sloganOMAHA, Neb. — Union Pacific will require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccination by Dec. 8, the railroad has announced.

In a brief notification on its website, the railroad says it is taking the action to comply with an executive order requiring vaccination for employees of federal contractors, noting UP’s status “as a federal contractor who ships goods supporting our nation’s armed services.”

Employees will be required to report their vaccination status or have an “approved medical or religious accommodation” by the deadline.

WOWT-TV reports the railroad is offering a vacation incentive to managers, while union employees will be offered incentive pay.

The railroad has about 31,000 employees but has no current information on vaccination rates among its workers.

19 thoughts on “Union Pacific to require employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations

  1. The longer this goes on, the more we are seeing resistance to the vaccine. It’s not all crackpot. Some people have somewhat plausible, somewhat rational reasons to doubt the vaccine’s safety and/or effectiveness. Regardless of whether or not we agree with these doubts, we are seeing the economy shutting down as thousands of men and women leave their jobs rather than submit to what they see as unjustified coercion.

    As for religious exemption, in the United States one’s religion is whatever he or she says it is. One’s religious beliefs are whatever they articulate. America doesn’t have a list of approved, licensed religions. Therefore anyone can claim a religious exemption. Even people who belong to the pro – vaccine Roman Catholic Church can claim an individual religious belief against the vaccine, in the same way that some Catholics deviate from the policy of male-only clergy.

    The bottom line is that vaccine mandates are unworkable and will need to be quietly phased out.

    1. I’ll stay on the side of science before ones belief in one of 3,000 religions in the World. A good chunk of America got their vaccines when they were children and our parents didn’t rant, rave and protest about them. Science proves mask wearing and vaccines work, 98% of the people in hospitals didn’t have the vaccine. The tired argument that it’s too new is BS, a new flu vaccine is produced every year based on what is going to be prominent in a coming year. It’s not just in America either this is world wide. Virus’ don’t care what political party or beliefs you have, it’s an equal opportunity killer. You’re correct in saying “The longer this goes on…” and it will as long as some keep there heads in the sand.

      1. Well then Mark you need to try to speak to the anti-vaxxers. You will never convince them.

        Furthermore there is resistance to the booster shots. Even my doctor is hesitant as to the booster. He and I has this discussion this week. Neither one of us wants to go back for a third shot, in all of six months (in my case) or maybe nine months (in his case). Seems pointless. If corporations require a third shot (or a fifth, or a ninth, or a twentieth) then no one will work for them.

        I totally disagree with you on masks. To me they are useless. As for your statistic that 98% of hospitalized cases are un-vaccinated, I’m not sure that’s correct.

        1. It is my experience that the adherents of science, as a religion, are much more fanatical in the deification of their “god” than all but the most zealous followers of traditional religions. The examples of when “the science” has been proven wrong in the past are legion and will assuredly again be in the future, including the current conventional wisdom. For example, doing simple research reveals that the efficacy of masks and the 98% hospitalization rate have already been throughly debunked by (gasp! wait for it) scientists!

  2. Kind of premature since the president still hasn’t even issued an executive order yet. I have also heard an OSHA expert explain how OSHA doesn’t have the legal authority or the manpower to enforce an executive order if and when it is eventually issued.

  3. Yeah, long overdue. Time to battle this virus and be done with it. Those that don’t believe in vaccines can be left at the sidelines and someone else will take your job.

  4. All mandates need to be negotiated with the unions,if this is to be a condition of employment. Same as any other change in working conditions.

    BTW Mark,who will take the jobs ? Look at how short the logistics business is of workers right now.

    We are begging for more problems with these mandates.

  5. Yes, Thomas are right. We are begging for more problems with these mandates.
    These mandates are divisive because of failed leadership.
    Dwight Eisenhower used a string to demonstrate leadership. He pulled the string and said, “this IS leadership.” He pushed the string and it crumbled and said, “This is NOT leadership.”
    Jim Uttley

  6. About what I’d expect from Union Pacific these days. I hope there will eventually be huge payouts to those unconstitutionally affected by such mandates. All of the hullabaloo about so-called science and vax effectiveness is so much a function of who is making money off of the scare. “It is easier to fool people than it is to convince them that they have been fooled”. Mark Twain.

  7. Sad day for Union Pacific, this is unconstitutionally wrong. How many shots do you need, what politician does Union Pacific fill their pockets? That’s what it looks like, another lie from this president and all the other lies for last 47 years and up till now, crisis after crisis so sad, what has happen to all the other diseases, before covid-19 and now? Again how many shots do you need and how many times a year or years do you need to take a booster or boosters? This is the government telling you what to do and controlling your freedom. Let your doctor be your counselor. Whats this abortion gig telling about this is my body and I choose what is best for me and the baby, so ridiculous, this does not apply here? WOW!

  8. Wow!

    @Charles Masks don’t work!? So when you have surgery next, it will be okay if the surgeon, nurses and anesthesiologist do not wear masks. Heck why should they wash their hands? Seriously, I appreciate your thoughtful skeptical comments on a variety of issues, but some of those here just do not make sense.

    For all those who say mandates, do not work. Look at the evidence, in company after company and population after population, mandates have driven up vaccination rates significantly as resisters/doubters but not deniers have gotten their shots. Mandates change the benefit/harm ratio. You all are correct that those who apply mandates need to think about the “side-effects” or untoward consequences of applying them– that some employees will leave instead of getting the shots. Thus mandates must be applied gradually and humanely. I say this as a Preventive Medicine Health professional who was hospitalized as the NY state mandate for health care works was being imposed. The stress on health care workers remaining clearly increased and wait times prior to my hospitalization to get through on the phone increased, even though ultimately far fewer people left their positions then expected

    1. JACOB — I don’t know that mandates have driven up vaccine rates. The resistance to the vaccine mandates is forming into a stone wall. In health care facilities, typically, all the doctors (of course) and most of the nurses are vaccinated but in the other trades the numbers just aren’t there.

      I see more and more resistance to vaccines. Many people think the vaccine is ineffective, some see it as dangerous to their health, and others claim natural immunity superior to the vaccine. JACOB – you and I can disagree with these people, we can call them nut cases — but they aren’t going away. Depending on the social/ economic cohort, many cohorts are stuck at around 50% to 60%.

  9. Most people forget that those shots you got as a child for “public health” in school had a waiver program too. I remember we used to get a handout back in the 1960’s announcing vaccinations and we had to have a parent sign and send it back if they objected.

    They didn’t have to have a reason, (religion, freedom, medical) they just signed it and said no. No questions asked.

    However, the next fall when school started, you had to bring a vaccination chart from your doctor.

  10. so the U P has now joined the communist states of America. idiots, of course they also continue to get rid of customers and think its ok.

  11. So those who refuse the vaccine will either catch the Covid and take up space in the hospitals and “get religion” or die. Leaving more shortages of employees. Or catch Covid and become asymptomatic spreaders. Meanwhile, the hospitals fill up with them and prevent the typical hospital patients from getting care. I will be getting my booster Wednesday gratefully that it is available. There seems to be an industry of misinformation stoking the fires of resistance to the vaccine. Wish I knew why. Do all of the resisters not wear seatbelts? Is it their right to drink and drive?

  12. So much slanted ‘knowledge’ here, I don’t know where to start. Let’s start with the obvious – the new ‘vaccines’ { they’re not true vaccines } are the key element to the single largest mass medical experiment ever conducted on the world’s population. The mRNA technology is new & side effects are yet to be exposed or proven. THIS is the reason for the hesitancy. The J&J vaccine is the more traditional vaccine of the bunch { non-mRNA }, but is marred by some nasty side effects such as blood clotting & even death. Simply put, there isn’t any time proven option out there & opposition to these vaccines should be expected & the vitriol being displayed here toward the unvaccinated needs to be squelched. You’re free to your beliefs & I should be free to mine { Remember the ‘my body, my choice’ narrative? }. The mass media will have one believing that because I’m unvaccinated, I’m the problem. That’s completely false, as I’m COVID free & not spreading anything to anyone. If I catch the COVID, so be it. It has an over 99% recovery rate. Contrary to what the TV is telling us, the odds of me { or just about all of us } dying is miniscule. I’ll recuperate & quarantine. Knowing this, why is everyone { the media & our government } in a panic? Because they care about us? Doubtful. Cigarette related deaths are around 5,000 a day! Where’s the panic? Where’s the concern? Strangely, there isn’t any. Why? They don’t care about us, that’s why. They want this ‘vaccine’ in us in the worst way, hence the non-stop barrage of bad news & scare tactics. Why? The President has successfully { his one & only success so far } gotten corporate America to do his dirty work for him & require their employees to vaccinate. Shame on the Union Pacific for caving under absolutely zero pressure { Remember – this wasn’t a mandate, as Congress never voted on it & it wasn’t an Executive Order either, it was simply a ‘suggestion’ that the media keeps calling a mandate }. It’s purely a political move designed to distance the President from the fallout { Let’s not forget that when these vaccines were being developed, they were being done so under the prior administration & members of the current administration boldly proclaimed that they wouldn’t trust it! Why the sudden change of heart? }. The reasons for the hesitancy are many. Many of my commenting friends here have consumed the Kool-Aid & come back for seconds. Step out of the box & try to see things without your rose colored glasses on….or in other words….try to see our government for what it is not….& that is our friend. Our government was never intended to be our nanny or our doctor, but unfortunately we’ve allowed this to happen & we’ll be hard pressed to ever get back to where we were. Remember, they promised only a little over a short year ago that all they needed was a quick, two week shutdown to ‘flatten the curve’ & now we’re looking at mandatory injections! What next? It won’t matter. You’ll line up & take it…..or else. That’s the “why?” I asked about earlier. This is all mere conditioning for something else that’s coming down the road….just around the corner. Remember….all they wanted was two weeks…..two little weeks….

  13. Remember in “Wayne’s World” when Garth did a soliloquy asking why the TV network wanted to buy their show for $5,000?

    You have to ask the right questions.

    Why are nurses willing to lose their jobs in large numbers to avoid this vaccine? What do they know?

    Do you notice most of you are jumping on a bandwagon without having applied critical thought? There is a lot of sane, reasoned information out there that counters the “official” narrative. Railfans are supposed to be smarter than that.

    We already live in an environment where free speech has been stifled. I’m nervous to even leave this comment.

    If the NTSB operated like that, we’d already be sure the Empire Builder has picked a switch at excessive speed and derailed. Vaccines are normally trialed for several years before being distributed.

  14. @Mark Kaspar

    1) The mRNA technology for vaccines is not brand new, though these are the first vaccines to use them. They have been working on the technology since the SARs outbreak in 2003 I believe. There is no plausible scientific explanation/mechanism to expect new complications from such technology No occur years after receiving the vaccine. I believe all the adverse side effects have plausible scientific explanations and serious adverse effects are extremely rare and much less than if you catch.

    2) Hardly a worldwide experiment after 100s of millions have received the vaccine

    3) No concern about smoking deaths and lack of adequate quit resources/counseling Huh? Lets name just a few organizations that have been raising the alarm for YEARS– American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American College of Preventive Medicine, American Academy of Family Physicians

    4) Getting a vaccine does not just effect the individual making the choice. See J Robert Wayman’s response. Also the more number of unvaccinated people the more opportunity COVID has to replicate, mutate and thus evolve into new variants. Granted the risk from this is likely much, much greater due to the fact that developing countries primarily in the Southern Hemisphere have not had access to vaccine then from delayers or outright refusers in the developed world. But every additional infected person adds to this risk.

  15. Lately I’ve noticed a lot of Hippocrates who have gotten the COVID vaccine and then spread crap about how it isn’t effective. Sad to see this has made it to the Trains News Wire.

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