by Jim Vena, Chief Operating Officer
March 18, 2020
Jim Vena – Chief Operating Officer
During all times of crises in American history, railroads played a critical part in protecting and caring for our country. During American wars, we moved soldiers, equipment and artillery. During natural disasters, we brought in relief supplies and maintained our essential transportation supply chain. The nation depended on us, and we delivered.
We find ourselves in one of these critical moments at this time. While many aspects of the country are able to pause, we need to continue delivering the materials that power hospitals, stock grocery shelves, purify water, make medicine and feed livestock.
Our railroad is essential during this national emergency, and your roles are essential as well. We have worked with the federal government and obtained the authority for you to continue coming to work and doing the job America is relying on you to do.
Many local communities and state governments are ordering residents to stay home unless an outing is absolutely necessary. We experienced this declaration in the San Francisco Bay area this week. However, railroad operations have long been considered critical infrastructure and play a vital role in joint industry-government emergency response and recovery efforts. As you maintain safe and efficient train operations – supporting community relief, interstate commerce and sustained supply chains – your job is absolutely necessary.
Attached is a letter that outlines legal authorization from UP. You should print and have it with you as you commute to work and job sites. This should be shown, along with your railroad photo ID, to any law enforcement or emergency management officials to gain access to your required location.
I fully know this is a time of grave concern and worry. I am praying this virus departs quickly, as I know you are as well. I have faith our authorities are doing all they can and know your job is making a difference in keeping our country running and helping our communities and neighbors have access to vital supplies.
Be sure to stay informed of UP’s COVID-19 policies and guidelines as they evolve. Information will continue to be available through the portal and UPOnline, as well as the COVID-19 website.