I am a Conductor and Engineer for Union Pacific Railroad based in Spokane, Washington and a member of United Transportation Union Local 1505. I also
am the local’s legislative rep.
I have worked as a conductor for the railroad for eight years and as an engineer for two years. As a conductor I am responsible for all of the operations of the train. I set cars out, pick cars up, perform line switches, fill out all of the paperwork and verify that all of the hazardous materials are properly placed on the train. I am responsible for all operations of the train.
As an engineer I drive the train. Delivering anything from grain and coal to televisions and automobiles to any of Union Pacific’s 23 states across the western two-thirds of the United States.
I am on call 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
I get a call from the company two hours before I am to report to work, any time day or night. Once I report to work I will travel from my home terminal to my away terminal which can be anywhere from a six-hour to a twelve-hour workday. At the away terminal, the company puts me up in a railroad hotel, one of many around the country, until I am called to report to work and travel back to my home terminal.
The union plays an important role in my job at the railroad. They are there if someone gets in trouble and, more importantly, the UTU helps to ensure that safety is the number one priority. They really are the backbone of the railroad.