Union Pacific reduces train dispatcher ranks by more than 10%

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OMAHA, Neb. – Union Pacific has cut more than 60 dispatching positions at its Harriman Dispatching Center in Omaha and its joint dispatching office in Spring, Texas, this week.

The affected dispatchers, who are management employees, were notified on Thursday and Friday that their jobs were being eliminated, according to a person familiar with the job reductions.

The dispatchers were told their jobs were being eliminated due to lower volumes related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the installation of upgraded computer-aided dispatching software, and the implementation of positive train control.

UP employs about 500 dispatchers in Omaha, where the Harriman Dispatching Center controls nearly all of the railroad’s 32,000 miles of track.

The railroad also operates joint dispatching centers in Spring; San Bernardino, Calif.; Chicago; and Kansas City. Four positions were eliminated at Spring, near Houston. It was not immediately clear if dispatcher jobs were cut at the other locations.

To make up for the smaller workforce, some dispatcher territories have been expanded.

UP confirmed operating department job losses but did not provide details.

“Union Pacific has notified operating department employees of a workforce reduction. While we do not provide data regarding the number of impacted employees at specific locations, I can confirm the reduction impacts both management and unionized employees across our 23-state system,” spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza says. “This is part of Union Pacific’s continuous efforts to streamline operations, while aligning our service product and resources to drive efficiency. These are difficult decisions; however, we remain committed to providing our customers safe, efficient and reliable service that ensures Union Pacific remains a strong and competitive company.”
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