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Third time's a recruitment charm: UP again named one of the '100 Best Companies for Working Mothers'


For the third time in four years, Union Pacific Corp. was named one of the United States' "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" by Working Mother magazine.

"The honor comes at a very important time for us," said Barb Schaefer, UP's senior vice president of human resources, in a prepared statement. "We are in the midst of a very aggressive hiring campaign, and this recognition supports our work to offer benefits that help us recruit and retain the best employees."

UP plans to hire more than 6,500 employees by year's end, and H.R. officials are "making every effort to create an environment that will attract and keep women," according to a UP statement.

"Work/life benefits at the '100 Best Companies' have evolved beyond working mothers' essential needs — like maternity leave and phase-back for new moms — and now include programs that read almost like a spa brochure," said Working Mother Editor-in-Chief Susan Lapinski.

At UP, benefits for working parents include:

* An integrated health and wellness initiative that stresses healthy lifestyles. UP employees are urged to take responsibility for their health and can take part in company-sponsored smoking cessation programs, weight management programs and fitness programs.

* Rest Easy, which pays half the cost of a nurse to go to an employee's home if a child is sick.

* LifeCare Services, a 24/7 referral service to help parents find programs for children of all ages.

* A 19,000-square-foot state-of-the-art fitness facility within the railroad's new headquarters in downtown Omaha, Neb., which offers free membership for employees, spouses, retirees and contractors. For employees outside of Omaha, UP sponsors free membership at more than 500 facilities throughout its 23-state system.

* A 20,000-square-foot child-care center under construction near the railroad's new headquarters. Scheduled to open in 2005, the center will accommodate more than 200 children between the ages of six weeks to six years.

* Part-time work (with benefits), flextime, job sharing and telecommuting.