Celebrating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Rail Industry

A common phrase that is growing in importance amongst organizations is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. But what does that mean? Diversity is the presence of differences that may include race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, language, (dis)ability, age, religious commitment, or political perspective. Equity is promoting justice, impartiality and fairness within the procedures, processes, and distribution of resources by institutions or systems. Inclusion is an outcome to ensure those that are diverse feel welcomed.

DEI in the Rail Industry

Although railroads and organizations involved in the rail shipping industry should seek to develop diversity, equity, and inclusion for the sake of treating their employees well and celebrating them, there are other benefits as well. Inclusive workplaces benefit businesses in terms of productivity and profitability.

Partially this is a result of avoiding costs from the rigors of stress and resulting ill-health associated with employees who need to hide their identity at work and/or experience discrimination. Additionally, customers are likelier to distance themselves and cut off business from organizations who have cases of discrimination made public, whereas a conscious effort to develop inclusive workplaces provides positive marketing for an organization.

So, having robust inclusion strategies in place for making staff feel welcome makes sense from a business perspective as well as an ethical standpoint.

Corporate Equality Index and Rail Shippers

The Corporate Equality Index is a prominent method of highlighting which organizations have positive policies and practices in place to make all employees feel welcome. The Corporate Equality Index includes Sexual Orientation in U.S. Nondiscrimination Policy, Gender Identity in U.S. Nondiscrimination Policy, Domestic Partner Benefits, Transgender-Inclusive Benefits, Organizational LGBTQ Competency, and Public Commitment to the LGBTQ Community. The Corporate Equality Index rates companies on detailed criteria falling under four central pillars:

  • Non-discrimination policies across business entities
  • Equitable benefits for LGBTQ+ workers and their families
  • Supporting an inclusive culture; and,
  • Corporate social responsibility

This year, 842 organizations received a 100 percent score on the Corporate Equality Index and the designation of being a 2022 “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality.” This included the Union Pacific, who scored a 100% rating, the only Class I railroad to do so. “Our 100% score reflects the hard work we’ve undertaken to better align our policies and programs with our railroad’s values,” said Debra Schrampfer, assistant vice president and Chief Diversity Officer. “We broadened our benefit offerings to be more inclusive to LGBTQ+ employees, created an environment of belonging with strategic and sustained programming, empowered our systems with gender-neutral optionality, and promoted learning opportunities for all.”

Other railroads also place importance in diversity, equity, and inclusion of all groups, including LGBTQ+ people. BNSF scored a 90% from the Human Rights Campaign. “Diversity, equality and inclusion are at the core of BNSF’s vision and values,” said BNSF Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Judy Carter in an emailed statement. “We are committed to a culture where every team member has an equal opportunity to achieve their full potential. It is an honor to be recognized by the Human Rights Campaign and to stand with our peers who share the belief that every employee deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.”

Amtrak was another rail industry organization who scored high in the Human Rights Campaign, with a 90% overall. “At Amtrak, doing the right thing is core to our value system,” said Stephen Gardner, President and CEO of Amtrak. “Being recognized by the Human Rights Campaign validates Amtrak’s work to continue building a diverse and inclusive workplace.”

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at RSI Logistics

At RSI Logistics, we place great importance on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Our DE&I team has several members representing the various departments of RSI Logistics, RSI Leasing, and STS Intermodal. Our DE&I team meets to ensure that RSI as an organization is continuously considering the impact of our actions as it relates to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion of our team members. This team has developed a mission statement for RSI Logistics’ DE&I, “RSI Logistics is committed to embracing a welcoming workplace that shares a strong sense of belonging by celebrating the uniqueness of our team”, as well as a Vision statement “Removing the barriers of oppression and discrimination of all types, ensuring RSI Logistics is a welcoming community.”

Bob Tuchek, RSI President, and Kelly Minnehan, Vice President, released a statement, saying that “Amidst the persistent inequalities across our country, RSI is committed to addressing and alleviating racial, ethnic, and other tensions by promoting diversity within our communities. The RSI Companies are honored to employ nearly 200 team members who play a critical role in ensuring the Companies’ overall success. Our commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will be core to our workplace culture which will empower us to reach our full potential, fueling innovation and connecting with our employees, customers, and the communities we serve.”

RSI Logistics is proud to have a team dedicated to the promotion of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion of our team members.