On March 30, 2009, Goldman Sachs downgraded UNP from "buy" to "neutral" as it moved competitor Burlington Northern Santa Fe up from "neutral" to "buy;" Goldman believes that BNI has overthrown UNP from the best railroad throne. In Quarter 1 2009, UNP had the worst volume declines in the industry; this goes to show that Burlington Northern has been capturing market share from UNP. Lost pieces of the market share pie is a double whammy in an economic environment where the entire pie may be shrinking.
UNP is vulnerable to strikes or work slowdowns from the 86% of unionized employees in the company. Since the company laid off thousands of employees in 2008 and has made clear that more may be on the way in 2009, employee relations could get ugly.