Friday, February 10, 2017

2017 Central Massachusetts AFL-CIO Scholarship

The SHARE office recently received the following notice in the mail from Joe Carlson, the President of the Central Massachusetts AFL/CIO, about an annual scholarship opportunity. The lottery for these scholarships will be open to any SHARE members, as well as children and grandchildren of our members, who will graduate from high school this year and attend college next year. The details are posted below.

If you apply as a SHARE Hospital member, you'll need to include the following information:
  • LOCAL UNION NO: 3900

Please note that applications should NOT be sent to the SHARE office. If you would like a copy of the nomination form, please click here.


To: All Affiliated Locals of the Central Mass AFL/CIO,

We are pleased to announce that we will be awarding six $1,000.00 scholarships as well as a number of  $500 Platinum sponsored scholarships.

The scholarship recipients will be drawn by lottery at the May community services committee meeting and the winners will be announced at the Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament on Friday, June 2, 2017.

The scholarships will be presented at the Labor Day breakfast September 4, 2017

To be eligible, the student must be a 2016 graduating high school senior and going on to college, and a child, grandchild, or member whose local is affiliated with the Central Ma. AFL/CIO. Union members must live or work in the jurisdiction of the Central Ma. AFL/CIO.

All names must be submitted by April 28, 2017 and returned to:

Paul Soucy
AFL/CIO Labor Community Services
Central Ma. AFL-CIO
400 Washington St
Auburn, Ma. 01501

Fraternally Yours,
Joseph P. Carlson, President
Central Massachusetts AFL/CIO

PCA STAFFING: New Guidelines, New SHARE Committee

Acute Care PCA’s made clear that expectations of them have been too heavy to provide the best patient care, and we’ve heard that. In our most recent Contract Negotiations with management, we developed new guidelines which are intended to help.

Changes will begin to roll out over the course of the coming year.  A PCA Staffing Committee--made up of SHARE PCA’s, Nursing Leadership, and SHARE Leadership--has begun meeting to oversee the process. They will also develop better standards for PCA orientation, patient-centered care, etc.  

In the new model of care, the responsibility for and management of each patient’s needs will ultimately rest on a nurse.  PCA’s will continue provide hands-on care for patients, working collaboratively under the direction of the RN. The new contract explains that the PCA will typically assist the RN with workloads based on one of the following two guidelines:

  1. Specific tasks that are assigned for multiple patients such as vital signs, blood sugars, weights, meal preparation, or ambulation


  1. Single patients with multiple care needs such as personal care and activities of daily living. In this guideline, the PCA will assist the RN(s) with up to 6 - 8 patients for the day and evening shifts and up to 8 - 10 patients on nights.

This is a major shift, and we’ll be working to roll it out steadily, a couple of floors at a time. The full text of the new guidelines will be published in the new SHARE contract. (And you can read them online now, on page 18 of the SHARE/UMass Memorial Contract Agreement.)

We heard that you want to give good quality care, and you don’t always feel that you are able to do as well as you want to. We want this new process to provide thoughtful revision of the caregiving practice, with lots of opportunity for PCA’s to provide input and participate in the design. The PCA Staffing Committee will guide the process and adjust as other opportunities for improvement are found. We’re looking forward to involving everyone to develop better teamwork, and a spirit of working together.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Notes from the First UMMHC/UMMS Listening Session on Immigration

Notes from the First UMMHC/UMMS Listening Session on Immigration

Addressing the audience at Friday’s “Listening Session on the Executive Order on Immigration,” UMMS Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Inclusion, Deborah Plummer, worked to provide reassurances, pointing out that our institutions are firmly committed to supporting our international students and colleagues.

The overfull auditorium hosted an informal question and answer session relating to the recent Executive Order which prohibits entry into the US by people from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen. If you missed this one, the entire UMMS community is invited to attend the next

Listening Session on the Executive Order on Immigration
Tuesday, February 7, 12:00-1:00pm
In the Auditorium, 333 South Street, Shrewsbury Campus

Additionally, to address the great many specific legal questions, the Immigration Services Office and the UMass General Counsel’s office is hosting an

Immigration Law Discussion
Thursday, February 9th at 11:30am
In the UMMS Amphitheater in S2-102

Vanessa Paulman, UMMS Director of Immigration Services, highlighted that, at the heart of the University’s commitment, the UMass university system has signed on to the lawsuit brought by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, which directly challenges the legality of the Executive Order.

In this First Listening Session, there were more questions than answers, including:

  • How to best care for those refugee patients who are frightened, for legal reasons, about identifying themselves, and might be foregoing important medical care
  • What to do if you or someone you know about is being treated differently in the workplace as a result of their nationality
  • How to help friends and family who are seeking entry to the US
  • How to keep updated about the evolving legal issues involved

The facilitators promised that both institutions would ramp up communication and provide useful information to members of our community. Some things are already clear. Although permanent residents of the US who were born in one of the above-listed countries are no longer banned from entry, the facilitators still discouraged them from international travel.

Like so many in the room, SHARE leaders are still working to make sense of the legal changes and the effect on our members and our patients. We know that the Executive Order has created anxiety and unease among our members, all of whom work here legally, in service of the missions of our employers.

If you have particular concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact the SHARE office. We will be happy to help you find any support and answers that you need. Additionally, we recommend contacting UMMS’ Immigration Services Office, Diversity and Inclusion Office, or the Employee Assistance Program.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Did You Know: Union Dues Are Tax-Deductible

Did you know that you can deduct the dues that you pay for SHARE membership in your taxes?
A complete list of miscellaneous deductions that can be itemized on your 1040 Form can be found on the Internal Revenue Service website.
If you do itemize your taxes, here’s some numbers that you’ll need: in 2016, SHARE dues for employees at UMass Memorial Hospital were $8.57 per week, paid 52 times in a year.(SHARE members who work 20 hours per week were charged $6.42 per week.)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Union Plus Scholarship--DEADLINE TUESDAY!

The Union Plus Education Foundation is now receiving applications for their 2017 Scholarship Program. The awards range from $500 to $4,000.

The application deadline is Tuesday, January 31, 2017.

This is a competitive scholarship, and applicants are evaluated according to academic ability, social awareness, financial need and appreciation of labor. A GPA of 3.0 or higher is recommended.

Undergraduate and graduate students are eligible. The Scholarship Program is open to current and retired members of unions participating in any Union Plus program (e.g., AFSCME), their spouses and their dependent children (as defined by IRS regulations). At least one year of continuous union membership by the applicant, applicant's spouse or parent (if applicant is a dependent). The one year membership minimum must be satisfied by May 31, 2017.

The applicant must be accepted into a U.S. accredited college or university, community college, technical or trade school at the time the award is issued. Awards must be used for the 2017 - 2018 school year. You do not have to purchase any Union Plus product or participate in any Union Plus program to be eligible.

Applicants should note that the application requires you to list the national or international union name, local union number, local union's address, phone number and the name of the local union President or Business Manager.  You need this information for your union, your spouse's union or your parent's union (if you are a dependent).  If you or your family members are affiliated with multiple unions you must list this information for all.

As a member of SHARE, you are also a member of our parent organization, AFSCME, a qualifying union. Please note that the “local number” for SHARE on the hospital-side is AFSCME Local 3900. The SHARE hospital-side co-presidents are Bobbi-Jo Lewis and Rita Caputo.

For more details, and to access the online application dashboard, please see the Union Plus Scholarship website.

Friday, January 20, 2017

You're in Books!

SHARE is highlighted in a new book from the Cornell University Press, entitled The Evolving Healthcare Landscape: How Employees, Organizations, and Institutions are Adapting and Innovating. Our union is profiled in a chapter that describes labor-management partnership at six different hospitals, including our own.


The book provides some background about SHARE’s history of “Joint Working Groups that bring together managers, providers, union members, and union staff to discuss issues.” It explains how, recently, our union’s philosophies have matched more with those of the hospital leadership, and align with the efforts of the Center for Innovation and Transformational Change (CITC). There’s even mention of the Patient Satisfaction project involving SHARE members in our hospital’s Central Scheduling department.

The chapter opens by pointing out that, according to previous studies, “labor-management partnerships have been an important and powerful process to improve the quality of services/products, control costs, and improve the quality of work life of employees as result of front-line staff and union involvement.” The chapter concludes with the idea that SHARE “believes strongly that members want to have a more direct role in the process improvement activities as well as improving quality of worklife issues.”


The authors note that we've got a ways to go. “The main challenge thus far,” they write, “is the unevenness of implementation: some departments are quite invested and committed to the process, while others have not adopted any of the new practices.” That certainly describes one of the big challenges ahead. SHARE wants every member to have the tools to improve her work life.

Fortunately, one thing that feels exciting to us is that, less than two months after being printed, the book is already a little out-of-date. The authors note with curiosity in the book that our union and hospital didn’t have any written agreements about our process improvement work.

Things have changed, however. Since our recent contract agreement, we now have a mutual commitment to spread Unit Based Teams throughout our hospital system, and further develop the ability for front-line employees to take the lead in the workplace.


We also find it fortunate that the authors, Adrienne Eaton and Becky Givan, have asked to continue to study our efforts. We’ve looked to their writing to better understand the successes and failures of labor-management relationships in the past, and are excited to welcome them to help us make sense of the work we’re doing here.


Or dive even deeper into our history by reading the book about our sister union at Harvard University, We Can’t Eat Prestige: The Women Who Organized Harvard.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

One-on-one Meetings with Fidelity about your 401K

In case you missed it, Fidelity is making one-on-one appointments available at UMass Memorial locations for people who want information about saving for retirement with a 401K.

Remember: Starting this month, the UMass Memorial "match" on the money you contribute to your 401K doubles, from $.25 on the dollar to $.50 on the dollar, up to 4% of your pay.

To schedule an appointment with Fidelity, call 800-642-7131 or register on-line at Fidelity suggests you bring any relevant account statements with you if that will help get answers to your questions. They require an appointment, and say they won't take walk-ins.

January 18 
Hahnemann Campus 
2nd Floor Conference Room 
January 19 
Memorial Campus 
Memorial 1 Conference Room 
February 1 
University Campus 
Goff S2-309D 
February 9 
306 Belmont Street 
Conference Room 1 
February 13 
Memorial Campus 
Memorial 1 Conference Room 
February 15 
Biotech 1 
Hospital Labs, 2nd Floor,
Conference Room B 
February 21 
Worcester Business
Worcester State Conference
March 1 
University Campus 
Goff S2-309D 
March 9 
Milford – 91 Water
2nd Floor Conference Room 
March 14 
Worcester Business
Worcester State Conference
March 22 
Hahnemann Campus
2nd Floor Conference Room