Friday, October 21, 2016

SHARE Encourages You to Complete Caregiver Engagement Survey

Please fill out the survey! SHARE wants you to participate in the first system-wide engagement survey at UMass Memorial. This round of surveys builds upon data collected over the past few years, which targeted select areas of the hospital. Your manager will share results for your work area and will work with your team to figure out what aspects of your experience that you’d most like to improve, and how you will do it.

SHARE leaders will also receive the results, and intends to work with hospital leadership to understand what they say about SHARE members' experiences at work. We will compare the results to those of our own recent surveys, involving members to make sense of the data, and use the results to line up improvements that will benefit SHARE members in at work. The more SHARE members fill out the survey, the more useful the results will be.

The survey process is conducted by an outside agency, Press Ganey. You should have gotten get an email from them on October 17, with a link to the survey. You’ll also receive reminder emails that contain the link, in case you deleted the initial email. The survey is confidential, and is designed and administered in ways that ensure participants remain anonymous. In the past, SHARE has heard worries from members about survey confidentiality, but SHARE members have not reported problems with the agency that administered the previous smaller waves of engagement surveys here, Avatar Solutions (which has since been bought by Press Ganey). 

The survey shouldn't take much more than ten minutes, and you are encouraged to do it on work time. Thank you for participating, and helping to create a more complete and accurate overview about the experience of employees at UMass Memorial.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

MyHealth Matters . . . It’s Not Too Late to Get $300!

My Health Matters is the UMass Memorial Health Care employee wellness program designed to reward you for taking care of yourself. If you haven’t yet enrolled, it’s not too late. But you have to act quickly.

When you participate in myHealth Matters activities throughout the program year, you earn points. If you earn 1000 points by October 31st, you qualify for a $300 Wellness Reimbursement Account deposit and entry into drawings for prizes.

You can use the program to track your progress--and earn those points--with challenges you select for yourself. Set goals to improve your energy level, nutrition, stress-management, self-knowledge, concern for others, and more.

And, as Jay Hagan, Memorial campus CT Technologist points out, "If you enroll, you can't lose. It's free money. Most of the things you get points for are things you're already doing."

Here's a hot tip to get you started: if you got your flu shot last year, you've already earned 250 points. There are many ways to grow your point-total quickly. You can rack up points if you record that you've gotten your annual physical, or signed up for a walking event, or gotten a dental cleaning, or completed your self-assessment online.

One more tip for everyone participating: the odds are pretty good to win one of the gift cards at the higher levels, so remember to log all of your activities before the drawing.

To login, learn more, sign up for challenges, or download the app for your phone, visit the myHealth Matters website.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Contract Negotiations Update: Getting Close

The good news is that SHARE and UMass Memorial have finished, or mostly finished, the vast majority of issues that we have been discussing. Now we are talking about raises and a couple other tough issues.

As we described here, most of the side tables in our Interest Based Bargaining negotiations have reported out how they propose to resolve their issue to the main negotiating table. Many of the tables were able to come up with proposals that both union and management are satisfied with. In some cases, they were able to propose something that both sides are excited about -- such as the side table talking about unit-based teams.

Raises, plus any other issue that costs money, are usually the last topic that gets resolved in negotiations. Right now, from SHARE's point of view, the numbers that management is thinking about are too low, so we have to keep working on it. From management's point of view, there are big financial challenges coming in 2017:
  • Possible Medicaid cuts of $20-25 million 
  • Medicare cuts of $16 million for UMass Memorial, for taking care of the same number of patients
SHARE and UMass Memorial are meeting to negotiate next week. We are hopeful that we can find agreement about raises soon.

Of course, when we do come to an agreement, you will be the first to know!

2100 Signatures, Poster Power, and Negotiations

Our negotiations updates wouldn’t be complete if they didn’t touch on the fantastic success of the SHARE 2016 Signature Poster. We had a great time celebrating at the “Post Your Poster” events, and it’s exciting to see the large posters hanging in departments throughout the system, and the smaller versions hanging in work spaces all over. (If you’d like to print a small version, click here.)

SHARE members signed onto the goals of our 2016 contract negotiations: To improve the day-to-day experience of SHARE members at work.

Through individual conversations, and many information meetings, SHARE organizers, Negotiating Team, and Reps worked hard to talk with every member. This gives the SHARE negotiators the experiences, opinions and support of hundreds of members to draw on as we talk with management negotiators. The poster now stands as a beautiful visual representation of that collective knowledge and support.

This isn’t the first time that SHARE has created a signature poster at negotiations-time. It’s always an inspiring moment to unveil the many names of our members alongside one another. The SHARE 2016 Signature Poster is bigger than ever: 2100 SHARE members! That's 80% of the employees currently in SHARE.

The poster is an impressive gift that SHARE members give to one another to show that we are standing together. We also delivered posters to the individuals on the management negotiating team, as a clear indication that SHARE members support the priorities that the SHARE Negotiating Team is bringing to the table.

Management's Response Reflects our Changing Relationship

Perhaps because we’re using a model of Interest-Based Bargaining in Negotiations, we found that members of the management team welcomed the posters, and were happy to have them hanging in their departments. In our negotiations, there’s broad agreement around the idea that employees need to be directly involved in improving our hospital, and welcomed into important decision-making processes. Although we’ve still got lots of work to do to make those ideas a reality, we take the enthusiasm around our poster as a meaningful sign of things to come.

Also different this time around: SHARE is now on Facebook! Connect with us there, where the poster serves as the backdrop for smiling SHARE faces, and share your support for your union on your own social media profiles. Check out the SHARE Facebook page SHARE Hospital 2016 Negotiations.

EVERYBODY Must Re-Enroll for Benefits

Big news for this fall's open enrollment for benefits: Everybody has to re-enroll or they won't have benefits for 2017. And you have to re-enroll on-line.

Open Enrollment Period: October 31, 2016 - November 18, 2016

UMass Memorial is starting a new on-line system they're calling MyBenefits. The good news is that you can access the system from anywhere you have a computer with internet access. The challenge will be for people who don't have easy access to a computer, so plan ahead.

Here's what UMass Memorial is saying:


  • Everyone must complete enrollment online during open enrollment: Monday, October 31 through Friday, November 18. Enroll online by November 18 or you will not have benefits coverage in 2017.

  • Your current elections will not carry over automatically into the new system, requiring you to make your plan selections for benefits coverage, and enter your dependents and beneficiaries.

  • Make sure you have your dependent and beneficiary information before you enroll:
    • Dependent information dates of birth and Social Security numbers
    • Beneficiary information full names, addresses, dates of birth and relationships to you; if you have a trust or organization as a beneficiary, you will need the organizations legal name and address.

  • Prior to open enrollment, you will receive the 2017 Benefits Guide which details important plan information and rates. Please review the guide prior to making your online elections. 

Contract Negotiations: Weeks 8-10

Things are moving. As groups continue to present to the main table, we're finding that the side-table structure we developed for this negotiations has moved a lot of ideas forward, relatively quickly.

Most commonly, these joint union-management groups have reached a consensus that the participants feel good about. Often those involved have been surprised to have crafted options that they couldn’t have foreseen. We have uncovered a lot of overlapping interests as we compare perspectives.

Of course, the details get complicated. Some side tables have worked to develop promising options, only to realize that, for one reason or another, they turned out to be unfeasible.

Predictably, not all of the issues have resolved quickly, in spite of long hours and thoughtful work. Some recognize that they are unlikely to reach consensus around a single option, and have instead presented to the main table multiple ideas, some of which better represent the interests of one side, and others which represent the other.

Side-Table and Follow-Up Groups have reconvened with the Main Table to present interests and options around the following subjects:
  • Unit-Based Teams and Culture
  • Inpatient PCA Staffing Levels
  • Career Development
  • Process for Job Postings
  • Call-Back and Sleep Policies
  • Peer-Slotted Scales
  • Pension Floor
  • Leaves of Absence
  • Absenteeism
  • Cross-Campus Floating
  • Discipline
  • Work Security
  • Documenting Department Policies
  • A new vision for the relationship between managers & front-line members
  • Staffing
  • Wages
In any negotiations, “money issues” (including raises.) tend to get resolved at the very end, when the larger picture is more clear, and the costs better defined. We continue to work at those issues, and on those issues where our perspectives remain far from one another.

Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, the professor from Brandeis who coached both teams on Interest Based Bargaining methods, recently returned from a commitment in Australia. SHARE and hospital management asked him to resume his role as a neutral facilitator as we work to reach an overarching agreement.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Negotiations Update: Contract Extended Through October 21st

You may have noticed that our current contract agreement with UMass Memorial is set to expire on this day. Both sides are still working to define the complete new agreement, and we're consistently moving things forward.

During today's negotiation session, both sides agreed to extend the current contract to allow for more of that work. Anyone in SHARE who's been around for a negotiations before will remember that we've extended our contract like this more often than not.

This extension runs through October 21st. We'll have a more thorough update about where we're at with negotiations on this blog very soon. More to come . . .