Monday, March 3, 2014

2014 Employee Engagement Survey: Why It's Important

SHARE members in 30 areas and departments got emails last Monday asking them to fill out an Employee Engagement survey. UMass Memorial wants to measure how employees feel about their jobs, and about how UMass Memorial involves employees.

SHARE encourages SHARE members to fill out the survey. UMass Memorial has committed to sharing the results of the survey with SHARE, and with you. This is an opportunity for SHARE members to be heard, and to make this a better place to provide and receive care.

Confidentiality is a big question for many SHARE members. UMass Memorial hired an outside company, Avatar Solutions, to conduct the web-based survey and analyze the results. Avatar Solutions will give UMass Memorial results for groups only, not individuals. Small groups will be combined to help protect anonymity -- the smallest group will be 15 people. You have to enter your employee ID number to take the survey -- that's to make sure only employees take the survey, that each person only takes it once, and that your responses are grouped with your teams' responses.

We believe that most SHARE members want to be respected participants in fixing problems in their areas. SHARE members want to feel like they do a good job, in a productive department, where co-workers at all levels treat each other with kindness and respect. Some areas needs a lot of culture change to get to there. This is an opportunity to see what's working well, and what departments need more help engaging employees.

Departments will be surveyed in three phases. The first phase includes the Admissions Unit, Patient Access Services (Registration and Scheduling), Dermatology, Renal Division, GI Clinic, Cardiology Clinic, Anticoagulation, and Physician Billing (Medical Group). The second phase will include inpatient departments, and the third phase will include more ambulatory departments, administrative areas, and the community hospitals. (Not all departments will be surveyed this fiscal year.)

Managers will be responsible for creating action plans to fix problems identified by the survey in their areas. Areas will be surveyed again in 90 days to see how well the action plans worked.

Here's what UMass Memorial tells managers that success with this survey looks like:
  • Employees understand how their experience supports our success.
  • Teams have reached the survey participation goal of 90%.
  • Employees are actively involved in improvement efforts.
  • Fun and enthusiasm are an everyday part of creating goals and monitoring success.
  • Teams have celebrated their success.
If you have any thoughts or questions about this survey or SHARE's participation with it, give the SHARE office a call. 508-929-4020. (If you get the answering machine, my extension is 13 -- Janet.)

SHARE Dues Increase Delayed -- Small Retro Next Week

There was a snafu with implementing the SHARE dues increase this year for SHARE members at UMass Memorial. We notified UMass Memorial Payroll of the 12 cent increase at the beginning of this year, but the new amount didn't start being deducted from members' paychecks until last week.

Payroll will deduct the small amount of retro from SHARE members' paychecks next week, March 13th. For most SHARE members, the amount of the one-time catch-up retro will be $.72. (It will be less for those SHARE members budgeted for 20 hours.)

We're sorry for the confusion, folks.

Scholarship Opportunity

SHARE got a letter recently announcing scholarships that SHARE members can apply for, and an application form to make available to you. Check it out, if you have a child or a grandchild are headed to college!


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

We are pleased to announce that we will be awarding six $1000.00 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 6, 2014.

The scholarships will be presented at the Labor Day breakfast, September 1, 2014.

To be eligible, the student must be a 2014 graduating high school senior 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 25, 2014 and returned to:

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


If you are a SHARE member at the hospital, you are a member of SHARE / AFSCME Local 3900. If you are a SHARE member in the Medical School, you are a member of SHARE / AFSCME Local 4000. Both SHARE locals are affiliated with the Central Ma. AFL/CIO.

Please click here for a printable .pdf version of the application form to send to Paul Soucy at the above address.




Friday, January 3, 2014

Dues Increase for 2014

SHARE dues will increase in January:

  • The regular dues rate for 2014 is $8.24/week. (The 2013 rate was $8.12.)
  • For employees budgeted for 20 hours/week, the 2014 rate is $6.18/week (the 2013 rate was $6.10)

Below are some Frequently Asked Questions about dues:

Why are the dues going up now?

The dues increase is set by our national union, AFSCME. If there's a rate change it's in January.

How much do the dues increase each year?

The dues increase is calculated by AFSCME (our parent union) based on the average raise that all 1.5 million members across the country got in the previous year. Many AFSCME members have had small, or no, raises over the past few years, and some have had pay cuts or unpaid furloughs. This has resulted in small, or nonexistent dues increases over the past few years, even though SHARE members at UMass Memorial were getting raises.

dues rates stayed the same from 2010 to 2012

Where do the dues go?

Most of the dues go to pay for the SHARE staff, the office rent, office supplies, mailings, etc. The money supports the work of the union here at the UMass Memorial (and in our sister unions at UMass Medical School, Harvard University, and the Cambridge Health Alliance) helping members with issues at work, building connections across the campuses, supporting people who have been laid off, distributing information about issues of importance to SHARE members, negotiating contracts, etc. 

A portion of the dues goes to the national union in Washington -- they spend that money on advocating for AFSCME members as a whole, including research and lobbying about issues. (Support for political candidates comes from AFSCME's Political Action Committee, not from dues money.) 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

SHARE Prepares for Possible Layoffs

As communications from UMass Memorial CEO Dr. Eric Dickson and President Patrick Muldoon make clear, there are changes coming for our hospitals, probably including layoffs. Programs that aren't making money may shrink or close, and technology is eliminating the need for some jobs. SHARE is preparing to help members with whatever is coming.

Do You Want to Volunteer to be Laid-Off?

Whenever there is a layoff, SHARE Reps work to help our members find other jobs, either in an open position or by "swapping" with someone who volunteers to be laid off. If we can find the right match for a swap, then person who was going to be laid off takes the volunteer's job. The volunteer gets the SHARE layoff benefits:
  • Severance (one week of pay for each full year that you've worked here, minimum 2 weeks, maximum 8 weeks)
  • Earned time/vacation time paid out weekly so that you stay on UMass Memorial health insurance until your time is used up
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Access to the SHARE training fund (up to $1500 per semester for 2 semesters with a possibility of an additional semester)
If you would like to know more about what volunteering for layoff might mean for your, please call the SHARE office. Leave a message for Carol -- 508-929-4020 x17.

How Layoffs Work in SHARE

Our contract says, "SHARE and UMass Memorial agree that we will do everything possible to avoid lay-offs. In health care today, change is the prominent feature of the landscape. By making this agreement about work security, our goal is to find alternatives to lay-offs whenever possible, and when a lay-off must occur to provide help and support to the employee in finding a comparable position."

UMass Memorial notifies SHARE about the possible layoffs ahead of time and SHARE and UMass Memorial meet to try to find an alternative to the layoffs. If there is no alternative, the SHARE member gets 30-60 days notice ahead of the layoff date and becomes a "work security candidate." 

Layoffs are done by seniority. UMass Memorial identifies the department or cost center and title where they need to cut a position, and the least senior person gets the layoff (unless there's a volunteer in the department).

During the notice period, SHARE works with the work security candidate to help them find a job (if they want one). Work security candidates have hiring preference over other internal applicants for internal jobs, and access to the layoff swaps. SHARE reps help provide information about unemployment, and outside job opportunities and resources.

To see the full SHARE and UMass Memorial contract section on Layoffs and Work Security, click here. If you have questions, call the SHARE office at 508-929-4020. If you get the answering machine, press 10 to leave a message on the general voicemail.




Raising the Minimum Wage: For our Families and our Community

Around the country, people are working to raise the minimum wage. California and New Jersey just voted to raise their minimum wages, and there's an effort to raise the federal minimum wage. SHARE is working with other unions, churches and faith organizations, and community groups to raise the minimum wage in Massachusetts. If we get enough signatures on petitions, the question will be on the ballot in November 2014 for voters to decide. The question would raise the minimum wage to $10.50 over a few years, and minimum wage would go up with inflation after that.

Everyone in SHARE makes more than $8.00 per hour, the Massachusetts minimum wage.  Raising the minimum wage would not directly affect SHARE members. However, it's still good for us and for our communities:
  • Many of us have children, friends and neighbors making minimum wage -- we're doing this for them.
  • Many economists say raising the minimum wage helps the economy because regular people have more money to spend.
  • A rising tide lifts all boats: When the minimum wage increases, people making more than minimum tend to get raises too. That would be a big change from the "race to the bottom" we've seen recently, with employers around the state and the country focusing on cutting wages, pensions, and healthcare, which makes our contract negotiations more difficult.
  • It's just keeping up with inflation: The minimum wage of $1.60 an hour in 1968 would be $10.50 today if it had kept up with inflation. The Massachusetts minimum wage has been stuck at $8 since 2008 -- that's five years without a raise for those folks, while costs for the basics keep going up, as we all know.


We Need Your Signature!
You can add your name to the petition to get the minimum wage question on the ballot by stopping by:

  • Tuesday, November 12th, 12-1:30, University Cafeteria -- We'll be at a table to the left. Look for the Raise Up Massachusetts sign.
  • Thursday, November 14th, 12-1pm, Memorial 1 conference room, toward the ED from the cafeteria 
  • Or email us, and we'll bring a petition to you to sign this week: share.comment@theshareunion.org

For more information about the effort, see Raise Up Massachusetts.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Details about the Bonus for SHARE Members at Max

Human Resources says that the bonus for SHARE members at or above their grade maximum will be delivered the same day as the raise to SHARE members' hourly rate. The bonus will be in a separate check, and direct deposited.

Payroll says that the bonus is taxed at the federal "supplemental" flat rate of 25%. That may be higher than your usual federal tax rate. When you add state and other taxes, the total tax rate on the bonus may be around 40%. If that's more than you should owe, it will get adjusted when you file your taxes for the year.

Because of the Columbus Day holiday that week, the raises and bonuses will come on Friday the 18th instead of Thursday the 17th.

For more information about the raise or bonus amount, look here.