Monday, September 18, 2017

Help Keep Your Union Strong

Hi blog reader!

We really appreciate that you’re keeping tabs on your union’s news. There are now a few hundred subscribers to the SHARE blog . . . not to mention all of our unsubscribed readers. Thank you!
Never have our connections to one another been more important than now. Our unions have grown to include over 3,200 members. If you’re a faithful blog reader, or have been around our union for a bit, you know that person-to-person conversations make our union strong. That's a lot of conversations.

This Thursday, we’re hosting our first big event to celebrate SHARE’s 20 Year Anniversary. Throughout the year, we’ll be celebrating on all of the campuses, and we want to kickstart things right. We encourage everyone who can to come out to this one. Every member deserves to have a meaningful connection to their union, and we would love your help.

Here are a few things you can do now . . .

Ten Easy Things You Can Do this Week to Help Keep SHARE Strong

  1. Come to our keystone event, the 20th Anniversary Celebration, on September 21st.
  2. Bring a plate of finger foods to that party.
  3. Email a photo of yourself, along with a quote about what SHARE means to you, to
  4. Print a flyer or three, and post them in your area.
  5. Hand out postcard invitations to friends and co-workers (ask your SHARE organizer for some, or contact the SHARE office: 508-929-4020).
  6. Help plan to celebrate on your campus . . . contact your SHARE organizer for details.
  7. Subscribe to the SHARE blog.
  8. Warm up your voices and be ready to sing.
  9. Ask your co-workers to do any of the above!

Friday, September 8, 2017

SHARE at Fenway Park

SHARE Union Co-President Bobbi-Jo Lewis
on deck to be recognized
during the pre-game ceremonies
There’s nothing like that feeling of being in the ballpark with friends, with the bright lights all around, as a talented singer nails those last few bars of "The Star Spangled Banner." And when Martha Vedrine stepped her voice up an extra interval near the end of her recent performance of the Anthem at Union Night, it was a magical thing. The stands erupted. Martha is a member of our sister union at Harvard University, HUCTW, where she works at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.  

HUCTW member Martha Vedrine
singing the National Anthem

At the Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Labor Day, over 220 of the seats were filled by members of SHARE and HUCTW. Union Night is designated to recognize what unions do to improve the lives of working people.

Our own SHARE Hospital union co-president, Bobbi-Jo Lewis, was recognized during the ceremonies. "I've been bringing my kids to watch the Red Sox since they were little. It was really special for them to be in the stands while I got a chance to wave up at the crowd from the field," Bobbi-Jo said.

Bobbi-Jo's kids at the game:
SHARE member Emily Anderson
and her brother Tyler
We’re already looking forward to the next Union Day at Fenway. Although the Major League schedule hasn’t been announced for next season, we’ve got our fingers crossed for a day game, so more SHARE families can be able to come. We’ll keep you posted.

In the meanwhile, most any time that you go to Boston to see the Sox, you can listen to the musical skills of HUCTW member Josh Kantor. Josh is Fenway’s official organist. He has negotiated a flex-time arrangement with his supervisors at Harvard University’s Loeb Music Library so that he can perform at all of the home games. Next time you’re at a game, you can even Tweet him a song request!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Great SHARE Recipe Swap: Kathy Bateman's Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Looking for a festive party food that you can whip up quickly to bring to an event? Let’s say, for example, the SHARE 20th Anniversary Party? SHARE-UMMS President Kathy Bateman has you covered. Below is her recipe for Chocolate Covered Pretzels.

If you’re bringing your Nana’s secret-recipe fudge brownies to our big day, that’d be a welcome treat, of course. That said, we also would love to include everyone in the recipe collection. To learn more about our pot-luck event, and to access the Recipe Swap easy submission form, just visit the Great SHARE Recipe Swap website.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

About this Dish: This recipe is so fun and easy that children will enjoy rolling, sprinkling and designing their own pretzel creation. I make these during the holidays and they disappear in no time.

Ingredients and How to Make It:

1 container of Pretzel rods (about 48 rods in a container)
Melting chocolate – I use white and milk, but you can use whatever color/flavor you like.
Sprinkles for decoration
Parchment or wax paper


Have at least 4 large cookie sheets lined with parchment paper – this makes clean-up a breeze and the pretzels will not stick to the cookie sheet.

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees and turn the oven off.

Place the vanilla and chocolate on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and put into the oven to let the chocolate melt. Test for doneness by taking a toothpick, and swirl the chocolate through the middle.

While the chocolate is melting, place two of the parchment lined cookie sheets in the freezer so the chocolate will harden quickly after being dipped.

When the chocolate is melted, remove from the oven. Roll the pretzel rods in the chocolate to coat evenly and place on a frozen cookie sheet. This works up quickly. Once you have a whole sheet of pretzels, sprinkle with colored sprinkles and drizzle the different colored chocolate over the dark chocolate, same with the dark chocolate, drizzle over white pretzels. If you don’t have sprinkles, the drizzles will do just fine.

Place the decorated pretzels in the freezer for about 5 minutes. After removing from the freezer, place the pretzels on a plate or platter. Enjoy!

Additional Comments:
I purchase the white and chocolate flavored “Plymouth Pantry Almond Bark” at Wal-Mart, but you can use any kind of melting chocolate.

Submitted By: Kathy Bateman
Department: Pathology

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Epic Training Update, Including Tips for Class

SHARE has a deep interest in the success of Epic. Our hospital has invested significantly in the new Epic system, and the our progress will be tied to its implementation. In a recent SHARE Rep meeting, we compared experiences with Epic Training. Most Reps generally agreed that trainers had been knowledgeable and helpful. They felt the hospital had made it an imperative to make sure that every employee succeeds with the testing required for Epic GoLive.

That said, we also heard about problems. In some classes, materials hadn’t been pertinent to everyone in the class. SHARE communicated a thorough roundup to the hospital leadership in charge of Epic, and our report lined up with the other feedback they’d been hearing, including concerns about:

  • In-class hardware issues
  • Class location
  • Parking
  • Accessing the Epic Playground
  • Ensuring accuracy with meal count
  • Consistency between trainer instructional delivery
  • Trainers not always able to respond to UMMHC policy related workflow questions

Hospital leadership seems to be responding quickly to correct shortcomings. The good news is that exit evaluations show that employees have found the Epic Trainings to be very beneficial. And that the trainings are getting better over time.

Those who have already been through Epic implementation at other hospitals tell us that it’s common at this point for employees to feel anxious about the amount that they’ll need to know at GoLive. Hospital leaders have described that employee feedback has helped them better understand our hospital’s unique needs. They are working with Epic to tailor a robust set of easy-to-use tools to make the transition to Epic successful for every employee.

If you haven’t yet been to an Epic training, SHARE Representative (and Epic Superuser) Kate Richardson makes the following suggestions:

  • Take strong notes and write down as much as you can. This will be a great reference come GoLive.
  • Keep your classroom materials, you will need these to practice in the playground.
  • Practice in the playground often.

SHARE members can learn more at

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Great SHARE Recipe Swap: Jillian Schellhammer's Crab Rangoon Dip

In honor of SHARE's 20th Anniversary (And, to prepare for the big Celebration), we're currently accepting recipes for the Great SHARE Recipe Swap.
We'd love to include your recipe in the collection. Find more details, including an easy submission form, on the Great SHARE Recipe Swap website.
To whet your appetite, here's a recipe provided by SHARE member Jillian Schellhammer, who works in Provider Enrollment in our hospital.

Crag Rangoon Dip with Toasted Won Tons and Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
About this Dish: I'm always preparing my house's dinner for the week on Mondays.. Feeling good, beginning of the week, I'm thinkin', "let's have a movie night Friday, and I'll make snacks!" - meaning, I will be tired after a long work week and have to host friends that I invited when I was energized (this happens, well, every week..). So, I prepared my Monday grocery shopping list and set off to the store. Thursday comes around, I'm already dreading hosting this little get together - thinking about all the cooking I will have to do.. Is there a way I can just order pizza..? Then it's Friday. I know how I am, I do this all of the time, I know that I'm going to go way overboard - and what do I do? Just that. BUT! It was totally worth it, and actually ended up being decently easy (just time consuming, you can easily make the thai chili sauce ahead of time or use store bought - I prefer homemade). Give it a try to wow your guests, or just yourself when you're craving some crab rangoons but really don't want the guilty feeling at the end.
Ingredients and How to Make It:
Crab Rangoon Dip Ingredients:
12oz lump crabmeat (or imitation crab), drained and shredded
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire
2 tsp soy sauce
3 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp Sriracha
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 package won ton wrappers (optional)
Sliced scallions

Sweet Thai Chili Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red chili flakes (I add a dash more for a little more kick!)

Preheat oven to 350F
IF DIPPING WITH WON TONS: Cut them into triangles, 2 per sheet. Add them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spray with cooking spray, and bake for 5-7 minutes until golden brown. Set aside.
In a large bow, mix crabmeat, cream cheese, sour cream, 1 cup shredded mozzarella, Worcestershire, soy sauce, lemon juice, Sriracha, garlic and pepper. Add salt to taste, give it another stir, and add to a casserole dish.
Top with remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and bake for 25 minutes until the top begins to brown.
While dip is cooking, whisk all Sweet Thai Chili Sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened.
Garnish hot Crab Rangoon dip with Sweet Thai Chili Sauce drizzle and chopped scallions. Dip with toasted won tons or dippers of your choice.
... ENJOY!
Additional comments: Baked won ton wrappers can easily be substituted with any chip/cracker of your choice.
Leftover Sweet Thai Chili Sauce can be stored in a jar in the refrigerator for a few months.
FYI, won ton wrappers are found in the produce section!
Personal recipe blog coming SOON!
Submitted By: Jillian Schellhammer
Department: UMass Memorial Medical Group - Provider Enrollment

Saturday, August 26, 2017

SHARE Member in the Spotlight: Debra Clark

Deb Clark, standing for a strong contract
on the University Campus
As we come up on SHARE's 20th Anniversary, we're reflecting on how far our union has come.

After our most recent contract negotiations, I sat down with Deb Clark, a long-term UMass Memorial employee and SHARE union leader. She’s got a unique perspective on our contract and negotiations. Deb is a veteran negotiator and member of the SHARE Executive Board. Incidentally, in the past, she’s also been laid off from the hospital three times, and has intimate familiarity with SHARE’s work-security policy.

SHARE’s been working to improve UMass Memorial for twenty years, and, in spite of our successes, our hospital often isn’t a happier place. What does Deb Clark think about that? Is there reason to be more optimistic now?

As she points out, one optimistic note is that the hospital’s commitment to working with SHARE to improve the culture for employees is now spelled out in our contract: “We have their full support to make sure that these things happen. They are committed to doing it,” she said.

I interviewed Deb because I wanted to know, from her perspective, now that our new contract is being implemented: what does she think of the work that we’re doing? Where does it go from here? If you know her, you won’t be surprised that Deb has her own ideas about SHARE’s outlook in the years to come. Here’s our full conversation . . .

Kirk Davis
SHARE Staff Organizer

KD: Debbie Clark! Where do you work and what do you do all day?

DC: I work in Lakeside A, the CDU [Clinical Decision Unit]. I'm the unit clerk, and we're pretty busy down there. We're constantly busy, moving, doing something different every minute.

KD: I don't see how it would be anything else there. You and I have been on the SHARE negotiating team at least a couple of times before. How many negotiations have you been in?

I think this is my third negotiations that I've been in, so . . . three.

KD: Since you've been in negotiations before: what were you expecting this time around?

I really didn't know what to expect this time around. They [the Interest-Based Bargaining principles] were all new ideas to us, that we had been trained in and worked with, and it was a kind of learn-as-you-go kind of experience, so we weren't really sure what we were in for.

KD: We did learn . . . we had formal training and a great facilitator in Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, is that the kind of thing that you're getting at?


KD: We've always attempted to have a kind of informal Interest-Based negotiation approach, and every time we negotiate with the hospital it's different. We're always negotiating with a different negotiating team . . . a different CEO, for example, and different leaders in Labor Relations. And we've had varying levels of success with that approach. What would you say about past negotiations that would make you expect one thing or another?

Well, I think past negotiations were pretty cut-and-dried. It was "yes, no." "Yes, no." It was pretty formal. You proposed what you proposed, and they said "no." You know? SHARE tried again, management said "no." It was pretty discouraging, but by your second set of negotiations, you kind of knew that that's how it pretty much went.

This one here, we were very hopeful that it was going to be different, and it turned out to be great compared to the beginning, the very beginning, what I thought it would turn out to be. I didn't have much hope at the beginning. I knew our team was doing a great job, but I didn't have much faith that the other side really believed in it very much. That was my first opinion of it.

KD: That makes a lot of sense . . . I mean, we hadn't negotiated with -- well, a few of these people we had negotiated with before -- but they had new lead negotiators, and we didn't know what to expect. Were there particular things that started to change your mind or build trust? Was it a lot of little things? Was it one big thing that created trust? How did your change of mind happen?

Well, I think as I saw them starting to . . . maybe not totally agree with what we were saying, but at least be open to our ideas, and what we brought forth to the table. At the beginning, I don't think they knew what to do, so I don't think they were eager to play into it, but as time went on, and as we worked with them and built relationships with them, it got much better, they were trying, or at least most of them were trying, to try to come to an agreement that we could all agree to.

KD: This was a bigger group that we've ever negotiated with, on both sides, than we've ever had before. I mean, part of the difference to me felt like there was a big big cast of characters, and lots of cats to herd, in any conversation we had, and that things started to get a little bit smoother when we started breaking down into some of the Side Tables and Follow Up Groups. Which of those did you participate on?

Teams and Culture, Leaves of Absence, Documenting Department Policies, and Absenteeism . . . quite a realm of different topics.

KD: One of the things that was really good about having lots of little teams was that we got a lot done quickly. I mean, it felt like a lot of work for each little individual team, and when you added it all together, we did a lot of work in a little bit of time. At least, that's how it felt to me, and I was not even on as many groups as you. Was there a group that worked better for you, in a way that would be worth telling people about?

Well I think my smallest group was on Absenteeism, and I think because we all agreed that it was a problem that everyone needed to deal with, and we looked at in a realistic way, we came to a conclusion much faster and easier because it was pretty much laid out straight forward. You know, everybody can't be absent from work and have the work get done. You know, so, that one there was probably the easiest. It was a pretty cut and dried topic.

The Teams & Culture Side Table involves a lot a lot of things, and a lot a lot of people, so that one there took more time, more effort, but it seemed to work out well in the end as well. It was just a lot different from a simple topic group.

KD: So that's the group that was trying to figure out how to make UBT's [Unit-Based Teams] work? We've talked about that on the blog before, and we can point folks toward that.

The thing that's interesting to me, and I heard my co-worker Will saying this too, that he found himself surprised when we came to times when management was advocating for positions that are traditionally union-type arguments, and the union was advocating for things that were more management-type positions.

And you're saying that in your smallest group, you just all kind of were on the same side. You know, there needs to be a certain level of staffing, and we need to have it so people can be out when people can be out, and have the staff to run the place here. But I'm wondering, what surprised you about management's approach to teams? Were they more receptive to the idea of teams? Did they have a different idea of teams?

DC: I think first of all it's a very new topic to everybody, so nobody knows exactly what this is going to entail, but everybody in my group was very enthusiastic.  So, they're all wanting to do it, wanting to do a good job, trying to figure out where they can start it, what projects are going to be achievable so we don't have any failures at the beginning. So I think it's a happy topic, whereas absenteeism . . . not so much. It's encouraging, if it works, which we're going to make sure that it does. It's something that people can look forward to, and look forward to getting involved in. It's not a tedious kind of punishment group like some of the others were. Where, you know, you're doing something bad, what's going to happen to you? This is all good. Doing something good. Trying to make things better.

KD: Can you imagine that kind of topic being discussed in any of our previous negotiations? We've not had a topic that happy in past negotiations, I don't think. How much of that is dependent on the people who are negotiating?

DC: For SHARE’s part, this work just kind of keeps going. For a while, we focused a lot on Patient-Experience Projects. We did a great job. In the end, everyone had good intentions, but it just petered-out, you know? You go along go along go along . . . then okay, where is it? It’s gone. Everyone had great intentions, but there was no means to finish the project off and actually come up with results. So people are skeptical that anything can ever really happen, and truly be good.

KD: I’m really interested in that thing that you said, about in the past things just petered out, even SHARE’s best-intended projects. We had some success, and then other priorities took over. Those improvement projects didn’t have -- I forgot your exact words -- but they didn’t have what it takes to see it through to the end, not in a way that improved the hospital as a whole. You still sound, in spite of that, optimistic, that this round negotiations is turning out some different kind of outcome, that isn’t going to fizzle. You sound optimistic in spite of your experience. Obviously we don’t know yet. What makes you feel like this could actually bring more more effective outcomes than we’ve had before?

DC: Because this time around I have, and I’m depending on this, the words of people like Bart Metzger and Eric Dickson, that we have their full support to make sure that these things happen. They are committed to doing it. Committed to helping us. They’re committed to being a part. If we have questions, and we need to talk to them, speak to them, they’re committed to helping us make this be a success, so it’s the best support we’ve ever had. We’re not out there on our own, we have the words of these people, of the higher-ups at UMass, that they’re there to support us.

KD: That commitment is built into our contract now. And we’ve negotiated a lot of structural things this time. There’s one difference that we knew going in, that there’s a philosophical agreement at the top,  that frontline employees should be involved in decision-making, and it’s in the hospitals initiatives. We shall see.

Let me ask, this is our twenty-year anniversary -- come September, SHARE will be twenty years old. You’ve been here for some of that. How do think that SHARE has made an effect on the hospital in those twenty years?

DC: Well, I was speaking with SHARE before there was a union here. They were calling me at home, I was speaking with all of the organizers. I’ve always been a big pro-union person, and I believe one-hundred percent that SHARE has helped with every aspect of UMass’ people who are involved in the SHARE union. Without them, I mean, we’d be in dire straits. Before SHARE, and I was here for many years before SHARE also. I’ve been 30 years at UMass. We were at the mercy of the State of Massachusetts. So we got whacked quite a few times, and there was no one to turn to, it’s just the way that it was. You just had to accept it, or go work somewhere else. You know, so SHARE has been great as far as I’m concerned. I don’t have a bad thing to say about our union at all.

KD: We’re looking forward to another twenty years more, at least. What’s the best thing that you’d like to see happen, what’s something you’d like to see SHARE do in that 20 years. What would you like to be able to say, “Boy, SHARE really knocked it out of the park by doing . . . x?"

DC: Well I think along with our contract that we just negotiated, keeping our pay competitive, so people can afford to live, so they’re not impoverished. That’s very important to me. Our health benefits, keeping them affordable -- which SHARE always has done -- is very, very important. So, I think those are the two main things. You have to come to work, and you have to be able to do a day’s work for a day’s pay, and make it the best we can. SHARE has helped, and that’s what we’re aiming for with this contract. And having a decent wage, and decent benefits, which we’ve always had . . . you couldn’t ask for more. That’s what you need to work for. You have to have it to be able to survive.

KD: We have held on to really good benefits and had consistent raises for twenty years, and the challenges to those things aren’t going away. If anything, they’re getting harder. So, that makes sense to me that should still be our focus. I just want to say thanks very much. We’ll see you again at negotiations next time . . .  and of course, sooner.

DC: Thank you very much!

SHARE Turns 20! Download a flyer to post in your area

Invite friends to participate in SHARE's 20th Anniversary. Let your department know how they can get involved in our big celebration. 

Download & print the 20th Anniversary Flyer to display in your work area!

And stay tuned! More festive events and details are forthcoming on this blog, and on SHARE's 20th Anniversary webpage . . .