Friday, December 2, 2016

Free Associate Degrees for SHARE Members: An Update from AFSCME

We just received the following update from our parent organization, AFSCME, about the Free College Benefit. The program offers free Associate Degrees to SHARE members. And, the program has expanded to include Early Childhood Education degrees. Read on for more . . .



Dear SHARE members,

Back in July, we announced a new AFSCME benefit available to you and your family: a free associate degree from Eastern Gateway Community College. Your response has been overwhelming, with nearly 20,000 inquiries made, more than 5,000 applicants and more than 2,000 students currently enrolled in classes. We are thrilled that so many of you are taking advantage of this great benefit.
Having a college degree is more important than ever for getting ahead these days, but tuition costs just keep getting higher and higher. That's why the AFSCME Free College Benefit is absolutely free. You, your spouse, your children and grandchildren can earn a college degree without digging into your own pockets or piling on student debt. And because Eastern Gateway is a public, regionally accredited college, the credits you work hard to earn are transferable to other schools. This can literally save you and your family thousands of dollars.
You won’t be left to figure this out for yourself, either. Every student gets to talk to real people who will help you through the process. The classes are online, so they fit into anyone’s busy schedule, and there are tutors and coaches who make sure you aren’t on your own.
Get a Free Associate Degree
An associate degree can be your pathway to new opportunities, greater responsibility, a better job and higher wages. This is a unique opportunity — available only to AFSCME members, your families and retirees. You can find more information about the benefit and available degree programs here.
You work hard for your community, and that work can often go unsung. The AFSCME Free College Benefit is one more way AFSCME helps members secure the opportunities and the respect you deserve.
Enrollment for the first spring session is now open and Early Childhood Education degrees are now offered. Classes begin on January 17. Don’t wait to start this exciting new program and help grow your career!
In solidarity,
Lee Saunders

AFSCME President

One-on-One Fidelity Retirement Planning

SHARE has learned that Fidelity Retirement Planners will be at various UMass Memorial locations on the dates listed below. They ask that you please consider bringing relevant account statements and any paperwork to help address your questions and needs.

Appointments are required. Fidelity cannot accommodate walk-ins, and urges you to schedule an appointment that is convenient for you. If you don't see your work location listed above, additional UMass Memorial sites will be added soon for appointments in January and February.

To schedule a one-on-one appointment, call Fidelity at (800) 642-7131 or register online at getguidance.fidelity.com




Thursday, December 1, 2016

New Contract Agreement Reached!

The SHARE Negotiating Team is proud and happy to announce that we have a tentative agreement with UMass Memorial for a 2-Year Contract. It will go into effect if SHARE members vote Yes.

We encourage you to VOTE YES to ratify this contract on December 20!

The raises in the tentative contract are solid. We are holding onto our health insurance and pension. Equally important, SHARE members told the SHARE Negotiating Team -- in the survey, on the poster, and in many conversations -- that being more respected and having more of a say would improve their day-to-day experience. This contract makes real progress in that direction.

Please continue to the SHARE Contract Agreement Website for the full announcement, as well as details about raises, benefits, Labor Management Partnership, Unit Based Teams, and more. You can also find a listing of Contract Information Meetings. (Information about the specific times and vote locations for the December 20th Ratification is on the way, too.)

SHARE members made it happen! Thank you for your enthusiasm, participation, and support. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Progress in Negotiations

We are happy to report that negotiations went well this week. SHARE and UMass Memorial have not yet reached agreement, but progress is being made.

Thanks to all the SHARE members who came out to support negotiations over the last month!





Health Insurance Deadline TONIGHT

If you haven't yet signed up for Health Insurance, it's probably a good idea to stop what you're doing right now and sign up. If you don't sign up today, you will not have health insurance from UMass Memorial in 2017. Before you stop reading this, however, we've learned a couple of important last-minute tidbits:
  • If you have already finished, you should have a confirmation number. If you haven't already printed out your confirmation, we recommend doing so. We have learned that, for some reason, some members who believed they had completed the process did not get registered. Having a copy of your confirmation number will be good peace-of-mind for you, and it's what Human Resources will need to reference if they run into any problems or questions. 
  • The system closes down at 11:59 tonight. Start early, because you won't be able to finish after midnight.
If you still need to sign up or print your confirmation number, here's the link to the MyBenefits website.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Preparing for Winter

Some early predictions suggest that, in our neck of the woods, we're going to experience average to slightly-below-average temperatures this Winter. Of course, it's too early to know how many heavy snowfalls we're going to get.

With that in mind, we're reprinting the post below from last year. We've got a smart weather policy in our contract, and we want it to help your Winter go a little smoother . . .


DO YOU KNOW YOUR DEPARTMENT'S SEVERE WEATHER POLICY?

If you’ve worked at UMass Memorial through a snowy Winter, you probably know that, along with sloppy weather, there comes some confusion. We encourage you to plan ahead, and know what to do when travel conditions get tough.

Weather is coming
Now is a good time to remind your manager that they should cover your severe weather plan in a meeting with all of the staff in a staff meeting. If there is no plan, or it needs updating, we encourage SHARE members to be involved in figuring out what works for their department. See the Severe Weather Policy on page 103 of the SHARE Contract, which includes the following guidelines:

In order for employees to know what their responsibilities are in the case of severe weather, departments are encouraged to develop plans for their areas within the framework of the hospital plan. . . . Employees are encouraged to participate in the development of the plan for their department. Department severe weather plans could include: what staffing level is required in the case of severe weather (such as full staffing, skeletal staffing, or no staffing necessary); how employees will find out if they are required to be at work that day, who to call and how to reach them; and whether there is a difference in their department between the plan for severe weather and the plan for a declared state of emergency. Department managers should review the severe weather plan for their department with all employees annually before winter weather begins.

If you would like help developing or revising the policy for your department, please contact the SHARE office.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Negotiations Update

Last Thursday, over 170 members gathered enthusiastically 
on the University Campus 
in support of the SHARE negotiating team

Rad Tech Rich Leufstedt and his
banjo perform his song
"SHARE Contract Song 2016"
at the University Campus gathering
Members of the SHARE Negotiating Team continue to meet with hospital management to reach agreement for our next contract. We are still talking about raises. We have two more negotiating sessions scheduled this week, on Thursday and Friday, where our conversations will be mediated by Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld.

Keep your eyes on the blog. We'll post another update and more information soon . . . 

And! Last Friday, more than 70 SHARE members came out
strong at 306 Belmont Street