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.

Monday, September 30, 2013

October Raise for SHARE Members

SHARE members will receive their second raise of our current 4-year contract with UMass Memorial on Sunday, October 6th. The raise averages 3%. You will first see your new rate in the October 17th paycheck.

The raise is $.23 + 2% per hour. The $.23 is an average of 1% for SHARE members and is added to every SHARE member's base pay. The 2% is added to your base rate if you are below your grade maximum. If you are at or above your grade maximum, you get the 2% as a one-time bonus. The grade minimums and maximums will go up by $.23, to keep up with inflation. The additional 2% moves you up within your grade toward your grade maximum, unless you are already at max.

You can calculate your raise (or raise and bonus) following the steps listed here.  (Or, for "increment based" SHARE job titles, you can find your new rate in the pay grids here. The grade minimums and maximums for peer-slotted jobs, such as Radiology Tech and LPN, are posted here.) To read the contract language that describes the raises, look here.

There are two more raises in this contract, October 5, 2014, and October 4, 2015. They are both the same amount as this raise.

Any questions? Call SHARE at 508-929-4020 and leave a message on the general voicemail. One of the SHARE staff will call you back to answer your questions.

Monday, September 9, 2013

SHARE 401(k) Info Meetings -- Off to a Good Start

The SHARE 401(k) Info Meetings are off to a good start. SHARE members are taking advantage of this opportunity to meet with SHARE Organizers, HR Benefits representatives, and Fidelity representatives for help with saving for retirement. So far people who come to the meetings fall into these categories:

  • Sign me up: Some folks come ready to sign up to start saving for retirement in the UMass Memorial 401(k) plan. They sit with a Fidelity rep and sign up on the spot with Fidelity's iPads.
  • Tell me about it: Some come to learn about the 401(k) -- how it works, how the match from management works, and how taking out an amount like 1% or 4% would affect their take-home pay. These folks sit together for a short information session with SHARE, Fidelity or someone from HR Benefits.
  • I've got a question: Some people come just to get an answer to a specific question.
  • I want to increase my deduction: With a SHARE raise coming on October 1st, some folks have decided that this is the perfect time to increase the amount they are having deducted from their check. If you start deductions or increase your deductions at the same time as the raise, you won't notice the difference as much.

It's a relaxed meeting. Feel free to bring your lunch. For the schedule of meetings, see below.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Saving for Retirement: The UMass Memorial 401(k)

SHARE Lunch-time Information Meetings
SHARE is partnering with HR Benefits and Fidelity for these 401K Information Meetings because we believe planning for retirement is important for SHARE members.

Location                                                Date         Time
Barre              Conference Room          Sept 5        11:30-1:00
University      S2-351                            Sept 6        11:30-1:30
Tri River        Community Room         Sept 10      11:30-1:00
Hahnemann   Anne Nemitz Room      Sept 11       11:30-1:30
Biotech 3        Seminar Room 227       Sept 13       12-1:00
PTC                 1st floor classroom       Sept 16       2:30-3:30
CBO                 4th floor Conf Room     Sept 17       12-1:30
WBC                Ford Room                     Sept 18      11:30-1:30
CBO                 4th floor Conf Room      Sept 19      11:30-1:00
University      S2-351                              Sept 20      11:30-1:30
Memorial       Memorial 1 (near caf.)   Sept 23      11:30-1:30
Memorial       Memorial 1 (near caf.)   Sept 26      11:30-1:30

Stop in during your lunch. It will be a “rolling” meeting so you won’t miss anything if you’re only there for part of it. Bring your lunch and a friend! Questions? Leave a message at SHARE, 508-929-4020 extension 0, and someone will call you back.

• All Welcome •
(Feel free to invite co-workers who aren't in SHARE.) 

How do I enroll in the 401(k)?
It’s easy! You can enroll at the meeting if you want to.

I’m young, I don’t need that yet!
The earlier you start saving, the less you need to save every week.

I’m retiring in a few years, is it too late for me to start?
Better late than never – you can still save, and take advantage of the UMass Memorial match.

Can I change my mind? Can I increase the amount of money I contribute? Can I stop my deductions if I need to? What if I leave UMass Memorial?
All of these questions will be answered at the Information Meetings.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

SHARE Biomed Techs' Proposal Would Save $1 Million per Year and Keep the Service In-House

The Biomed team after they presented their proposal.
(Will Erickson is missing because he took the picture.)

On Tuesday, July 9, the team of five SHARE Biomed Techs, SHARE Organizers and a process improvement consultant made their proposal to George Brenckle, Senior VP/Chief Information Officer. The proposal is the result of two months of intensive work, and contains six major ideas to make the Techs’ work more efficient and to add value to our hospital system. The proposed savings total over $1 million per year, after the first start-up year.

In April, UMass Memorial told SHARE about their plan to contract out Biomed Services. (See full article here.) The Techs' proposal is the result of SHARE’s new contract language that allows us to present an alternative to contracting out.

In the proposal, the vendor contracts (work that the in-house Biomed Techs don’t do) would be “bundled” and put out for bid, saving the hospital an amount cautiously estimated at $600,000. The five cost-saving and value-adding initiatives areas are:
  • Service Parts and Vendor Services
  • Work Order and Documentation
  • Preventive Maintenance Schedule
  • Continuous Improvement and User Education
  • New Work

These initiatives will lay the groundwork for future improvements in areas like up-time, response time, and delaying of capital expenditures for departments.
“Figuring out how to do our work in a way that was more efficient, but that didn’t sacrifice the quality our users have come to expect from us, took a lot of work.  Even though we knew a lot about what we did, we still had a lot to learn. But it ended up being a really rewarding experience, and it feels good to be taking on a new level of responsibility for our work.  I think all the time now about how we can get the work done better, and am hopeful that the hospital will give us a chance to do that.”   -- Rob Beatty, Biomed Tech
The team worked with Scott Camlin, a process improvement expert from Restructuring Associates that SHARE brought in, to analyze their work flow and come up with ways to streamline their work. 

Results from the SHARE Biomed User survey proved very helpful. (If you filled it out – thank you very much! See results here.)
“I’ve worked for both types of Clinical Engineering service groups -- third party and in-house programs -- and I believe a well-run in-house CE program works out better both financially and logistically for the Hospital. We can provide higher quality service than an outside vendor while controlling all decisions regarding staffing, cost and approach to all the Clinical Engineering service needs of the UMass Memorial Healthcare system." -- Paul Doherty, Biomed Tech
“In the recent past, UMass Memorial has sold Home Health and the outreach labs. SHARE members worry what services are next to be sold or contracted out. The Biomed techs do a great job in our department, and we know we can count on them – we hope they stay in-house!” -- Denise Page, PCA II, University Campus Emergency Dept
SHARE believes that the best way to streamline work and improve quality is to fully involve the employees. “We hope that the Biomed project is just the beginning for SHARE members helping to improve patient care throughout our hospitals,” said Will Erickson, SHARE Organizer. “True engagement in fixing problems together is the best way to change the culture at UMass Memorial.”

To see the full SHARE Biomed proposal, click here.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Bill Walker, SHARE Biomed Tech, Talks about Contracting out Biomed

Bill Walker is one of the SHARE Biomed Techs who helped with the proposal to UMass Memorial to save money and keep the Biomed service in-house. He works on the University Campus. Here's what Bill has to say about the idea of contracting out Biomed:
"We all know that costs have to be reduced as healthcare changes, and we do not argue that point. We do, however, argue that in many cases, after a few years of a hospital not having control over the quality of service, and actually finding that the savings are not really there, that the service is once again brought back in house, with great expense to re-hire, re-train, and re-tool. 
Some of the current techs MAY be asked to join the new company. The problem there is that the new company will sign the paychecks, and you can't work for two masters. The "buy in" you get from people who care about our patients and the quality of the service we provide will no longer be the priority.  Profit for the new company will.
Here in the Biomed shop at University, we have over 250 combined years of experience in our field. The Memorial and Hahnemann shops are equally well-experienced.  I love coming to work every day -- I work with the best team of professionals that I have worked with in the 35 years I have been repairing medical equipment. I always try to make our patients' stay here as wonderful as possible, in any way I can. 
 I love this place, and I bring my family here for care. My name is among the many donors to the Emergency Fund on the plaque in the Atrium because of the care my family has received, particularly my autistic son Josh, who is a frequent flyer in our ED. 
My teammates and I want to remain hospital employees, as we strive to make our services even better."

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Clinical Engineering: Contract Them Out?

UMass Memorial management is considering contracting out Biomed Engineering (also known as Clinical Engineering) to save the hospital money. If the hospital decides to accept the outsourcing bid, an outside company would take over the maintenance of UMass Memorial Healthcare machines and devices.

The SHARE Biomed Technicians are quite concerned, as you can imagine. If their work is contracted out, some of them might be offered jobs by the outside company and continue to work here at UMass Memorial, but that would be up to the new company. We don't know what the wages or benefits might be. We have been told that the outside vendor would have fewer technicians permanently located on site, and use floats as needed. A number of the Biomed Techs are within a few years of retirement, and are concerned that the new company might not want to hire them. 

The SHARE Biomed Technicians are also quite worried about the quality of work that a third party company would deliver at UMass Memorial. Some of them have worked for third party companies before, and know that the level of commitment to the patients, to the hospital, and to the community is just not the same. Many of them have chosen to work at UMass Memorial because Clinical Engineering here is an in-house operation where they can do their best quality work. Others have seen Clinical Engineering departments elsewhere be contracted out, only to be brought back in-house within a few years because the hospitals’ control over quality was lower and the costs ended up being higher with the third party vendor. 

Trying to Keep the Jobs In-House

SHARE proposed to UMass Memorial that we explore alternatives together before deciding whether to contract out Clinical Engineering. SHARE believes that front-line employees can be deeply involved in solving problems: They are experienced and knowledgeable about the work, and committed to quality patient care and to their hospitals. We believe that if SHARE members and Clinical Engineering managers engage in process improvement together – analyzing the data and the contracts, studying the work flow in a deliberate and thorough way – we may be able to find enough savings to keep the work in-house.

UMass Memorial agreed to give the Biomed Technicians and SHARE the time and the data needed to work on an alternative that saves the hospital money while continuing to provide high quality services. Five SHARE Biomed Techs and several SHARE organizers are meeting with managers from Clinical Engineering and Human Resources to look at how to make their work more efficient and how to use that time to do work that saves the hospital money. Soon the SHARE team will present their proposal. Stay tuned.

A New Direction for the Future

Working together to prevent outsourcing is a positive new challenge for SHARE and UMass Memorial. If we can figure out how to do this work together, many more SHARE employees can have a say about solving problems in their work areas, and UMass Memorial will be better able to deal with all the changes we face in healthcare today and tomorrow.

Please Take Our Survey

The Biomed Techs and SHARE organizers would like to hear from anyone at UMass Memorial who has thoughts – ideas or concerns –  about this. We welcome all ideas, and would very much like to involve end-users in the conversation. Please take a few minutes to fill out our survey at:

New Contract Language: Outsourcing, Closing, or Selling Parts of UMass Memorial

In the last contract negotiations, we added a section about contracting out and selling off parts of UMass Memorial. With the recent sale of Home Health and the Outreach part of Anatomic Pathology, it seemed really important to come to an understanding about this trend. Here's what the contract now says:

SHARE and UMass Memorial agree that we will do everything possible to avoid layoffs from outsourcing, closing, contracting out or selling parts of UMass Memorial. 
When UMass Memorial considers outsourcing, closing, or selling a part of the hospital that would result in job loss or changes for SHARE members, SHARE will be notified as early in the decision-making process as is reasonable under the circumstances. The employer and the union will meet to determine if it can be avoided. Alternative proposals from SHARE for restructuring the work, or other ways to resolve the problem, will be given serious consideration.  
If, after discussion, UMass Memorial concludes that it is still necessary to outsource, close, or sell part of the hospital, SHARE members will become work-security candidates, with access to the full work security program (see “Layoffs and Work Security”).  
In the event that a SHARE member’s position is reopened within the UMass Memorial system after contracting out, closing, or sale, the SHARE member will retain the right to recall to an open position in their old department for which they are qualified, with full bridging of service for the time he or she was away up to six years. 
SHARE and UMass Memorial will explore providing additional options within the work security program to help place SHARE members when a group is laid off in a job title that is difficult to place within UMass Memorial Medical Center. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Coming Soon: 401K Education for SHARE Members

As most of you know, SHARE agreed to pension changes in our most recent contract negotiations with UMass Memorial. One change is that the employer match for 401(k) contributions will double when the changes go into effect in 2017. The 401(k) will be important for future retirees, especially young SHARE members who will be in the new plan most of their careers.

Our pension survey last spring showed that half of SHARE members don't currently contribute to retirement savings through a 401(k) at UMass Memorial. Many said that they can't afford to take money out of their checks. Others said that more information about how the 401K works would help them to sign up for it. That's why SHARE is working with Human Resources to plan a series of Information Meetings for SHARE members about how the 401(k) works. We'll answer questions like:

  • Do I need to put money into a 401(k)?
  • How much money will UMass Memorial put into my account?
  • How do I figure out how much money I should have taken out, and how much difference will I see in my check?
  • What paperwork do I need to fill out? How do I do it?

We're aiming for September for the Information Meetings. Anyone who decides to open a 401(k) account start to contribute in October when the next raise is scheduled. If you'd like to get involved in planning the meetings, or to request one in your area, give the SHARE office a call (508-929-4020).

Pension Changes Start 2017

SHARE members have a defined benefit pension, which is a very good thing for us, because it provides a guaranteed monthly income in retirement. The 401(k) savings plan is in addition to the defined benefit pension and Social Security.

In contract negotiations, we agreed on future changes to both the defined benefit pension, and the 401(k). No changes will happen before 2017. In 2017, UMass Memorial will double their matching contribution to the 401(k), and change the formula for calculating the pension for 2017 and laterWhen the changes to the pension come, they will be gradual. SHARE members will continue adding to their pensions in 2017 and after, but at a slower rate. Everything that you have accrued in your pension is protected, and can't be taken away. (So, if you're debating whether to retire in, say, 2016 or 2017, the pension change shouldn't be a factor.) The full details of the pension agreement between SHARE and UMass Memorial are described beginning on page 3 of the most recent contract.

Stay tuned for details about the 401(k) Information Meetings.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Postcard from the LERA Conference

I had thought we would be able to catch our breath for a minute here and there and provide some updates during the LERA conference. But it was a whirlwind!

And, it was a good whirlwind. We attend these sorts of conferences from time to time for a couple of primary reasons. We have a unique union, and it's useful to build a web of connections among other unions and organizations that believe in positive, collaborative work. We often find that people who are interested in work systems are interested in SHARE's model. Perhaps most importantly, we learn a lot, and bring that learning back to our own union. 

I can't begin to convey everything about the conference here. This'll be a quick summary, and I'd love to talk with anyone who wants to know more about what we learned. LERA is the Labor and Employment Relations Association, and this was their 65th conference meeting, "The Future of Work," bringing together academics and labor leaders from all over.

We met folks from around the globe, many of them dealing with issues like the ones we face every day, many of them with particularly sharp ideas. We were hit up with interesting questions about the work that we're doing at SHARE: how we're addressing problems in patient experience, how we're working to protect our hospital and our members from outsourcing, and how we try hard to create connections within our union. It's awfully exciting to know that people from around the country have been talking about what SHARE has been doing. 

For me, the most inspiring example of important work being done to help workers elsewhere was described by Cheryl Feldman, with the AFSCME 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund. She delivered a talk entitled "Investing in a Skilled Workforce: A Win-Win for Workers and Employers." She gave a very inspiring description of her work over the past 30+ years, creating job ladders and training opportunities for climbing those ladders for AFSCME members in Philadelphia.

I was fascinated by Adam Seth Litwin's study of employee engagement at the Kaiser Permanente hospitals. It was heartening to hear his research finding scientifically what has been true in our experience: improving the workplace is complex. And, in the end, frontline employees really do hold much of the most important intelligence, and they are the ones who make quality outcomes happen.

There was inspiration to be had, but there was discouragement, too. I learned that nearly half the households in the United States don't have retirement funds. And, enough companies have filed for bankruptcy, (thereby skirting their commitment to pay out their Defined Benefit pensions), that the government agencies who bail out those companies are themselves facing financial problems. Meanwhile, powerful organizations such as ALEC have been successfully coordinating efforts to undermine the economic progress of working people.

We've got a lot of leads to explore. Timothy Vogus' concept of mindfulness organizing resonated with me, and his emphasis on expertise over authority. A neighbor at Brandeis University, Jody Hoffer Gittell, talked about the ways that our relationships with one another affect the "Lean" process improvement method that is currently so popular among management leaders.

We caught a fun Cardinals game, discovered a very nifty Indian import store, and went a little cross-eyed staring up at the impressive St. Louis arch. Now we're excited to talk more about what we've learned, and incorporate the good ideas into our own union.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Wish you were here: greetings from St. Louis!

Greetings from the conference of the Labor and Employment Relations Association! I am here with fellow SHARE organizer Janet Wilder, and a few hundred labor and business leaders from around the world, not to mention quite a few academics. There is an impressive looking roster of panels to attend. First up, this one: "Addressing Healthcare Challenges on the Frontlines: Partnership, Involvement, Voice and Mindful Organizing." Hope to learn a bunch. More to come…

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Things SHARE members should know about the possible University MNA strike

SHARE members are asking a lot of questions about what will happen if the MNA strikes for one day and then UMass Memorial management keeps the replacement nurses for an additional for 4 days. SHARE very much hopes that the University MNA and UMass Memorial can come to an agreement without the need for a strike. Just in case, we are answering some of the questions that we have heard. (As you've probably heard, the Memorial MNA and UMass Memorial came to an agreement, so there will be no strike on the Memorial campus.

Q.  Should I go to work if the MNA goes on strike?

A.  Yes. The MNA is not asking SHARE members to stay out of work if they strike. The SHARE contract, like most union contracts, says we won't go on strike while our contract is in effect. SHARE employees would not be protected from discipline if they didn’t come to work.

Q.  I would like to show my support for the nurses in the MNA -- how should I do that?

A.  We expect that the MNA will welcome us to walk their picket line with them. You should do this on our own time: before or after work, or during your regular lunch break.

Q.  I hear that some units may close if there's a strike. What if my unit closes?

A.  You can be floated to another unit to do a comparable job to help with patient care. If you think that might happen, ask your manager to be oriented there ahead of time, before you are needed to float. Your manager could also ask you if you want to stay home and use your own time. The SHARE contract says that you don't have to go home and use your time if you don't want to (see the language about TOWOP here), but you could be floated to another unit. 
Q.  We're getting asked to sign up for extra shifts.

A.  Yes, that's happening in a bunch of places. You can sign up for extra hours to help out. If you are being mandated to work extra time and you want help with it, call SHARE at 508-929-4020.

Q.  What if I get asked to do RN work?

A.  You can be asked to do work if it's within your scope of practice. Don't do anything you don't feel confident doing. 

If you need information or advice during the strike, give the SHARE office a call. We'll be staffing the phones, and have SHARE organizers at the hospitals to help resolve any issues. If you get the voicemail when you call the SHARE office at 508-929-4020, leave a message at  for the general voicemail by pressing 0.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

No SHARE Rep vote May 22


Rep Elections for 
the Nursing Floor & ER Regions 
at the Memorial and University main campuses


There will be no voting for Union Reps this year. There were enough spots for all the candidates because a couple of nominees declined the nomination.

Full list of Reps and Executive Board members coming soon!

If you have any questions, please call the SHARE office at 508-929-4020.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

SHARE Union Rep Elections

Rep Elections for 
the Nursing Floor & ER Regions 
at the Memorial and University main campuses

on Wed, May 22, 2013

6:30am - 4pm  Memorial Cafeteria
6:30am - 4pm  University Cafeteria 
                         (back right corner)

To vote for SHARE Union Reps in the Nursing Floors & ER Region, you must work in one of the departments in that area (see lists below), and have signed a SHARE membership card.  

If you have any questions, please call the SHARE office at 508-929-4020.

There will be no voting for Union Reps in the other regions, because there were enough spots for all the nominees.

We will send out a list of all new and returning SHARE Reps & Executive Board members after the elections in the nursing regions.

Memorial Nursing Floors & ER Region

University Nursing Floors & ER Region

Friday, April 12, 2013

Food Survey Results . . . and tasty things to come

Hi all! We have some preliminary feedback about the SHARE Food Survey. We'll provide a full breakdown of the results soon. In the meanwhile, if you would still like to tell us about the food situation at your work site, we're still interested to use your ideas and incorporate your feedback into the results.

So far we've received over 650 Food Survey responses, primarily from SHARE members. We're learning a lot about meals and meal-breaks in all of the SHARE hospital and school locations. Among other things, the survey clearly demonstrates that SHARE members have a real interest in the quality, cost, healthfulness, and efficiency of the food offered at the cafeterias. When respondents reported how many times per day they eat in a cafeteria, the results were:

  • once: 49%
  • twice: 32%
  • 3 or more times: 19%

Already, as a result of our conversations with cafeteria management, together with representatives from WooFood, we're seeing healthful improvements in the fare.  We're optimistic that this ongoing conversation can be a part of the change that we intend to see in our hospital. We want our break areas be places where we can eat well and enjoy spending time. We want, too, for our cafeterias to be places that serve as an extension of our care to patients and the community.

Also! Speaking of food, how about a virtual recipe swap? Any interest in a vegetable gardening club? Wouldn't it be a good idea to share reviews of local restaurants? Talk to your area SHARE representative, or give me a holler (kirk.davis@theshareunion.org--or--508-929-4020 x18) if you have an idea, want to get involved . . . or just have a favorite recipe that you'd like to confer to the SHARE blog readers. More soon!

Friday, February 22, 2013

2013 Central Mass AFL/CIO Scholarship Award

The SHARE office just received a letter with the following announcement about a scholarship opportunity for our members and their families. More details should be posted soon on the Central Mass AFL-CIO website. In the meanwhile, if you would like to receive a copy of the nomination form, please leave a message in the SHARE office at 508-929-4020 with your contact information.

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 7, 2013

The scholarships will be presented at the Labor Day breakfast September 2, 2013

To be eligible, the student must be a 2013 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, 2013 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

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Whoa. Mo' snow.

Looks like we're in for another bout with the white stuff! Be safe. Might be a good time to reprint this old blog post:

SHARE reps have had lots of conversations recently about the hospital's severe weather policy. The full policy is posted below. The shortest summary is probably this: "All employees are expected to report to work, unless the severe weather plan in their department allows them to stay home."

Please take good care when making decisions about traveling in extreme weather. Also, please contact us if you have questions, or would like help to develop a plan in your own department.

Severe Weather
UMass Memorial is an essential community service and as such will continue its operations without regard to weather conditions. However, UMass Memorial and SHARE recognize that severe weather conditions can interfere with the ability of employees to come to work, and agree to the following:

Staffing plans

The CNO, CMO, Hospital President and Vice-Presidents are responsible for developing a fair and equitable staffing plan to ensure continued essential services, and for informing employees of staffing and attendance requirements.

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 described above. 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.

All employees are expected to report to work, unless the severe weather plan in their department allows them to stay home.

Staying at work

Employees who are working during severe weather conditions are expected to work through the end of their assigned work shift unless they are excused earlier. In extreme situations, employees may be required to work beyond the end of their normal scheduled work shift if the manager determines it necessary to meet patient care and operational needs. SHARE overtime rules will apply.

Department closing, early dismissal
If a department is closed for all or part of the day due to severe weather, employees may go home (see pay for missed hours) or choose to report to/remain at work. The hospital may assign people who stay at work to perform different functions than their normal job. For a work assignment in an area other than your own, page the nursing supervisor/bed management: for the University campus, pager #2044; for the Memorial campus (on evenings, nights, weekends and holidays) pager #3318.

Grace period for late arrivals
The office of the CEO or his/her designee may establish a paid grace period for arriving late to work. The length of the grace period will be based on the severity of the weather conditions.

Pay for missed hours

Other than late arrivals covered by an established grace period, employees who miss all or part of their work shift may use earned, vacation or personal time, or choose to go unpaid for the hours they missed. When appropriate, an employee may make up the time that week, by mutual consent between the employee and the supervisor. Made up hours will be paid at straight time unless weekly hours total more than 40.

Excused and unexcused absences
If an employee does not work because the department is closed, or because they are not required to come to work, it will be considered an excused absence. Late arrivals covered by an established grace period will be considered an excused absence. Other absences from work on a severe weather day will be considered unexcused.


When severe weather makes travel unsafe, or in a state of emergency, transportation assistance may be available. Requests for assistance should be directed to the nursing supervisor/bed management: for the University campus, pager #2044; for the Memorial campus (on evenings, nights, weekends and holidays) pager #3318. When necessary, communication with external bodies such as the National Guard and ambulance carriers will be coordinated through these offices.

Friday, January 25, 2013

We want to know what you think: Cafeteria Survey

We understand that UMass Memorial management will soon be negotiating a new contract for our hospitals' cafeterias. We would like to encourage them to use this opportunity to make significant improvements in our cafeterias, and in the culture around eating in all of our facilities. We can make this case best if we know what you think.

Please take our  Cafeteria Survey!

Your responses will be anonymous. The survey should take five to ten minutes to complete. Thank you!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Union Dues Increase

We are writing to let you know that the dues will increase in 2013 by 7 cents per week.

  • The regular rate, for everyone over 20 hours/week, is going up to $8.12 (from $8.05)
  • The rate for people scheduled for 20 hours/week is going up to $6.10 (from $6.07)

The first week at the new rate will be the week ending 1/5/2013, so it will show up in the 1/10/2013 paycheck.

The dues usually go up a bit every January, but for the past 2 years there has been no increase.

How is the dues increase decided?

The annual dues increase is set by our national union, AFSCME. They calculate the increase by looking at the average raise in the previous year for AFSCME members across the country (over a million people, with many in the public sector). We have had pay raises for the past 3 years. Unfortunately for AFSCME members in general, however, the average of pay raises, pay cuts, and unpaid furloughs has been zero for the past 2 years, and is low this year. Fortunately for us, this has resulted in no dues increase for 2 years, and a small increase this year.

If you have any questions, please call the SHARE office at 508-929-4020, or email Comment@theSHAREunion.org.