Thursday, December 31, 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015

1651 SHARE Members Completed the Negotiations Survey

Thank you to everyone who completed the SHARE Negotiations Survey. All total, we received 1651 surveys, which represents 64% of the SHARE membership.

We'll provide a breakdown of the numbers on this blog soon. We're now beginning to read all the responses, so that SHARE's Negotiating Team can use them in preparation for sitting down at the table with management in next year's round of negotiations.

Although this survey is now closed, we'll continue having many many conversations, collecting feedback and ideas, both leading up to and throughout the negotiations process. In the new year, SHARE will hold information meetings around the hospital system. We really appreciate the time you have taken to let us know your priorities, and your feedback about what could improve your day-to-day experience at UMass Memorial. If you would like to talk with a SHARE Representative about contract negotiations, please let us know!

Small Dues Increase in 2016

In 2016, SHARE union dues will increase by $.18 per week for most SHARE members. That's an increase of $9.36 for the whole year, or less than half a cent per hour if you work 40 hours. (For employees working 20 hrs/week, dues will increase $.13 per week.) Below are the old and new rates per week.

Weekly Dues

Where do the dues go?

About 65% stays with SHARE at UMass Memorial and our sister unions at UMass Medical School, Harvard University, and the Cambridge Health Alliance. Together our four local unions form NEOP (New England Organizing Project). As NEOP, we pool our money and share expenses: staff, rent and utilities, printing and mailing, etc.

The other 35% of the money goes to our national union, AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) in Washington, DC. They spend that money on organizing new local unions (they funded us when we formed our union here), lobbying (like for the FMLA), research (like looking at contract trends across the country), etc.

Let us know if you would like more detailed information about SHARE’s expenses or AFSCME’s expenses. The SHARE office number is 508-929-4020.

How is the dues increase determined?

Our national union, AFSCME, calculates the annual increase based on the average raise for AFSCME members across the country. The new rate goes into effect each January.

Union Plus Scholarship Opportunity

The Union Plus Education Foundation is now receiving applications for their 2016 Scholarship Program. The awards range from $500 to $4,000.

The application deadline is Saturday, January 31, 2016.

This is a competitive scholarship, and applicants are evaluated according to academic ability, social awareness, financial need and appreciation of labor. A GPA of 3.0 or higher is recommended.

Undergraduate and graduate students are eligible. The Scholarship Program is open to current and retired members of unions participating in any Union Plus program (e.g., AFSCME), their spouses and their dependent children (as defined by IRS regulations). At least one year of continuous union membership by the applicant, applicant's spouse or parent (if applicant is a dependent). The one year membership minimum must be satisfied by May 31, 2016.

The applicant must be accepted into a U.S. accredited college or university, community college, technical or trade school at the time the award is issued. Awards must be used for the 2016 - 2017 school year. You do not have to purchase any Union Plus product or participate in any Union Plus program to be eligible.

Applicants should note that the application requires you to list the national or international union name, local union number, local union's address, phone number and the name of the local union President or Business Manager.  You need this information for your union, your spouse's union or your parent's union (if you are a dependent).  If you or your family members are affiliated with multiple unions you must list this information for all.

As a member of SHARE, you are also a member of our parent organization, AFSCME, a qualifying union. Please note that the “local number” for SHARE on the Hospital-side is AFSCME Local 3900. The SHARE Hospital-side co-presidents are Rita Caputo and Bobbi-Jo Lewis.

For more details, and to access the online application dashboard, please see the Union Plus Scholarship website.

Scholarship Opportunities for SHARE Members and Dependents

SHARE's parent organization, AFSCME, earlier this week published to their blog the following information about scholarships. As members of AFSCME, all SHARE members qualify. Please note that the application deadlines are rapidly approaching!

Many families are struggling with the costs of college tuition — or paying off college loans. AFSCME members and their children or dependents can apply for scholarships that could substantially reduce college costs. Here are two scholarship options currently accepting applications:
The Gerald W. McEntee Scholarship is a one-time award of $5,000 granted to one AFSCME member each year.  The scholarship is given to the member who best exemplifies the former president’s commitment to strengthening our union through organizing, building political power for working families, defending workers’ rights and supporting public services. The application deadline is Jan. 31.
The AFSCME Family Scholarship is an award of $2,000, renewable for up to four years, granted to 10 rising high school seniors each year. Any senior whose parent or legal guardian is an active AFSCME member may apply. The application deadline is Dec. 31.
Visit to learn more and download application materials.
Already graduated? AFSCME is committed to helping union members navigate the student loan process. You may qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program or Income-Driven Loan repayment, which can help dramatically reduce your monthly payments. You can find out more at

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Five-Tidbit Friday: December 18th, 2015


When you’re shopping, do you want to buy products that are union made? Don’t use slave labor?  Fair trade? Cruelty free? Environmentally responsible? You can now use your phone to scan labels and make purchases that line up with your own personal ethics. Check out for details.


Please, shop responsibly

If you want to browse for ideas, Made-in-America by union employees, check out the AFL-CIO gift guide.

One must go to great lengths to make the Extra Mile . . .

Or, use the Labor 411 website for another thorough listing of union-made products. The list even includes union breweries and distilleries.

After all, if you're looking to mix up a classy drink at New Year's (say, an Extra Mile?) shouldn't you use a reputable union-made rye, such as Knob Creek or Woodford Reserve?


Do you know your rights as a renter? This story on WGBH explains how the law is on your side, and gives advice for dealing with Winter issues. And everybody should remember to check their smoke and carbon detectors, of course.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released its Employment Situation Summary, and Dan Diamond of the Advisory Board Company highlights that one in every nine jobs is in healthcare. Over on Twitter, Bob Herman (@MHbherman) notes that, in particular, "Hospital Hiring is relentless. Up 13,400 in November. 23,800 jobs added last month overall."

190 Mustaches?


The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Mustaches Outnumber Women Among Medical-School Leaders.

Although SHARE more blog posts are coming, this column is taking a break until 2016, which, really, isn't all that far off. In the meanwhile, happy holidays! See you here next year . . .  

Friday, December 11, 2015

Rutgers Professors Study SHARE Efforts

Professor Adrienne Eaton

Two weeks ago, SHARE hosted a pair of labor relations professors from Rutgers University in New Jersey, Adrienne Eaton and Becky Givan.  They came to study the work our union does to help SHARE members implement their ideas for improving their work. 

Dr. Eaton and Dr. Givan are writing an article about the different ways hospital unions and management are trying to transform their hospitals, involving front line staff to both improve patient care and make their hospital a better place to work. SHARE has a different, uncommon approach that drew the researchers' attention. They say that in some hospitals unions and management work to first focus on setting up committees at the top. The pair is interested in how SHARE begins with front-line employees--for example, engaging front-line staff to make idea boards and huddles useful to toward their own work.

Professor Becky Givan

Many of you generously took time out of your week to share with them your insights about how these efforts are going, as well as how you feel about your jobs, and the distance we still need to travel. Thank you to you, and to your coworkers for covering for you!

Adrienne Eaton's previous book, involving unions and quality improvement in the Kaiser Permanente hospital network

Dr. Eaton told us that in her work, she finds that most attempts between unions and management to improve the workplace begin with agreements between top-level leadership in both organizations.

Five-Tidbit Friday: December 11, 2015


It looks like we’re doing a decent job washing our hands. Under guidelines in effect for the past two years as part of the Affordable Care Act, the UMass Memorial Hospital campuses have fared well. Congratulations to SHARE members for their work in helping keep patients safe and saving our hospital money.

Based on the numbers from 2015, reports that, “758 hospitals . . . will see their Medicare payments reduced by 1% for ranking in the bottom quartile.” Due to its performance, UMass Memorial will avoid this penalty. For a full list of hospital scores nationally, see the Medicare HAC Reduction Program website.

This success builds on a positive national trend; according to Healthcare Finance News, “From 2010 to 2014, there’s been 2.1 million fewer hospital-acquired conditions and $19.8 billion in costs have been averted.” We look forward to making those numbers trend further in the right direction.


Occasionally the SHARE staff receives questions about union offers and catalogs that are mailed directly to your homes. These mailings come automatically from SHARE’s parent union, AFSCME, and so SHARE doesn't have much more information about them. One particular offer that has come through recently is called “AFSCME Advantage,” which allows users to shop and then pay for items directly from their paychecks over the course of a year. Unlike credit card purchases, these purchases involve no interest and no fees. You can find more details about this program here


The AFSCME Advantage program registration requires applicants to include their AFSCME Member ID number. While the SHARE office receives no record of your AFSCME ID, you can find that number on the address label of any mailing sent to your home from AFSCME. It looks something like this:


Legislators have proposed a two-year delay on the implementation of the healthcare “Cadillac Tax” provisions under the Affordable Care Act. Employers, including UMass Memorial, have been preparing to have to deal with the "cadillac tax" if and when it gets implemented.

The Cadillac Tax is currently slated to go into effect in 2018, and would require employers to pay a 40% tax on the value of any healthcare coverage that exceeds $10,200 for single coverage or $27,500 for families in premium costs starting in 2018.

The Wall Street Journal explains that, “A delay would punt the fate of the tax . . . to the next president, who is likely to be more open to striking it down. Republican presidential candidates have supported a repeal, as has Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.” According to, “If the tax is repealed or indefinitely delayed, the government will lose the estimated $91 billion in revenue the tax would bring during the next decade.”


Another program that might be helpful to you during holiday shopping is Union Plus, which is administered by the AFL-CIO non-profit called Union Privilege. The program is designed to use “collective negotiating strength of more than 13 million union member to negotiate solid values for consumers available from nationally known providers.” This provides discounts on items and services ranging from entertainment to heating oil. For a full list of features available to SHARE members, click here.

See you here next Friday. Hope you have a very decent weekend . . .

Friday, December 4, 2015

Scenes from the University Campus Craft Fair

Vince Pillari from the Blood Bank
The holiday season is off to a good start after the recent University Campus Employee Craft Fair. This year's event revives an old tradition that many SHARE members remember fondly. SHARE members--including Tanya Cournoyer and Rita Caputo, pictured below with their wares--helped to coordinate the event. Many other SHARE members showed off their crafts.

Vince Pillari, for example, from the Blood Bank, was glad to see the Craft Fair happening again this year. He was inspired to log extra hours at his workbench carving and soldering the ornaments pictured here.

“Ree’s Creations”

Tanya Cournoyer and Rita Caputo from Primary Care

Lisa Geneva from Employee Health at "Lisa's Soap Kitchen"
Genevieve Rentas from the Pediatric Clinic, with her daughter and their handmade wreaths