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 . . .


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

Did You Sign up for Benefits?

At the moment, 440 SHARE members have not yet enrolled for health insurance or other benefits on MyBenefits, according to HR. That number probably includes some who don't get their health insurance through UMass Memorial, but definitely a lot of folks who currently do get their health insurance from here.

Friday is the deadline to sign up for health insurance -- everyone knows that, right? If you don't enroll by Friday, you won't have health insurance in 2017. SHARE just wants to make sure nobody gets left without health insurance!

Here's the link:
Refer to your 2017 Open Enrollment Guide mailed to your house, or visit MyHR and HRConnect for more info about this year's open enrollment.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Memorial SHARE Members Come Out Singing for a Strong Contract

The Memorial Amphitheater played host today to SHARE members who got an update about negotiations, and shared some laughs and smiles in support of our negotiating team. So fun!

We have a couple more gatherings lined up next week. Please join us if you can.
  •  University Campus (Old Medical School Lobby, by the book store) Wednesday, November 9, 12:15-12:30
  • 306 Belmont (Cafeteria) Thursday, November 10, 12:15-12:30

Thursday, November 3, 2016

SHARE Members Show their Support

SHARE members gathered today outside their building at 67 Millbrook Street to have some fun and show support for the SHARE negotiating team.

Tomorrow (Friday, November 4th) SHARE members will gather at the amphitheater at Memorial, 12:15-12:30. If you work at University, join us on Wednesday, November 9th, 12:15-12:30 in the Old School Lobby by the book store. Don't be late, or you'll miss the fun!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Gatherings to Help Move Negotiations Forward

Join us to show your support, get a quick update about what's going on in negotiations and hear (or sing along!) a couple songs with special SHARE contract negotiations lyrics! Come make your voice heard in support of the SHARE Negotiating Team.

We are negotiating about raises and you can read more here.

Thursday, November 3 - 67 Millbrook, outside by the picnic tables
Friday, November 4 - Memorial amphitheater across from the cafeteria
Wednesday, November 9 - University, Old Medical School Lobby, by the book store
Thursday, November 10 - 306 Belmont, location TBA

All gatherings are short: 12:15-12:30. Don't be late or you'll miss it!

Questions? Call the SHARE office at 508-929-4020.

See you there!

SHARE Negotiations Update: Still Negotiating about Raises

SHARE and UMass Memorial have not yet reached a contract agreement. The biggest remaining issue is raises. SHARE will continue negotiating until we can agree on better numbers. 

What a Good Raise Means for SHARE Members

In the last few weeks, the SHARE Negotiating Team has talked with lots of SHARE members about raises, at lunchtime information meetings and in one-to-one conversations. Here’s a summary of what we are hearing:
  • SHARE Members are Working Harder than Ever: “Do more with less” – we hear it all the time. Many SHARE members feel we’ve never worked harder in our lives than we are working right now. Slim staffing is the rule, not the exception. Some work systems require you to be a hero every day just to do a good job. Given how hard we are working, SHARE members feel our hard work should be recognized with good, solid raises.
  • Equity: When thinking about raises for SHARE folks, management needs to understand the impact of percentage raises for lower paid employees. For example, a 2% raise for the median SHARE member would add $19, before taxes, to each weekly paycheck if they work full time. For SHARE members who make less, that number would be as low as $12 per week, lowering their post-tax raise to single digits. Other unions have robust step raises in addition to their cost-of-living adjustments, moving people through their grade to max. Of course, SHARE members have families to care for, kids who want to go to college, and retirement to save for, just like our higher paid co-workers.
  • Raises are Recognition of our Value: In our current workplace culture, raises are a short-hand for the amount of respect a person or group receives. Many SHARE members, though certainly not all, feel their hard work is not appreciated by department leaders.  Our raise is a message from the hospital about whether our work matters.

Management’s Perspective: Financial Challenges in 2017

Our discussions with UMass Memorial management in negotiations about raises have been respectful. Management has made it clear that they are cautious about raises because of their concern about the hospitals’ finances in the coming year, and because they believe that SHARE members are already paid better than market rates.
  • Reimbursement rate cuts: UMass Memorial senior management recently announced that the non-union staff are getting a 2% bonus for fiscal year 2017, with no raise to their base salaries for now. The memo that described the bonus talks about the financial challenges of about $20 million in Medicaid cuts announced in August by the Baker administration. FY17 will also see cuts to Medicare reimbursements.
  • Epic: UMass Memorial is scheduled to pay $60 million for the Epic software system in FY17. Our hospitals have a huge amount riding on the new Epic system – not just the money. SHARE members often talk about how difficult the current collection of computer systems makes our jobs. We all hope that Epic will make many people’s jobs easier.
  • The “market:” UMass Memorial says that SHARE members are paid more than employees who work for other hospitals. We know that SHARE members are not at the bottom of the local healthcare salary market. SHARE has worked hard over the last 19 years to bring these jobs – PCAs, secretaries, techs, billers, etc. – into the middle class. This is honorable work, and increasingly hard work – and work that our hospitals can’t function without. We deserve to be able to achieve middle class aspirations, like buying a modest house, and sending our kids to college.

Value Add: Raises and How SHARE Can Contribute to Improving Quality

SHARE is offering to partner with UMass Memorial on the hospitals’ priorities of quality and employee engagement. This commitment from the SHARE leaders and members cannot be paired with the lowest raises SHARE members have ever gotten. The current raise structure for SHARE members should be retained, so that SHARE members both keep up with inflation and get credit at least equal to new hires for our years of experience.
  • Unit-Based Teams: Many SHARE members want to be deeply involved in fixing problems in our departments – both to improve care, and to make our jobs easier and more rewarding. The SHARE Negotiating Team has proposed unit-based teams (UBTs) as a way to make Dr. Dickson’s motto of “Best Place to Give Care, Best Place to Get Care” become a reality. Our model is the Kaiser Permanente Labor Management Partnership and their UBTs. 

Unit-based Teams have improved the day-to-day experience of the union members at Kaiser. Kaiser management has found that the return on investment from the employees’ participation is so great that they are committing more and more resources to the Partnership’s work. 
We believe that UMass Memorial can’t achieve the quality of care to which senior leadership aspires without the full participation of SHARE members. The “value add” is substantial. 

  • Lobbying against Medicaid cuts: We understand that reimbursement rates have a big effect on the hospitals’ budget. SHARE has offered to help with lobbying about Medicaid funding cuts. We all want UMass Memorial to get reimbursed as much as possible for the care we provide.

Looking Forward

We are confident that SHARE and UMass Memorial will find a mutually agreeable settlement to the raises question. However, we cannot predict how long that will take. We will negotiate for our raise to be retroactive to October 1st, unless we can negotiate a different solution that is better for SHARE members.

We know that this period of waiting and not knowing can be stressful for SHARE members. The SHARE Negotiating Team will continue to inform you about what’s happening at the bargaining table, and to listen carefully to what you think about it. Thanks to everyone for paying attention, reading the SHARE blog, making time to talk face-to-face, and coming to meetings and events. We may need your help to move this forward – we’ll be in touch.

The SHARE Negotiating Team

Sandy Alafberg, Billing

Nancy Bickford, West 3

Sheldon Brown, Accounts Receivable

LeDean Buzzell, Pediatrics Administration

Debbie Clark, Admissions Unit

Kirk Davis, SHARE

Debbie Engvall, SHARE

Will Erickson, SHARE

Kathy Girouard, Cardiac Cath Lab

Jay Hagan, Cat Scan

Carol Hehir, SHARE

Jana Hollingsworth, SHARE

Deb Largesse, SHARE

Bobbi-Jo Lewis, SHARE

Larry Madden, Central Scheduling

Joel Masley, Respiratory Therapy

Sharon Pichierri, Orthopedics Clinic

Maddy Popkin, SHARE

Elisabeth Szanto, SHARE

Janet Wilder, SHARE