Wednesday, March 29, 2017

SHARE Presents: Lunchtime Piano Performances, April 3-7

SHARE invites you
to celebrate Spring
with music.

Chopin, Liszt, Mozart and Rachmaninoff

performed by
Orvill Delatorre

Free and open to the public
UMASS School of Medicine Lobby
From Monday, April 3rd - Friday, April 7th
Playing from 11 - 1 pm
(unless other activity is scheduled at the area)

Orvill is a graduate of the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, Boston, MA, and is currently a student of Cornell University's School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Class of 2019.

His mother, Elsa, is a hospital interpreter and member of SHARE

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Union Member Audrey King on Unit-Based Teams at Kaiser Permanente

I met Audrey King during a recent trip to Washington DC. The visit continued SHARE's study of union-management partnership in the Kaiser Permanente healthcare network, and how participation makes things better for front-line employees.

Audrey has worked at Kaiser Permanente for 36 years. She has seen the change that Unit-Based Teams has brought to her work there. I thought Audrey had some great things to say, so I asked her if I could record her so SHARE members could hear what she had to say. (Sorry about the noise in the background of the cafeteria!)

Here's a little more about who Audrey is: She's a member of OPEIU Local 2 (one of three union locals representing employees at Kaiser Permanente in the Mid-Atlantic region). Together with the regional quality manager for the KP Labs, Audrey made a presentation to us at their Capitol Hill Medical Center about how the union and management co-sponsors help to make the UBTs successful. (It was cool that every presentation in our day-long visit was made in pairs: a union person and a manager.)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

SHARE Field Report from Kaiser Permanente Capitol Hill Medical Center

In early March, eight SHARE leaders and nine UMMHC management leaders visited Kaiser Permanente's Capitol Hill Medical Center in Washington DC. SHARE has been studying the Kaiser Permanente unions’ progress in transforming culture. And we’ve been negotiating ideas from their model with our own hospital leadership.

This trip, however, was our first opportunity to see the work at Kaiser Permanente firsthand, up close, in partnership. Together, we got the chance to meet with our Kaiser counterparts (union leaders with union leaders, HR with HR, surgical and clinical management with management.) One of the key themes of the day was that partnership, and the benefits of partnership, are only as strong as its unions: "I've worked in a lot of different ways. And labor management partnership is the best," one labor leader told us. "But never forget you're a union."

At Kaiser Permanente's Capitol Hill Medical Center:
Shenita Stewart (Pharmacy UBT Co-Lead, OPIEU Local 2),
Cliff Lovett (Pharmacy Manager & UBT Co-Lead),
and Wendy Williams (Improvement Advisor, UFCW Local 27)


The cornerstone of our 2016 contract agreement, Unit-Based Teams, is based on a model that Kaiser and its unions pioneered a decade ago. We have launched our first six here at UMass Memorial in the last few weeks, and co-sponsors of those new Teams got to look under the hood at some established, long-running UBT’s in Washington.

Our contingent met directly with the co-leads of the Unit-Based Team from the Pharmacy at their Capitol Hill location. The two co-leads of the UBT, Shenita Stewart, a Pharmacy Technician and union member, and Clifford Lovett, the manager were proud of two highly successful improvement projects their department had worked on: getting prescriptions more quickly to patients, and increasing sales of Over-the-Counter drugs. For each project, their team experimented with improvements, systematically. They tried some things that didn’t work . . . and when they realized those ideas wouldn’t pan out, they quickly stopped. They landed on some things that really worked. 

Shenita told us that some of her co-workers didn't believe that UBT would make a difference at first. She acknowledged that their department still has issues to work on, but says that morale is much higher, attendance is better, and she’s seen a lot of improvement in the culture.


Some SHARE and UMass Memorial folks got to sit-in on a UBT meeting in the Pediatric Subspecialty Clinics. "It was fascinating to see consensus decision-making in action," said Bobbi-Jo Lewis from SHARE. "The co-leads went around the group, asking what each person thought, before they went forward. The group agreed to take on a project to explore sending thermometers home with families, even though it was only important to some of the sub-specialties, because they decided to support each other."


Some Kaiser Permanente UBT’s involve patients directly in their Improvement Projects. For example, they might invite a patient with a particular complaint to come talk to the department. Lu Casa, a UFCW Local 400 union member and UBT Co-Lead in the Adult Medicine Department, described her department’s efforts to manage blood pressure rates at the population-level in their community. You can see about that for yourself in the video below. It’s a fun one . . .


In DC, we learned much more about how to start a UBT on the right foot, and to ensure that it is genuinely co-led by management and labor.  We also learned about the things the Kaiser unions have been able to achieve in partnership that they were not able to do through adversarialism.  

SHARE Co-President Rita Caputo said that her biggest regret about the trip was that they couldn’t stay longer and dig deeper into how the employees there go about solving particular problems. She really appreciated how open the staff were, “They were so efficient and thorough and knowledgeable, and completely willing to let us pick their brains.” It was apparent to Rita that their experience showed them what worked. “They’re normal, like us,” she said, “and they’ve figured out for themselves how to keep making things better.”

One of the side benefits of the trip was spending so much time with our management partners.  We returned to Massachusetts with a deeper appreciation of one another’s strengths and challenges, as well as a stronger sense that we can achieve more for our members and the people they care for if we approach one another as allies rather than adversaries.

SHARE and UMass Memorial manager Co-Leads and Sponsors with Kaiser Permanente management and union leaders

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The AFSCME Free College Benefit, and Other Opportunities

The educational opportunities announced on this blog have been a big hit! These are available to you as a SHARE member, although they are not administered by SHARE. For details--including direct contact information for each--please find links below.

We're very interested to know more about your experience with these programs. Give us a holler in the SHARE office and let us know how it's going. And, also, if you come across other deals open to union members, please let us know. We'd love to help others take advantage, too.

Here's a quick roundup of the latest:


This allows you and your family members to earn an Associate's Degree online, for free! Please note that the next set of class offerings through the  AFSCME Free College Benefit is about to begin, on March 20th. For more details, visit the AFSCME Free College website, or call the program directly at 888-590-9009.


Any SHARE members, or their children and grandchildren, who will be attending college for an undergraduate degree this Fall, are also eligible to apply for the Central Massachusetts AFL-CIO  Scholarship. The application deadline is April 28th.


Union Plus is a nation-wide non-profit consumer benefits organization sponsored by the AFL-CIO. As a SHARE member, you qualify for their services, without any additional fees or memberships. Among other things, Union Plus negotiates volume deals on gifts, entertainment tickets, etc. They work to create deals for union members, on products made by union members. They'll begin accepting applications for next year's wave of Union Plus scholarships in July.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

March 14 Storm Update

As of this morning, March 14th, the UMass Memorial Medical Center Command Center says that all departments at UMass Memorial are open and SHARE members are supposed to report to work. There are rumors that certain outpatient clinics or administrative areas are closed, but the official word from the Command Center is that everything is open.

Some managers in ambulatory clinics and clerical areas have talked to SHARE members about reducing staffing based on patient needs. The bottom line: You are supposed to come to work, unless you have talked to your manager about a different arrangement.

The SHARE contract section on Severe Weather (page 103) has more info here.

Info from the Hospital's emails to employees

Our patients are our first priority; all ambulatory, inpatient and outpatient services will remain open and staffed unless otherwise notified. Managers will reach out to outpatient staff in the event that outpatient services will be closed.

The Command Centers are open on the University and Memorial Campuses to support operations and staff during today’s storm. If you have any storm-related issues, please stop by the Command Centers or call: University Campus: ‪508-856-2815 and 508-856-6672
, Memorial Campus: 508-334-6688Hahnemann Campus concerns: Call the University Campus Command Center at 508-856-2815 and 508-856-6672

Sleeping rooms and cots are available for staff who would like to stay overnight tonight and/or tomorrow night:
 Memorial Campus – Knowles Hall (from 4:30 pm Monday to noon Wednesday)
 University Campus – S2-352, S2-310 and Faculty Conference Room (from 5 pm Monday to 7 am Wednesday)
 Hahnemann Campus – Nemitz Conference Room (from 5 pm Monday to 7 am Wednesday)

Cafeterias will be open during regular business hours:
 Memorial Campus – Opening at 6:30 am and closing at 9:30 pm
 University Campus – Opening at 7 am and closing at 10 pm, and offers a stocked kiosk at the Pavilion CafĂ© until midnight
 Hahnemann Campus – Opening at 7 am and closing at 2:30 pm
 Arrangements have been made for food to be provided to PTRC staff.

Please refer to our Employee Emergency Preparedness Guide to help you prepare for reporting to work (see page 10), including packing any necessary medication, food, weather-appropriate footwear, a shovel and your phone charger.

Our grounds staff will be working diligently to keep walkways, hospital roadways and parking lots clear with the help of 10 plows and 28 shovelers for the next 24 to 48 hours. Shuttles will run as normal. Please take your time to drive safely to and from work.

If you have questions, please refer to the Severe Weather Policy or speak with your manager."

Friday, March 10, 2017

Unit-Based Teams: Fixing Healthcare, Making Work Better at Kaiser Permanente

Bart Metzger (UMass Memorial Senior Vice President
and Chief HR Officer), Hal Ruddick (Executive Director,
Kaiser Permanente Coalition of Unions), and
Janet Wilder (SHARE Organizer)
Hal Ruddick leads the union side of the biggest and most successful labor-management partnership in health care, and perhaps in all American industries. He’s the Executive Director of the Kaiser Permanente Coalitions of Unions, which represents 28 local unions and 115,000 union member employees at Kaiser Permanente. (SHARE has sister AFSCME union locals that represent employees at Kaiser Permanente and are part of the coalition.)
Hal Ruddick spoke at the monthly SHARE UMass Memorial Labor Management Partnership Council meeting, so we could learn from their experience.
To Ruddick, this is about fixing healthcare in America. The goal is high quality, affordable care for all, and the Kaiser unit-based teams (UBTs) and labor management partnership are working to get there.
Ruddick added that unions face many challenges right now, and that this is one vision for strengthening unions. Continuous improvement in healthcare through partnership is the foundation for good high quality union jobs.  He says that people choose to work in healthcare to make a difference, but sometimes the experience of working in healthcare drives the passion out of people. “Your work in creating UBTs is key to sustaining a sense of meaning in these jobs.”
One LMPC member asked about the Kaiser Permanente experience with the changing roles of managers and employees with UBTs. Do managers may feel they are being asked to give up control? Hal Ruddick explained that teams have a lot of tools to try to build consensus, but in the end of the day, managers can still manage and labor can still respond. Managers begin to realize that working together with their staff they can find solutions that help reach the managers’ goals. Ruddick says it’s a change for labor too: If you are part of designing a solution, then you own the solution and have to take some responsibility for it.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Introducing the First Unit-Based Teams

Michelle Drew and Mary Misiaszek
from Tri-River Family Health in Uxbridge
SHARE is moving toward a new kind of teamwork. The Unit-Based Team (“UBT”) is the best model SHARE has found for raising the level of hospital employees’ satisfaction at work. With UBT’s, every person in a work area, or Unit, has a safe way to directly shape how the work gets done. This transition to teams means SHARE members and managers will learn to work together differently.

Co-Leads from Tri-River and Primary Care talk
about their hopes and fears about UBT's 
with SHARE UBT Coach Marie Manna

On February 16th, the first joint SHARE-UMass Memorial UBT Training session brought together Co-Leads and Co-Sponsors from five of the first Unit-Based Teams. The room was packed with SHARE members and their management counterparts. They spent the morning learning skills for cultivating their teams. Based on the training, they talked about what opportunities they might want to explore, and what pitfalls they could foresee to avoid.

As SHARE Organizer Janet Wilder put it, over the coming years, these first UBT departments will be doing “a little bit of guinea pigging, and a whole lot of pioneering.” We wish them luck, and look forward to using what they learn as the UBT's expand to other areas of the hospital system.

The first wave of teams includes:

  • Heart and Vascular Intervention Lab
  • Prescription Centers (from both the Memorial and University campuses)
  • Primary Care
  • Tri-River Family Health Center
  • Vascular Lab

 Prescription Center Co-Leads 
Jackie Breeds and Kristine Stapelfeld 
with Co-Sponsor Maddy Popkin in the middle

From the Cath Lab: Co-sponsor Kati Korenda, with
Co-Leads Mary Hodgerney, and Kathy Girouard

University Campus Prescription Center Co-Leads Laurie Aubuchon,
Cathy Gaulin, and Lorna Schulze

Prescription Center Co-Sponsors Deb Largesse and Roland Bercume