Thursday, June 29, 2017

Overtime Opportunities for Some SHARE Members during Epic Conversion Weekends

Many SHARE members recently received an email from the hospital describing an "all-hands-on-deck" plea for help to manually input appointment and registration information into Epic, and to validate appointment and registration information that is electronically converted into Epic.
No one is required to come in on their weekend off, but the success of the Epic launch requires this step. The hospital encourages participation, and wants your help.  

To be eligible, participants must work in qualified job roles as listed in this link, and have completed appropriate training sessions prior to attending the Conversion Weekend. The hospital notes that these weekend events will provide useful experience before Epic goes live. Incentives offered for SHARE members include:  

  1. Qualified SHARE members can participate in the hospital's Epic Conversion and be paid Overtime (if they work more than 40 hours that week, or more than 8 hours that day). The weekend pay differential of $2.50 per hour will also be applied, as per the SHARE contract.
  2. Free on-site parking, lunch, and beverages will be provided.
  3. SHARE members commuting from off-site locations (non-Worcester campuses, such as Barre, Tri-River, etc.) will be paid the federal mileage rate, according to the SHARE Contract Agreement. (Currently 53.5 cents/mile.)

The work must be done on specific weekends in September, at 100 Front Street in
Worcester, in preparation for the October 1 Epic Go-Live event.  

For the Appointment Conversion weekend, September 9-10, the hospital needs 400 participants from 8 am to 5 pm.

For the Registration and Referral Conversion Weekend, September 16-17, 340 participants will be needed.  

To request a copy of the hospital's email regarding Epic Conversion, or to ask questions, please contact

A Strong Start for Unit Based Teams

The first ever UBT Co-Lead Peer-Learning event opened with SHARE Union organizer Janet Wilder thanking everyone in the room. Janet said that the newly defined relationship between SHARE members and managers is the most important language in our contract as we aim to improve the culture of our hospital. She explained that Unit-Based Teams are the cornerstone of that agreement, the most concrete and hopeful effort toward changing how it feels to work here.

Janet is the SHARE Tri-Chair of our Labor-Management Partnership Council, along with Bart Metzger, Chief Human Resources Officer, and Jeff Smith, Chief Operating Officer, who also kicked off the meeting by talking about the importance of UBTs. Jeff Smith said that involving front-line staff in fixing the problem is better than the alternative: “I could give you an answer quickly, but it would be a bad solution.”

The first UBT Peer Learning Session brought together UBT Co-Sponsors and Co-Leads from SHARE, along with their management counterparts, as well as representatives from CITC, HR, and UMMC Executive Leadership. They came together to compare notes about the challenges and successes so far in the first wave of Unit Based Teams

As the hour developed, it became clear to everyone in the room that, across the board, the Unit-Based Teams are off to a productive and promising start. Each UBT has selected one or two substantial problems to tackle in their areas. They've defined their goals, and have begun measuring the effectiveness of their ideas.

SHARE Member and Lead Cardiac Catheterization Technologist, Sue Maddalena, describes how their UBT disregarded the advice that teams should avoid tackling the hardest problems first. They're seeing early successes as they work to improve the start times of their cases.   

Each UBT explained very different situations, different approaches, and different results thus far, even between the two Prescription Centers involved, on both the University and Memorial campuses. Nonetheless, common trends appeared throughout. Communication in areas with UBT's has improved, sometimes considerably. That communication is helping the day-to-day work go more smoothly, and improving the work culture.

In Primary Care, they're kicking butt and collecting data. Where employees were previously frustrated with walk-ins, they're now opportunities to collect data to fix the problem. Rita Caputo (SHARE Co-President, pictured above left) tracks the progress of their system improvements. 

SHARE member and Ambulatory Services Rep Mary Misiaszek said that, in her area, she had encountered one particularly meaningful new improvement: deeper respect. In addition, she said different parts of the clinic now "appreciate what everybody did, because we didn't know what everybody did before."

Mary noted, however, that one of the major challenges they faced was just understanding one another, since each kind of work in the hospital involves its own jargon and specialized language. As an ASR, her understanding of the distinction between words like "rapid" and "stat" differs from some co-workers, who use those words within the boundaries of defined clinical guidelines. 

The hospital's Center for Innovation and Transformational Change often came up in the discussion, with participants noting the importance of the role of CITC in providing common language for discussing improvement.

SHARE member Kim Latrobe, a Technologist in the Surgical Vascular Lab, says that her co-workers are more willing to speak up about problems now, and more optimistic about the way that management will consider their ideas. 

Some in the room commented that their department staff had found it meaningful to see SHARE and hospital leadership coming together around the Unit Based Teams. Although SHARE members have experienced many different initiatives aimed at improvement over the years, this feels different. Working through issues in a process where all participants have equal voice creates mutual accountability and improved chance of continual improvement. 

Bart Metzger, UMass Memorial Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, said that hospital CEO Eric Dickson increasingly references the importance of UBT's in meetings among hospital executives. Metzger describes the function of the UBTs toward the hospital's goals of transforming and humanizing our institution, and turning the traditional management paradigm on its head.

In the recent months, the participants in these first UBT's have learned a lot about how to launch a UBT successfully . . . much of it by trial-and-error. During the Peer Learning Session, many participants thanked the UBT Coaches and their own Co-Sponsors, who have been supporting the teams with tools and strategies for tackling big problems productively. 

Although the UBT model involves a lot of planning, there have definitely been surprises in their initial experiments. The participants recommended even more training and more planning time, and encouraged the Coaches and Co-Sponsors to begin working with the next wave of UBT's as soon as possible, even though those teams won't be launching until after Epic Go-Live. We look forward to hearing more from this first group of UBT's.

SHARE Staff Organizers Janet Wilder and Will Erickson collect ideas and advice for improving the launch of the next wave of Unit Based Teams

The hour-long meeting brought together union members and management from the University Campus and the Memorial Campus, not to mention a labor-management pair who commuted in from our hospital's Tri-River facility in Uxbridge. It wasn't easy to coordinate a time when so many could be away from their desks and workstations. 

We know that whenever employees step away from the front lines to meet, it puts more pressure on those who remain in the departments to care for patients. We recognize those of you who are working in areas with UBT's for getting this important project started in such a strong way. Already hundreds of SHARE members have helped move the work forward. Thank you. 

Saturday, June 3, 2017


For those of you who haven’t heard, we’re lending support to employees at our sister location in Marlborough who wish to join SHARE. Impressed by what we’ve accomplished, they’ve come to us with a request to join in. If you have friends at UMass Memorial’s Marlborough Hospital, we could use your help connecting them with our union.

A Rising Tide

SHARE believes that everyone benefits when workers have a say. We’re making work better for ourselves, and we want our colleagues up the road to have that opportunity, too. What’s good for Marlborough Hospital is good for UMass Memorial, and for the Central Massachusetts community.

SHARE is a union unique to UMass Memorial and UMass Medical School, tailored to our needs here. Our region is distinct, with its own economic challenges. We know that inequality is hurting us. Without unions to advocate for middle-class wages, employers alone dictate the market rate.

Our connections make us strong, and we want to strengthen and be strengthened by the inclusion of the hospital’s Marlborough location, to enlist the help of our colleagues toward improving the area where we live and work.

Everyone Should Be Free to Participate

We’ve been cultivating our own organization for twenty years at UMass Memorial. Along the way, we’ve learned a lot about negotiating, and about the need to deepen our understanding of how to run a hospital . . . how to run *our* hospital.

Those of us who have been here since our union’s beginnings will tell you that our hospital is a very different place now from what it was then. We don’t suggest that those ambitions are easily achieved: we all have important day jobs, and having a union doesn’t make the day-to-day go away. We’re still working hard to make our hospital the kind of place we want it to be.

But we want our friends in Marlborough to know that our SHARE union gives us opportunities to compare notes, to talk and think together, to build structures for making improvements. Like our hospital’s senior administration, we believe in the mission of our hospital. We also believe that a labor-management partnership can make our hospital vibrant and resilient. We can’t do it without each other. We believe that the same is true in Marlborough.

We Want to Share Values and Strength

There are 2700 of us (plus our 500 friends in SHARE at UMass Medical School), and our relationships with our employer are extremely complex. As a matter of principle, we maintain kind and respectful conversations with those in management roles. We have support and assistance from in-house SHARE staff organizers who help this happen. Perhaps most importantly, we can have those conversations safely because our union affords us an independent source of power. Our friends at Marlborough need this, too. They deserve to negotiate their own agreements with their hospital leaders.

Let’s Connect

If you have friends at Marlborough Hospital, please let them know about your experience as a SHARE member. They may want to know about raises and benefits, but they may also want to know what we’re trying to do to improve the culture in our hospital, how we’re able to participate in more decisions, and how we work to improve the quality of care for patients.

If you can help connect SHARE Organizers with friends who work at Marlborough Hospital, let us know. If you can help us make an introduction, or would like to know more about what we’re doing, please call the SHARE office (508-929-4020) and leave a message on the voicemail for one of the Marlborough SHARE Organizers to call you back.