SHARE Members Ratify the Contract Agreement with UMass Memorial

It’s official! SHARE’s agreement has been approved by the members.

The vote was 97.4% in favor (1447 “yes” votes; 38 “no” votes)

RAISES

The hospital’s payroll department currently projects the following schedule for raises:

  • The new pay rates will be reflected in the May 9 paycheck

  • The retro check will come separately on May 16 (the retro check will include the overtime on everything dating back to last October, as though we had made the agreement back then, and so will include overtime hours, etc.)

Note that because the Retro comes as a lump-sum payment, the federal government requires that the withholding rate be at the notorious 40% rate. Since that’s obviously not the tax rate for any of our members, the overage will be credited back when it’s tax return time.

The next raise in the agreement is scheduled to come in October of this year.

WHAT’S NEXT?

We’re looking forward to focusing the union’s efforts to improve members’ day-to-day experience at work. Among other things, the refined Contract language about breaks will help members get time away from patients and workstations. New provisions in our Staffing language make it even easier for members to have productive conversations with hospital leadership about staffing levels within departments. And Unit Based Teams will be coming to more departments soon.

THANK YOU!

Thank you to everyone who helped make this a strong contract agreement—talking together about negotiations, and singing, and showing your SHARE pride—and to everyone who was able to come out and vote. Your participation makes the difference.

IS THERE A SHARE POSTER IN YOUR AREA?

We’ve still got copies of the beautiful poster featuring photos of hundreds of Proud SHARE members. If you’d like a copy to post in your department, please let us know (508-929-4020) and we will bring one to you. Thanks!

Learn More about the Tentative Contract Agreement and Raises

There’s a new section on the SHARE website dedicated to the Tentative Contract Agreement between SHARE and UMass Memorial. There you will currently find a copy of the Summary that was sent to all SHARE members, as well as details about how to determine your individual raise, and a calendar of Information Meetings and Ratification Voting.

The Ratification Vote has been set for April 23rd and 24th. We are currently booking rooms on each campus to give every member the opportunity to vote. (The negotiating team encourages you to vote “Yes!”) In the meanwhile, we’ll keep adding to the website, including more detail about the agreement, answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and additional locations and times of Information Meetings as they become available.

Thank you as always for staying informed and sticking together. More to come . . .

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Scholarship Opportunity for Children and Grandchildren of SHARE Members

Every year the Central MA AFL-CIO awards a few scholarships for the children and grandchildren of union members affiliated with the Central MA AFL-CIO. This includes SHARE members. Some of the scholarships are for $500, and some for $1,000. The scholarship recipients are drawn by lottery.

The deadline to apply is April 26, 2019. The names of the winners will be announced in early June, and presented at the Central MA AFL-CIO Labor Day breakfast on September 2, 2019, as described in the mailing below.

To apply, please see the 2019 Scholarship Application.

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We are pleased to announce that the Central MA AFL-CIO will be awarding six $1,000.00 scholarships as well as several $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, 2019. The scholarships will be presented at the Labor Day breakfast September 2, 2019.

 

To be eligible, the student must be a 2019 graduating high school senior going on to college and a child, grandchild or member who’s 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 via the attached form by April 26, 2019 and returned to:

                                              

Paul Soucy

AFL/CIO Labor Community Services

Central Ma. AFL-CIO

400 Washington St

Auburn, Ma. 01501

 

In Solidarity,

Joseph P. Carlson, President

Central Massachusetts AFL/CIO

 

Contract Negotiations Update

SHARE Contract Negotiations Update

SHARE members are showing up to sing. At the WBC, we’re singing Adele in support of a deal.

SHARE members are showing up to sing. At the WBC, we’re singing Adele in support of a deal.

“I've been here 19 years, and I've gotten a raise every year," Maria, an Administrative Assistant in Pediatrics, pointed out at a recent SHARE Rep meeting. 

That’s true. In our 21-year history, SHARE has negotiated a raise every year. The SHARE Negotiating Team has no worries about this year – there will be a raise. We just can’t tell you how much that raise will be yet, because we have not yet reached an agreement with the hospital.  

University Campus members work 24/7 to take care of patients . . . and we’re singing “Eight Days a Week” to support a strong contract.

University Campus members work 24/7 to take care of patients . . . and we’re singing “Eight Days a Week” to support a strong contract.

WHAT’S NEW IN NEGOTIATIONS 

SHARE members in the Billing departments at 306 Belmont are getting our hospital paid. And they’re showing that they’re “SHARE-Proud” in support of solid raises.

SHARE members in the Billing departments at 306 Belmont are getting our hospital paid. And they’re showing that they’re “SHARE-Proud” in support of solid raises.

All day and all night: the care doesn’t end. Check out  the full gallery of SHARE Caregivers online . Hundreds of photos and growing. . . .

All day and all night: the care doesn’t end. Check out the full gallery of SHARE Caregivers online. Hundreds of photos and growing. . . .

Thank you all for showing up with your enthusiasm at all the recent “SHARE-Proud” Contract Events. These events are giving negotiations the push they need to move faster. Way more than a thousand SHARE members have participated in these events – it’s really important for management to know that everyone cares about what the outcome of negotiations is, and cares enough to help push them forward.

Now negotiations are moving in a positive direction. There for a while, we might have described them as “stuck,” but they are moving again. SHARE and management are exchanging proposals about the raises, getting closer to each other. 

In addition to all the events supporting negotiations, having a mediator is helping. SHARE and UMass Memorial Negotiating teams recently spent three long sessions with a mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, who’s helping to bring us closer together. 

ABOUT THE MEDIATOR 

As we have described in previous negotiation updates, it’s not uncommon, even in SHARE’s history, to encounter difficulty reaching agreement with our employer when it comes to raise amounts. SHARE has worked with mediators many times before.  

The FMCS settles labor disputes throughout the United States. As a department of the US Government, their work is paid out of Federal tax monies, so our mediator does not receive any money from hospital funds or union dues.  

SHARE Organizer Janet Wilder gives a Negotiations update to SHARE singers at the Memorial campus.

SHARE Organizer Janet Wilder gives a Negotiations update to SHARE singers at the Memorial campus.

This particular mediator, Marty Callaghan, had a previous career printing the Boston Globe, where he also served as a shop steward, and as President of their union for 17 years. His role is as a neutral third party. In introducing himself to our team, he joked that his boss directs him that he has one main goal: “Don’t make things worse.” All joking aside, the SHARE negotiating team has been pleased with his ability to understand the interests of both sides, and suggest steps we can take toward agreement, even when talking about something that seems like a zero-sum issue, like money. 

WHEN WILL THIS BE DONE? 

Everyone, including management, hopes to reach agreement soon. One of SHARE’s first priorities is to secure ongoing financial progress for all of our members. We have a solid history of doing just that.  

Some negotiations take longer than others to reach agreement. We were talking about this at a SHARE Rep meeting recently. Brian, a Rep and dispatcher for 911 and LifeFlight responders, said "Settling the contract has been fast the last few times. So people who haven't been here as long as I have don't know that it's going to be OK.” Both MNA groups, University and Memorial, are still negotiating, and they started before us. While we would certainly prefer to have finished sooner, we’ve gone longer past the date before.  

We have more negotiation dates set up with the mediator. Learn more about our negotiations online. We’ll keep you posted about both more SHARE events to keep pushing negotiations forward, and about our progress in the negotiations. 

Over 2600 SHARE members in 170 job titles take care of Central Massachusetts

Over 2600 SHARE members in 170 job titles take care of Central Massachusetts




 



Contract Negotiations Update 

Thank you to all of you SHARE members who are helping to move our contract negotiations forward! 

  • We are making progress on the raises. Slow progress, but progress.  

  • As you probably know by now, we have reached tentative agreement on most of the policy issues discussed, and neither side proposed any changes to the Health Insurance or Pension. Raises remain the unresolved issue.  

  • SHARE proposed involving a mediator to help us come to an agreement about raises. Management agreed. 

  • Remember “Singing for a Strong Contract” from 2016 contract negotiations? We're getting the band back together! Read on for more details about how you can help move negotiations forward . . .   

ABOUT A MEDIATED AGREEMENT 

SHARE Caregivers take pride in their work at UMass Memorial.  Check out the  online portrait gallery  as it continues to grow.

SHARE Caregivers take pride in their work at UMass Memorial.

Check out the online portrait gallery as it continues to grow.

SHARE and management both want a deal – we’ve agreed to get a mediator to help us come to agreement. When we meet this month, he will join us. 

Using a mediator is a common approach for resolving differences between unions and employers. A mediator is a neutral, third-party facilitator: they can’t make decisions for us, or for management – they work to understand both groups’ interests, and find a solution everyone can live with. 

TIMING  

This is taking longer than either SHARE or UMass Memorial would like. But it’s not that unusual for contract negotiations to go this long. Last time we finished in December, and we’ve finished in February or March before. Other unions in our hospitals are negotiating now too, and are farther beyond their contract deadlines. 

We know everyone is waiting – SHARE’s Negotiating Team is pushing hard for a raise that SHARE members would vote for. 

THE RAISE PROPOSAL 

UMass Memorial’s non-union employees got a 2% raise at the end of last year. In negotiations, we don’t discuss the details of the specific proposals made at the table publicly. However, we can be clear that SHARE believes that the non-union 2% is too low for SHARE members.  

SHARE proposals include retro back to October 1, 2018. SHARE Members deserve raises back in time. Sometimes we negotiate something better with the retro amount, as in the case of last time, when the bonus was of more value. 

THE RAISE DEBATE: What SHARE and Management are Saying 

The SHARE Negotiating Team is talking about how hard SHARE members are working. We know that caregivers in hospitals everywhere are experiencing unprecedented burnout. The stresses on our own healthcare system (Epic, short-staffing, flu season, hospital reimbursement changes, etc.) create additional demands on each SHARE member personally. Simultaneously, inflation rates and costs of living, particularly the cost of rents here in Worcester, continue to climb. Your colleagues on the SHARE negotiating team are making this case very clearly at the negotiating table.  

The hospital management team is saying that financial difficulties (the result of decreased Medicaid reimbursements, and periods of low patient volume) undercut their ability to offer higher raises. They believe, too, that they are not having difficulty hiring into many SHARE positions -- the benefits and pay are already good. We continue to argue that SHARE members deserve better, and, in order to keep up with inflation and continue to make progress in their grade, require more than the 2% given to non-union employees.  

SHARE NEGOTIATORS NEED YOUR CONTINUED HELP 

SHARE members at the Worcester Business Center are singing for a strong contract!

SHARE members at the Worcester Business Center are singing for a strong contract!

SHARE is working to educate the whole community about the value that SHARE members bring to our hospital. Many hundreds have come to the “SHARE-Proud” tabling events, and the exhibits of SHARE member portraits. These visible displays help move our negotiations forward.  

Next we’ll be getting the band back together, so to speak. Remember “Singing for a Strong Contract” during our last negotiations? It really helped then, so we’re doing it again!  

Save the date for these events, and keep your eye out for additional information: 

  • WBCFriday, February 1 (Groundhog Day, observed), 12:15 PM--parking lot 

  • MemorialWednesday, February 6, 12:15 PM--outside the Amphitheater 

  • UniversityThursday, February 14th  (Valentine’s Day), 12:15 PM—location TBD

  • 306 Belmont: Tuesday, February 19th, details TBD 

Let management know that you are paying attention to contract negotiations, that you care what the outcome is, and help to bring negotiations to a successful agreement – “Come to a Singing for a Strong Contract” event! 

NEW EMPLOYEES

It’s important for everyone to be in the conversation. Communication helps make our union strong. The hospital has a delay in supplying new members’ addresses to SHARE. If you suspect that someone has been left out, please help make sure they get a copy of this message. Thank you! 

  

 

This Week: SHARE Contract Events AFTER DARK!

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Over 200 caregivers came out for SHARE’s day-shift event on the Memorial Campus

Over 200 caregivers came out for SHARE’s day-shift event on the Memorial Campus

SHARE members in our hospital’s Central Billing Office at 306 Belmont Street support a strong contract . . . and a raise that continues to help SHARE members get ahead financially.

SHARE members in our hospital’s Central Billing Office at 306 Belmont Street support a strong contract . . . and a raise that continues to help SHARE members get ahead financially.

WHY ARE WE SHARE-PROUD?

There’s no community like SHARE.

We strive . . . in over 170 distinct job titles.

We link our hospital community together.

We work the front lines.

Every day. All day.

Every night. All night.

We work hard.

We know.

We’re a unique information network.

We listen to patients.

We provide essential expertise.

We care.

We believe kindness and respect transform lives.

We get our hospital paid.

We tell our stories.

We compare our knowledge to improve.

We collaborate.

Every department in our hospital relies on SHARE members to keep our hospital running smoothly.

We work closely with house cleaners, and researchers, and food service workers, and nurses, and doctors, and biomedical engineers, and administrators, and many others to get the job done.

We love our patients.

And they depend on us.

We are over 2600 members strong.

That’s why we’re SHARE-Proud.

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. We recognize his life, his bravery, his sacrifice, and his dream. We honor his thoughtful approach to the truths and paradoxes of our complex reality as he developed influential ideas about love and justice.  

MLK & ORGANIZED LABOR 

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Dr. King was a strong supporter of unions. He famously said, “The Labor Movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress.” In 1968, King traveled to Memphis, Tennessee to support striking sanitation workers who were fighting to unionize. The context, according to Stanford University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, was this:  

On 1 February 1968, two Memphis garbage collectors, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, were crushed to death by a malfunctioning truck. Eleven days later, frustrated by the city’s response to the latest event in a long pattern of neglect and abuse of its black employees, 1,300 black men from the Memphis Department of Public Works went on strike. Sanitation workers, led by garbage-collector-turned-union-organizer T. O. Jones, and supported by the president of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Jerry Wurf, demanded recognition of their union, better safety standards, and a decent wage. 

King’s public address in support of the striking sanitation workers would be his last. He was assassinated the next morning, on April 4th.  

OUR FUTURE IS INTERTWINED 

Bill Lucy (behind podium), with students of the HTUP and SHARE organizers

Bill Lucy (behind podium), with students of the HTUP and SHARE organizers

In our conversations and negotiations, SHARE often points out that the success of SHARE members is tied to the success of our hospital. We must also be aware that our future is intimately intertwined with that of our broader community.  

Last year, SHARE leaders experienced a concrete and meaningful example of this interconnectedness as we gathered to see Bill Lucy at a public lecture on the 50th anniversary of the Memphis Strike. Mr. Lucy had been Jerry Wurf’s leadership partner in AFSCME as the Memphis sanitation workers’ sought to organize their union. (AFSCME is, you’ll recognize, the parent organization of our own union.)  

Bill Lucy spoke about his personal experience with the Memphis strike as part of the Harvard Trade Union Program. Each year, HTUP draws union leaders in an intensive six-week educational course to learn from one another, as well as leading scholars and researchers. (The HTUP cohort that year included SHARE Organizers Bobbi-Jo Lewis and Melissa Markstrom.) 

Mr. Lucy’s talk was a moving firsthand account. His presentation was punctuated by a series of questions during a Q&A session . . . as well as as a surprising statement by a woman named Jennifer Glass. The young Ms. Glass stood and claimed already to know the stories that Mr. Lucy related. She knew those stories well, she said, because she had heard them from her grandfather, one of the 1300 men who went on strike in Memphis in order to unionize their sanitation worker jobs.  

Those of us in the audience couldn’t help but overhear in her comments real, heartfelt gratitude to Bill Lucy for helping to make possible opportunities in her own life. Ms. Glass had walked over to the talk from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where she worked. On behalf of her grandfather, who had since passed on, Glass thanked Mr. Lucy for his help and involvement in her grandfather’s cause. American History got very intimate for me in that impromptu moment. I’m grateful to have been there to see Mr. Lucy and Ms. Glass speaking across the auditorium.

REALIZING THE DREAM 

The Memphis Sanitation Workers ultimately succeeded in organizing. When they voted-in their union, they provided themselves an independent source of power, the right to negotiate, and all of the privileges and protections that come with being able to work collectively.  

This story is not over, however. The arc of history is long. Obviously, harsh inequalities persist. Gaps in pay, education, and health create chasms between races and communities. SHARE recognizes these disparities, even in our own workplace. And we recognize our obligation to continue in the tradition that includes Dr. King, Mr. Lucy, Mr. Wurf, Mr. Cole, Mr. Walker, and countless others. We are grateful to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s model as we foster our own community, and work to take care of those around us.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question,” Dr. King said, “is ‘what are you doing for others?’”

—Kirk Davis, SHARE Staff Organizer

***

The sanitation workers’ struggle is documented in documentaries including I Am a Man and At the River I Stand, as well as the book Going Down Jericho Road

2019 SHARE Dues Increase

The 2019 regular weekly dues rate for SHARE members will be $9.17. That is an increase of twenty cents per paycheck, or about ½ cent per hour. For members working 20 hours/week, the 2019 weekly rate will be $6.87. The new rates are reflected in the 1/10/19 paycheck.

HOW DO THE DUES INCREASE EVERY YEAR?

The annual increase is calculated by our parent union, AFSCME, based on the average percent increase of AFSCME members’ pay rates across the country in the previous year.

WHERE DO MY DUES GO?

The short answer is that dues mostly pays for SHARE staff.

The staff spend their time gathering information and opinions from members, sharing information with members, developing and supporting SHARE Reps, helping members with questions or problems, negotiating contracts, organizing events, researching issues, writing blog posts, etc., all on behalf of SHARE members.

The longer answer is that SHARE members at UMass Memorial pool their dues money with members of three other unions locals: SHARE at UMass Medical School, HUCTW at Harvard University, and USW at Cambridge Health Alliance. The four union locals together are called the New England Organizing Project (NEOP). All their dues together pay for the union staff for all the locals, union offices, phones and utilities, mailings, etc. About 75% of the budget is for staff.

WHY SHOULD I PAY DUES?

Dues are an investment that SHARE members make in themselves and their coworkers. Without a union, employees have very little leverage to make change, or even to hold onto what they have.

SHARE members want respect for the work that they do, fair treatment, opportunities for advancement, and good raises so that they can take care of themselves and their families. Working together through the union, SHARE members can continue to make progress in all these areas. And dues support the staff who support this work.

MORE INFORMATION

If you would like to know more, please talk to a SHARE Rep, email share.comment@theshareunion.org, or call 508-929-4020. You can also learn more about what our union does, and the benefits of union membership, by exploring www.sharehospitalunion.org.

Error in Retirement Contribution Affects SHARE Members Who Work for the Medical School

The State Retirement Board recently figured out that the University of Massachusetts hadn’t been deducting the correct amount of money from UMass state employees for their pensions. It’s been in the news a bunch in the last few days. Hospital employees who work for UMass Memorial are NOT affected by this problem, though the news coverage has been confusing.

About 150 SHARE members who work for the Medical School are potentially affected, and may have to pay back money that should have been deducted since 2002. Some members are being told they owe thousands of dollars. These employees had no idea that there was an error in their retirement contributions. SHARE believes that the employees should not have to pay back the money – it wasn’t their mistake.

Click here to see Medical School SHARE member Antonio Jimenez and SHARE Organizer Jana Hollingsworth on tonight’s Channel 3 news – it starts at about 4:50 minutes into the news.

If you want more info, you can check out these posts on the SHARE Medical School blog: here, here, and here.

Upcoming SHARE Contract Events

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ICYMI: Contract Negotiations Update

In case you missed the email that was sent to all SHARE members on December 21st, it’s printed below. The SHARE negotiating team can use your help! Hope to see you at an event soon.

Keep your eyes peeled for more updates . . .

Our contract negotiations continue. Of course, a raise will be coming, but we do not yet have agreement about the amount or structure of that raise. 

We would all hope to have agreed by now on a wage package. We know that the non-union employees got a 2% raise last week. Money is always the most difficult part of contract talks. Many of you will remember this from previous years, and know that negotiating a good deal often requires work and time that extends some months beyond the contract expiration. The SHARE Negotiating Team is committed to getting the best raises possible for SHARE members – we know that SHARE members are depending on raises to make economic progress for our families.

We are planning events for January to support a strong contract and get these negotiations done. The events will help our hospital community understand the importance of these negotiations, and the importance of the work that SHARE members do to keep UMass Memorial running. Mark you calendars now, and watch for more details:

  • Thursday, January 10 – Faculty Conference Room at University, 11:30-1:30

  • Wednesday, January 16 – Knowles Hall, Memorial, 11:30-1:30

As always, would like to especially thank those of you who cover the work in your department while a colleague must be away for negotiations, and to thank everyone who is working to keep our hospital running strong through the upcoming holidays.  

We will post more details to the SHARE website soon. We look forward to your continued support and participation to help move forward toward contract agreement. And we wish everyone very happy holidays.

Pathways to College Program

The Pathways to College program is designed in collaboration with Worcester State University to provide UMass Memorial caregivers access to low-cost courses that serve as the foundation for many degree programs, including health education, nursing, occupational studies, business, psychology, and sociology. The next session begins in January.

See the flyer below for more information, or contact the Program Director, Jeremiah Riordan: jriordan1@worcester.edu (508-929-8787).

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Showing SHARE Pride

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A big thank you to those who came out to the University Campus Table event to support our Negotiation team and talk with us about the current state of contract and raise negotiations. We continue to have important conversations about wages with management, and have not yet come to an agreement.

We have two more “Table” events this week:

  • Memorial Campus (Thursday, 12/6, 11:30A-1:30P), across from the cafeteria entrance

  • 306 Belmont St (Friday, 12/7, 11:30A-1:15P), Conf Room G

We’d love to see more SHARE members highlighting the important roles that you play in our hospital. Come get posters and badge reels and other materials to show your support. And let’s talk together about our next steps.

To see more photos of proud SHARE members, check out this Facebook album!

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Share SHARE Pride: Support Your Contract Negotiating Team

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The SHARE Negotiating Team encourages you to visit a “tabling” event on your campus. At the Table, you can find badge reels, posters, and other materials to help you show pride in the work that you do as a SHARE member. Members of the negotiating team will also be on hand to talk about the current Contract Negotiations, and answer any questions you may have.

We have currently scheduled the following Tables:

  • UNIVERSITY CAMPUS — Tuesday, 11/27, 11:30a-1:30p (in the Prescription Center hallway, near the cafeteria)

  • MEMORIAL CAMPUS — Thursday, 12/6, 11:30a-1:30p (across from the cafeteria, near the auditorium)

If you would like to have a Table event scheduled on your campus, or would like a member of the SHARE organizing staff to visit your department with a negotiations update, please call the SHARE office (508-929-4020) and let us know.

Sticking together and sharing our stories keeps our union strong. See you there!

2018 Mass AFL-CIO Scholarship

The following was sent to the SHARE office announcing the 61st Annual Massachusetts AFL-CIO Scholarship. This program is available to all SHARE members. For complete details, and to apply, please visit www.massaflcio.org/scholarships.

Please note that the “Organization Name” for our union at UMass Memorial Hospital is “SHARE/AFSCME Local 3900.” (It doesn’t appear in their dropdown menu, but can be entered below that, in the field that asks for your “Local Local Number.”)

Over the years, several SHARE members have received scholarships through this program, and we hope to see more this year!

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Contract Negotiations Update

We’d also like to congratulate our sister union, SHARE-UMMS, for ratifying their new contract with the Medical School! (Pictured above: SHARE members baked spooktacular treats to celebrate their Halloween ratification day)

We’d also like to congratulate our sister union, SHARE-UMMS, for ratifying their new contract with the Medical School! (Pictured above: SHARE members baked spooktacular treats to celebrate their Halloween ratification day)

In the previous Contract Negotiations update, we described the early stages of our talks, including that management has not proposed changes to Health Insurance and Pensions. We continue to make progress, although we have not yet reached a new comprehensive agreement. As we continue to talk, we will extend our contract again with UMass Memorial management to maintain the existing policies through the month of November.  

Note that we’re still in the process of upgrading our automated communications: members who have joined within the past few months may not receive this update in their inbox. Please help us keep everyone informed, and pass this along if you think a newer colleague might not have heard. We want everyone to be in the loop! Here’s a general overview of more recent developments: 

Raises 

Although we have not yet reached an agreement about wages, the talks continue to be substantive and respectful. SHARE has always maintained that it’s important for each SHARE member to get raises that keep ahead of inflation, and to continue making economic progress as she invests more service into our hospital. Now, as SHARE members adapt with our hospital through an increasingly rapid evolution, the impact of raises to each of us is as important as ever. We all know that Epic isn’t implementing itself. 

Unit-Based Teams 

We’re talking about how to make sure that members in Unit-Based Team departments have time to work on fixing problems in work flows in their departments. It’s great to come up with ideas for a better way to do things, but members need time to try out the new ideas and evaluate whether they work.  

Learn more about SHARE’s cornerstone program for involving members in work design on the evolving SHARE UBT webpage.  

Side Tables 

We’ve developed joint Labor Management teams, or “Side Tables,” which focus on issues including Staffing, Job-Posting, Breaks & Time Off, Leaves of Absence, and the Problem-Solving & Discipline Process.  

Over the last couple of weeks, representatives of each of these groups have presented about their progress to the larger negotiating team. The Side Table teams use an Interest-Based approach to building consensus, and that’s worked so that most of the Side Tables have generated a number of viable proposals. The Side Table teams are working to finalize recommendations for the Contract Agreement. 

That said, these groups are tackling some tough issues. The “Breaks & Time Off” Table, for example, have wrestled through some hard conversations to develop proposals. A very difficult reality underlies many of the Side Table negotiations: staffing is tight in most SHARE departments. Nowadays, there‘s less flexibility in each department’s schedule. Someone needs to be clocked-in to take care of the patients, and, at the same time, our time-off benefits are only as good as our ability to use them.  

Of course, we want to swim upstream from that problem, too. We’re working to improve the way that staffing levels get set in each department. In our last contract, we wrote new language about getting answers to staffing concerns (see page 41). Now, SHARE members can expand staffing conversations to meet directly with the decision-making senior hospital leaders. The Staffing Side Table is working to further develop this language to make the process clearer and more effective.  

Want More Details? Let’s Talk 

Although the SHARE blog is only appropriate for general overviews of our talks with hospital management, we’re always looking for opportunities to speak in more detail and develop our thinking together. If you have specific questions, or if you would like to arrange for an organizer to come speak to members in your work area, please contact the SHARE office (508-929-4020). Leave a message for your organizer, or on the general voicemail (extension 10). 

Please Stay Tuned 

. . . for developments about ways that you can help support your negotiating team to reach an agreement that SHARE members can be proud of. 

Contract Negotiations Update

SHARE has been negotiating with UMass Memorial management for several months now. As you may know, our last negotiations resulted in a contract that was designed to run from 2016 until October 1, 2018. We have agreed with management to extend the duration of the existing contract through October so that all of its provisions and protections continue to apply while we negotiate.  

Our last contract agreement laid out ambitious aims for SHARE and UMass Memorial to partner around, particularly with the rollout of Unit Based Teams. We continue to develop those initiatives in the day-to-day, which allows our current negotiations to focus around a tighter scope.  

 

WHAT IS THE GOOD NEWS SO FAR? 

While nothing is final until both teams agree around the comprehensive set of issues, management has not proposed changes to benefits that SHARE members care a lot about:  

  • The premium split where UMass Memorial pays 85% of the Health Insurance Premiums for SHARE members. (Although we will expect to see a small increase in the total premium cost charged by the Insurers themselves in January.) 

  • Health Insurance co-pay amounts.  

  • The Defined Benefit Pension plan. 

Raises are the toughest issue – see more info below.  

A FOCUS ON OVERLAPPING INTERESTS, NOT BARGAINING POSITIONS 

As expected, the content of our conversations is meaty and significant, and the tone is respectful. We continue to use a version of Interest-Based Bargaining which builds consensus by discovering and emphasizing those places where our goals and values overlap.   

SIDE TABLES 

The format of these Negotiations, however, is somewhat different from what we’ve done before. Given the success of the process used to produce our last agreement, the work of negotiating has been routed almost entirely into “Side Tables”: small groups comprising members of hospital leadership and SHARE leadership who have expertise and shared interest to further develop these subjects in our Contract Agreement: 

  • Staffing  

  • Job-Posting 

  • Breaks & Time Off 

  • Leaves of Absence 

  • The Problem-Solving & Discipline Processes 

That’s a lot of activity all at once. These groups typically convene once per week to evaluate their progress, further compare interests, and define next steps for developing the agreement. 

UNIT-BASED TEAMS 

In the (almost) two years since we reached our last agreement, we have rolled out thirteen Unit-Based Teams. The first five pioneering UBT’s have each had significant successes in the goals that they defined for themselves. SHARE members and management both agree that the effort has been very worthwhile, and all of the UBT’s continue to push on toward more successes.  

In Negotiations, we are talking about how to better support the teams with additional resources. The goal is to spread these teams so that every SHARE member in every department has access to participate with their own team. We are discussing how fast we can spread the UBTs at a rate that each team can be successful, and we don’t try to spread too far too fast.  

RAISES 

Traditionally, unions bargain about raises at the end. However, a core group of negotiators has been meeting consistently throughout this process to talk about the financial issues. It’s most difficult to apply an Interest-Based approach to issues like money, but rather than debating about who’s getting the biggest slice of the pie, we’re putting our attention on the ways that SHARE members and our union’s efforts expand the size of the pie, and the hospital’s total revenues.  

We intend to maintain the wage structure that we’ve developed over the past twenty years, which delivers raises made up of two parts:  

  • An “across-the-board" raise, designed to account for inflation, and move the entire pay grids ahead, and 

  • A raise that recognizes experience by moving members up to the next pay platform each year, so that SHARE members make consistent financial progress. 

The discussion with management has been respectful, but difficult. UMass Memorial management is telling us that the hospitals have a lot of financial challenges right now: Medicaid reimbursement cuts and a drop in Medicaid patient volume starting in March this year, very small increases in all reimbursement rates predicted for next year, and their concern about the financial impact on UMass Memorial if the ballot question about RN staffing passes in November. 

Of course, the financial stability of UMass Memorial matters to everyone who works here. At the same time, SHARE members are working incredibly hard, often feeling short-staffed, and we need to continue to make financial progress. Raises are important. 

As with the amount of the raises, many related issues are the subject of negotiation, and haven’t yet been settled, including the timing of the raises, payment of “retro,” the length of the contract, etc.   

MORE INFORMATION & NEXT STEPS: We may need your help... 

If you’ve been in SHARE over several contract negotiations, you know that it’s often important for management to see that SHARE members are paying attention to contract negotiations and care a lot about the outcome. We usually find a fun, but pointed, way for SHARE members to voice their concerns, and we may need to do that again soon. 

Thank you to all the SHARE members who have come to the Contract Information Sessions. These conversations help your Negotiating Team hone our priorities as we continue contract discussions. We will soon announce another wave of system-wide Information Sessions.  

Our negotiations are steadily progressing. Keep your eye on this blog for more updates, and we encourage you to reach out to your area SHARE Rep or Organizer to discuss any of the details in greater depth. Or, just call the SHARE office, of course (508-929-4020). More to come . . .   

Contract Negotiation Information Meetings

As you may have heard, we have started negotiations for our next contract. This is an exciting time, and a great opportunity to build your connection with the union and your coworkers. To that end, we are holding information meetings over the next few months. These meetings are a time to get updates about contract negotiations, get answers to your questions, put in your two cents, and connect with other SHARE members throughout the hospital. These are drop-in meetings during lunch hours (11:30-1:30) – feel free to bring your lunch. The dates and locations are as follows:

University

Wednesday, 8/22, 11:30-1:30, S2-309A (in the Med School)

Wednesday, 9/19, 11:30-1:30, S2-307 E/F

Wednesday, 10/17. 11:30-1:30, S2-307 E/F

Memorial

Thursday, 8/30, 11:30-1:30, Jacquith Lecture Conference Room

Thursday, 9/27, 11:30-1:30, Jacquitth Lecture Conference Room

October date TBD

If you work at a location other than University or Memorial, keep an eye out for details from your SHARE organizer or union rep about information meetings at your location.