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!


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: 


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.  



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.  


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.   


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. 


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.  


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:


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


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.

Enroll in the Pathways to College Program!

The Pathway to College program provides caregivers with the foundation needed to enter a number of degree programs including health education, nursing, occupational studies, business, psychology, and sociology. This collaboration with Worcester State University is a revised version of the Direct Care Pathways program, but expands beyond healthcare specific roles.

Program Highlights

  • A 9-month program designed to prepare participants for admission to an associate’s degree program
  • Begins with an Academic Success Seminar followed by three core classes delivered with individual attention from the instructor and support from an advisor
  • Three (3) cohorts of up 20 students
  • One evening per week 
  • Low out-of-pocket expenses for those eligible for tuition assistance benefits

The next cohort starts meeting in September 2018 (next month!!), so if you are interested, please contact Cherie Comeau to learn more and/or to register: 5089298787 or cherie.comeau@worcester.edu


Sharing an opportunity: Workplace Violence Prevention educational forum on 8/17

What? This forum on preventing violence in the workplace will be moderated by Jonna Dube, and will include panelists Candy Szymanski, Jack Luippold, Ted Carlson, and Maria Michas, MD. If you attended last year, you’ll remember the format: panelists will speak briefly before opening up the floor for questions and discussion. Managers are being encouraged to make arrangements for one or two staff to attend, so speak with your supervisor if you are interested.

Where? The Hiatt Auditorium at the University Campus

When? Thursday, August 17 from 9am-10am


SHARE Encourages You to Complete the Caregiver Engagement Survey

Please fill out the survey! We encourage your thoughtful, honest feedback. Why?

Survey Data Helps SHARE

 Did you know? The SHARE Union at UMass Memorial Hospital has over 2700 members

Did you know? The SHARE Union at UMass Memorial Hospital has over 2700 members

SHARE leaders will receive the results, and intends to work with hospital leadership to understand what those data say about SHARE members' experiences at work. Our union will also compare the results to those of our own surveys. The more SHARE members fill out the survey, the more useful the results will be. We want to use the results to benefit SHARE members at work.

Survey Data Helps Your Department

Your manager will share the group's results for your work area. You will work with your team to figure out what aspects of your experience that you’d most like to improve, and how you will do it. 

The Survey Is Confidential, Quick, and You Can Do It at Work

The survey process is conducted by a professional outside survey company, Press Ganey. The survey is confidential, and is designed and administered in ways that ensure participants remain anonymous. In the past, SHARE has heard worries from members about survey confidentiality, but SHARE members have not reported problems with this agency. You should receive a link to the survey in your work email. The survey shouldn't take much more than ten minutes, and you are encouraged to do it on work time.

Thank You for Your Help

This is the second-ever system-wide survey. It also builds upon data collected by UMass Memorial over the past few years, which targeted select areas of the hospital. Together this information can begin to suggest trends--what's working and what's not--when it comes to your experience as hospital employees. Please let us at SHARE know if you have concerns about your own confidentiality, or about how the data will be used, and we will work with you to address those concerns.

Thank you for participating, and helping to create a more complete and accurate overview about the experience of SHARE members at UMass Memorial.


Giving Back to Our Community: SHARE Delivers Donations to North High

After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September of last year, 50 students whose schools could not remain open came to Worcester to be hosted by Worcester Public Schools. About 30 of them have joined the community at North High, and they were in need of supplies such as toiletries and warm clothing for the winter. For the SHARE 20th Anniversary celebration at Memorial Hospital, our party planning committee and Executive Board decided to raise money for the North High students with our raffle at the party!

With the generosity of everyone—SHARE members, HR business partners, managers—who donated baskets and bought tickets, we were able to raise $521. We used the money to create toiletry kits and buy warm socks and gloves for the students. The Worcester Teacher’s Association (WTA), the union for the teachers at North High, generously donated gift cards for the students as well.

On February 12, SHARE members and SHARE organizers took a trip to North High to drop off these donations. We were able to meet some of the students from Puerto Rico, their teachers and guidance counselors, and the person who has been coordinating all aspects of the students’ time here in Worcester. It was so powerful to meet and spend time together, and we had a good time, too!

SHARE members know that our community is strong when we take care of each other, and we were so happy to work in solidarity with members of the WTA at North High. Caring for our community helps keep unions strong in Worcester!

UMassFive Credit Union Scholarship

A new scholarship opportunity!

UMassFive is pleased to announce The Pioneer Valley Chapter of the Massachusetts Credit Union League's Scholarship Program is accepting applicants for six $2,000 scholarships and one $1,500 scholarship to be awarded in 2018.

In order to apply, students must:

  • Be members or have a parent/guardian who is a member of a participating credit union (UMassFive College Federal Credit Union)
  • Be a high school senior who will be enrolled in an undergraduate college degree program during the 2018-2019 academic year.
  • Carefully review and complete all requirements in the instructions linked below.

Scholarship Instructions - click here
Scholarship Application - click here

Members can also obtain an application either by stopping by any branch or calling 800-852-5886 All applications must be turned in or post marked no later than March 2, 2018.

Pathway to College program

We recently received the following information from UMMHC Human Resources about a new opportunity for UMass Memorial caregivers to prepare for further healthcare education. Questions can be directed to Christine Staub, HR Organizational Development Specialist, 508-793-5637

Pathway to College Flyer FINAL-1.jpg

The Pathway to College program provides caregivers with the foundation needed to enter a number of degree programs including health education, nursing, occupational studies, business, psychology, and sociology. This collaboration with Worcester State University is a revised version of the Direct Care Pathways program, but expands beyond healthcare specific roles.

Cherie Comeau, Director of Worcester State University’s Center for Business & Industry will be on campus to share information and answer questions

  • University: Tuesday, February 6th  Noon-2 pm Outside Pharmacy near the cafeteria
  • Memorial: Wednesday, February 7th  6:30 - 8:30 am Across from cafeteria
  • Hahnemann: Wednesday, February 14th  11:30 am-1 pm Main Lobby

Program Highlights

  • A 9-month program designed to prepare participants for admission to an associate’s degree program
  • Begins with an Academic Success Seminar followed by three core classes delivered with individual attention from the instructor and support from an advisor
  • Three (3) cohorts of up 20 students, the first group starting in March
  • One evening per week (Cohort 1 will meet on Tuesdays)
  • Low out-of-pocket expenses for those eligible for tuition assistance benefits

New Memorial Campus Co-President

 Jay Hagen (center front, blue scrubs) with participants from the most recent SHARE-UMass Memorial Contract Negotiations

Jay Hagen (center front, blue scrubs) with participants from the most recent SHARE-UMass Memorial Contract Negotiations

Congratulations to Jay Hagan, the new Memorial Campus co-president for SHARE. He has been appointed by SHARE's Executive Board to hold the position until the next presidential election. Jay fills the role previously held by current SHARE staff member Bobbi-Jo Lewis. 

Jay has worked as a CT Technologist at our hospital for over 30 years. He has been serving as the Executive Board member for the Technical Region at Memorial, including on the Contract Negotiating Committee. We are excited for his new role, and looking forward to another Contract Negotiations together later this year.

January Is National Blood Donor Month

 SHARE members and UMass Memorial Blood Bank Technologists Sarah and Jen

SHARE members and UMass Memorial Blood Bank Technologists Sarah and Jen

The Blood Donor Center at UMass Memorial accepts the important gift of blood year-round, and January is a great time to resolve to give. Already in 2018, the American Red Cross has again issued an emergency call for blood and platelet donations in response to a severe winter blood shortage. Blood is required for a number of medical conditions, including, of course, transplants, cancers, and traumatic injuries.

UMass Memorial uses about 31,000 blood products each year to meet the needs of patients. The Blood Donor Center is located on the University Campus, downstairs from the Emergency Department. Walk-ins are welcome for whole-blood donations, or to schedule an appointment, please call 508-421-1950. To find other locations to give, visit the Red Cross website.  

 SHARE Staff Organizer Will Erickson, donating platelets

SHARE Staff Organizer Will Erickson, donating platelets

2018 Dues Increase

How much will SHARE union dues be in 2018?

For 2018, dues will increase for most members by 23 cents per pay period. Below are the old and dues new rates. The new rate will be effective on the first paycheck you receive in January 2018.

Per Pay Period  (1 week)                       2017 rate                   2018 rate

Regular dues rate                                 $8.74                            $8.97

20-hours/week                                        $6.55                            $6.72

That's a total annual increase of $11.96 ($8.84 for employees working 20 hrs/week).

Where does the money go?

The money from dues supports the work that SHARE does. It pays for the organizers' salaries, office rent and supplies, phones, website hosting, printing costs and postage for mailings –  all the things we need to negotiate good contracts, keep people informed, help members to solve problems if they come up, and to support members in having a voice in the workplace. A portion of the dues also goes to our national union, AFSCME, in Washington, and helps to pay for other groups of employees forming unions in their workplaces, and for research and lobbying.

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.

Are my SHARE dues eating my raise every year?

SHARE members gain more than non-union employees even taking the cost of dues into account. In fact, from the end of June 2012 to the end of June in 2017, SHARE members got more raises than non-union employees.  SHARE members get bigger raises (the difference in any particular year between a union raise and non-union raise is small, but the difference adds up). And each year the advantage of being in SHARE grows by having a voice in issues that affect us.

In what ways does having a union give SHARE members a voice?  

  • In contract negotiations, we have a voice in our pay, benefits and work policies
  • In union meetings and individual conversations, we have a voice in the direction and priorities of the union
  • Through the problem-solving process, we have a voice when individual problems/conflicts come up at work
  • In union elections, we have a voice in who our representatives will be
  • Through committees and ad-hoc negotiations, we have a voice in issues that face groups of SHARE members  


You can talk to any of our E-board members or local reps who are active with SHARE, call the SHARE office at 508-929-4020, or email us at share.comment@theshareunion.org

2017 IHI National Forum Field Report


At the 2017 Institute for Healthcare Improvement National Forum, I was struck by a statement that I heard early-on: patients want caregivers to care about one another. Patients know that, otherwise, their treatment is compromised.

 "Personal burnout" is the key indicator of a group's performance. And it can be reversed.

"Personal burnout" is the key indicator of a group's performance. And it can be reversed.

Personal Burnout Makes It Hard to Care  

Bryan Sexton, Director of the Patient Safety Center for the Duke University Health System, pointed to data that indicate that the best predictor of patient care is the level of "burnout" among that patient's caregivers. Did you catch that? That's a Patient Safety director . . . saying that personal burnout has a greater impact on healthcare outcomes than, say, "safety climate," or "teamwork," or any of the more traditional measures. Sexton points out that 50% of physicians are are burned out. As is 30% of healthcare administrative staff. 

Joy at Work?

This year, my second trip to IHI’s annual event, provided lots of learning and smart tools for healthcare improvement. (I blogged from the plane last year, too, if you want a look back.) Beyond the patient care subjects that one might expect from a national healthcare conference, the IHI has adopted a curious and heartening focus on the personal happiness of the people who work in healthcare. Or, as they refer to it, "joy."

Care among Caregivers

I suspect it's always an inspirational event. Definitely the 2017 IHI Forum included some impressive and brave thinking, things that stoked my optimism, examples of people who had figured out useful ways to keep caring central to their jobs as healthcare providers, including:

 IHI CEO Derek Feeley with Patient Advocate Tiffany Christensen and Dr. Awdish

IHI CEO Derek Feeley with Patient Advocate Tiffany Christensen and Dr. Awdish

  • A physician, Rana Awdish, who, on the last day of her residency, had a tumor rupture in her liver. This lead to a scene on the operating table. There, in her own hospital, through her stupor, she could hear someone say that she was “circling the drain.” She pulled through that event. But days later, still in the hospital, all by herself and unable to call out, she had to reach out to press the button and call a code blue on herself, as she lay in her bed, drowning in her own fluids as they redistributed into her lungs. She said she believes her wound was “a gift,” and has given her a keener eye for the system problems that demoralize caregivers and threaten patient health.
  • A heartening story of a hospital that pays for groups of caregivers to go to dinner together every couple of months so that they can talk with one another about their experiences. The dinners were described as a kind of symbiosis--commensalism--and this eating together has brought these employees to care for each other, as well as their patients, in ways that they hadn’t before.

  • Helen MacFie and Lorra Brown, who lead Lean projects at the MemorialCare network of hospitals in Southern California. They spend their work days talking about systems. AND, their concern for others was palpable. MacFie and Brown believe an improvement project is probably incomplete unless it has lead someone to cry happy tears. The pair led a session with an audience of hundreds, encouraging hospital leaders from around the country to hand the tools over to front line employees, the ones who really know how to make meaningful change where it matters.

Your Personal Burnout Assessment

Can you make your workday happier with only a smidgen of effort? It does seem that some small interventions can go a long way. Together with researcher K. Carrie Adair and others at the Duke Patient Safety Center, Bryan Sexton directs the WISER study, which is designed to assess burnout and increase emotional resilience among healthcare workers.

Online, you can access their free, HIPAA-compliant Stress-Reduction Assessment and Resilience Program. For a peek into their hypothesis about strengthening resilience, check out this seven-minute video. (WARNING: this video is pretty fun.)

What else?

This quick summary only scratches the surface of the things I learned at this year's conference. If you'd like to know more about what I learned, and about how SHARE is applying new ideas, let's talk. Drop me a line: kirk.davis@theshareunion.org. As always, thank you for reading . . . 

Flu Season Reminder

UMass Memorial is currently encouraging employees to comply with the hospital flu vaccination policy. At our hospital, whether you get the shot or decline, you are supposed to turn in one of two forms to Employee Health: either the hospital flu vaccine form, (which you can bring with you when you get  your shot to have completed by your own regular care provider, drugstore clinic, etc.) OR, the declination form, if you choose not to be vaccinated.

Hospital-sponsored flu clinics are listed below. The Centers for Disease Control recommends vaccination for most individuals over six months of age, especially those who work in healthcare. This short video featuring UMass Memorial physician Dr. Fozia Qamar addresses some of the most common questions about the vaccine.

As in previous seasons, when flu season hits, the hospital plans to require unvaccinated employees working in patient care areas to wear a mask.


UMass Memorial Flu Clinics 2017

Remember to bring your Kronos' Badge --OR-- Driver’s License with you.


 Monday 12/18   University Campus  RM HB 376  7:00 a.m. -3:30 p.m.

                           291 Lincoln St   Suite 100    7:00 a.m.  – 5:00 p.m.


Tuesday 12/19   University Campus  RM HB 376  6:30 a.m.  -3:30 p.m.

                          291 Lincoln St Suite 100  7:00a.m. -5:00 p.m.


Wednesday 12/20   University Campus   RM HB 376   7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

                         291 Lincoln St Suite 100   7:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.


Thursday  12/21   University campus  RM HB 376 6;30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

                          Memorial Campus   RM MB 2624  12:30p.m. – 3:30p.m.

                          291 Lincoln St   Suite 100   7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Friday  12/22   291 Lincoln St Suite 100 7:00 a.m -5:00 pm