Raises and Layoffs

Last week we were very excited to announce that SHARE members had voted to ratify the newly-negotiated contract proposal. Later that day, we opened our inboxes and our newspapers and were socked with ugly news: UMass Memorial announced layoffs are on the way. Here are the facts that we have:
  1. We don't know how many SHARE members will be affected; we don't have a list; we don't know when it will be done. It is clear that management is creating a list, but we don't have any information yet about how many SHARE members will be affected, much less where or who they are. There are a lot of rumors, and many of them contradict each other. We are trying to get more information.  
  2. We are told by hospital management that the 140 positions reported in the news is a financial target, meaning that there is an amount of money that the Hospital plans to save by cutting jobs; this number would equate to 93 FTE's. Our understanding is that management is still figuring out which cuts they will make to reach that target.
  3. We have our Work Security process in place. Whatever is coming, we will follow our process by: 1st, looking for alternatives to layoffs; 2nd, making sure that if someone is laid off, it is the least senior person rather than the least popular person; and 3rd, working with whoever is losing a job to find another one as soon as possible. Layoffs are horrible, but together we are good at helping people through them.
Many of you have been emphasizing that you value job security more than any particular benefit. (That makes sense: if you don't have a job, raises and health insurance don't do any good.) Even many who have a relatively strong sense of job security have said you would be willing to take cuts for the sake of job security for your friends and co-workers.

In contract negotiations, the SHARE team discussed with management the idea of protecting SHARE jobs. When SHARE has offered help save money in the past, these efforts have not prevented SHARE layoffs. Hospital management did agree to our new proposals for stronger language regarding work security when it comes to contracting out and selling portions of the hospital to outside agencies. Management says cuts will be based on volume, and that they cannot make any contractual promises about staffing levels. 

Like many others at UMass Memorial, our union has made real sacrifices. As a result of our negotiations, our future members will receive three fewer earned time-days than our current members. We revised our pension plan to create savings. We are doing our part. We know that financial stability is good for the hospital, for patients, and for SHARE employees.

We all have a lot of questions about the future at UMass Memorial, and about our jobs. As always, we will take care of one another and use our Work Security program to protect our members' livelihoods.