SHARE is highlighted in a new book from the Cornell University Press, entitled The Evolving Healthcare Landscape: How Employees, Organizations, and Institutions are Adapting and Innovating. Our union is profiled in a chapter that describes labor-management partnership at six different hospitals, including our own.
IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF WORK LIFE
The book provides some background about SHARE’s history of “Joint Working Groups that bring together managers, providers, union members, and union staff to discuss issues.” It explains how, recently, our union’s philosophies have matched more with those of the hospital leadership, and align with the efforts of the Center for Innovation and Transformational Change (CITC). There’s even mention of the Patient Satisfaction project involving SHARE members in our hospital’s Central Scheduling department.
The chapter opens by pointing out that, according to previous studies, “labor-management partnerships have been an important and powerful process to improve the quality of services/products, control costs, and improve the quality of work life of employees as result of front-line staff and union involvement.” The chapter concludes with the idea that SHARE “believes strongly that members want to have a more direct role in the process improvement activities as well as improving quality of worklife issues.”
THE WORK AHEAD FOR SHARE
The authors note that we've got a ways to go. “The main challenge thus far,” they write, “is the unevenness of implementation: some departments are quite invested and committed to the process, while others have not adopted any of the new practices.” That certainly describes one of the big challenges ahead. SHARE wants every member to have the tools to improve her work life.
Fortunately, one thing that feels exciting to us is that, less than two months after being printed, the book is already a little out-of-date. The authors note with curiosity in the book that our union and hospital didn’t have any written agreements about our process improvement work.
Things have changed, however. Since our recent contract agreement, we now have a mutual commitment to spread Unit Based Teams throughout our hospital system, and further develop the ability for front-line employees to take the lead in the workplace.
FUTURE STUDIES OF SHARE’S EVOLUTION
We also find it fortunate that the authors, Adrienne Eaton and Becky Givan, have asked to continue to study our efforts. We’ve looked to their writing to better understand the successes and failures of labor-management relationships in the past, and are excited to welcome them to help us make sense of the work we’re doing here.
WANT TO READ MORE?
If you’d like to go farther back in the academic literature, you can read about SHARE in “Changing Work, Changing People: A Conversation with Union Organizers at Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center.”
Or dive even deeper into our history by reading the book about our sister union at Harvard University, We Can’t Eat Prestige: The Women Who Organized Harvard.