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.