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

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: 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


AFSCME Free College Benefit: Register Now for January Classes

It’s a great time to be online with AFSCME's Free College benefit.

Spring 2018 classes start January 16th, so don't delay.

Get started right away to take advantage of this opportunity for you and your family, and you won’t have to pay a penny out of pocket.
Thousands of AFSCME members have already signed up for classes and are sharing this benefit with their spouses, children and grandchildren as well. Spouse to spouse, parent to child or grandparent to grandchild, AFSCME’s partnership with Eastern Gateway Community College allows members to share this valuable college degree opportunity awhere it means the most. Right in your own home with your own family!
Eastern Gateway Community College is a public, fully accredited, open-access college in Ohio, and credits are transferable. No entrance exam or placement test is required; you only need to complete the EGCC application, send in your high school or GED transcript, and apply for and use any available federal financial aid. AFSCME Free College will cover the difference for tuition, fees and e-books.
The AFSCME Free College benefit is bigger and better than ever, so spring into action with us this January.

Visit us at or call toll free at 1-888-590-9009 to take the next step to a brighter future.

Career Counseling Appointments for SHARE Members

Brought to you by The SHARE-UMass Memorial Workforce Planning Partnership Committee
Are you interested in professional growth and development?
Quinsigamond Community College’s Center for Workforce Development and Continuing Education will be offering career counseling to interested SHARE members.
Benefits of Individual Career Counseling
  • Discover personal interests, skills, and work values
  • Identify factors that influence career development
  • Explore career options
  • Locate sources of career information and support
  • Determine next steps and develop a plan to achieve goals
Meet privately with a certified career counselor who can guide you through a step-by-step process to explore options, set goals, and take action.
To Register for an afternoon appointment on Wednesday, December 6 at University Campus or Wednesday, December 13 at Memorial Campus:
  • Contact Jackie Kaczowka, Administrator Center for Workforce Development at QCC at 508-751-7911.
  • You will be asked to provide your name, address, date of birth, and email address.
  • Complete an online* assessment prior to your meeting. Instructions will be emailed to you upon registration. The assessment takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.
  • After meeting with the counselor and reviewing your report, a follow up meeting will be scheduled.
*If you do not have access to a computer, please contact Christine Staub in Human Resources at

SHARE Supports Raise Up for a $15 Minimum Wage and Paid Family/Medical Leave

SHARE Organizers Jihelah, Eve, and Dylan
collected signatures outside the White City Trader Joe’s this week! 
This Fall, some SHARE organizers have been supporting the Raise Up coalition to bring two questions to the public on election day 2018. We have been working on gathering the number of signatures required to get a $15 minimum wage (phased in slowly over four years) and paid family/medical leave on the ballot next year so that we, as citizens of Massachusetts, can decide if we want these changes in our state.

Raise Up is a group of unions, churches, and small community organizations from across the state who are committed to positive changes for working families here in Massachusetts.

At SHARE, we see how valuable these changes would be for our members, and for all working people in MA. Many SHARE members have family and dependents at home who make the minimum wage. We believe that everyone deserves the ability to support themselves and their family, and right now, working 40 hours a week for the current $11 minimum wage just isn’t cutting it. And we know that a raise in the minimum wage helps to support solid raises for SHARE members when we negotiate with hospital management.

The Paid Family/Medical Leave proposal is also a better deal for working families. That proposal would provide up to 26 weeks of job-protected medical leave at 90% of pay if an employee is sick, and up to 16 weeks of job-protected family leave at 90% of pay if they have to care for a family member or have a new baby at home. A higher standard would help SHARE as we negotiate leaves-of-absence in our own contract in the future.

Some of our SHARE reps have been volunteering their time to collect signatures so that we will have the chance to vote on these two important issues next fall. If you are interested in joining that effort, or if you have questions about these two initiatives, please email or call/text (617) 620-4091.

SHARE Raise Delivered in October 13 Paycheck

UMass Memorial Human Resources has confirmed that the SHARE raises will be on time. SHARE members started earning their new rate on Sunday, October 1st. That new amount will show up in paychecks next week, October 13, and should be visible on-line starting on Saturday.

Most SHARE members are getting a 2% across the board raise, plus the annual SHARE platform movement amount. The across-the-board raise keeps you up with inflation, and the platform movement gives you credit for another year of experience and moves you up toward the grade max.
This is the final raise negotiated under our current contract. We expect to begin negotiating the next contract, including raises, in the Spring-Summer of next year.
. . . will receive the entire raise to their base pay, unless their raise would put them over the new higher Max Cap. (Only eleven SHARE members will be at the Max Cap for their grade. They will be contacted directly by SHARE staff about their raise, a portion of which will be paid-out as a bonus.)
We have completed a great amount of the work involved to slot individuals onto platforms. Thank you to everyone affected for your help in making sure that the hospital has the correct experience data on record for you. We are still working with management to finalize the process, and will contact you all with a further update.
For most SHARE members, those whose current rate of pay is already on a platform, you can identify your new rate by locating your current rate in the online Pay Grids, then moving one column to the right and one row down.

For more detailed instructions about using the pay grids -- or if you current pay is between platforms, at max or over max, or in a grade without platforms -- please contact the SHARE office for help. 508-929-4020

So Fun! 20th Anniversary Celebration on the University Campus

SHARE: 20 Years Old
3200 Strong
By the Numbers

Nine hundred attendees, give or take a few. That’s how many people popped in last for SHARE’s 20th Anniversary Celebration on the University Campus. SHARE members came down during lunchtime to the Faculty Conference Room from desks and bedsides and lab benches, and even bussed over from other campuses. Thank you to everyone who made time to make the event such a success!

It was a pretty good day for two unions recognizing a shared anniversary. And in other nifty statistics, our celebration had nine raffle winners. More importantly, altogether, the raffle participants contributed $535 to the UMass Medicine Cancer Walk and Run.

SHARE Rep Rich Leufsted
reprises his famous "SHARE Song"
A Festive Atmosphere

We were excited to catch up with old friends: SHARE retirees, SHARE members who have been promoted to management positions, and some beloved SHARE members who have moved on to other careers. Joining us, too, were many guests, including students, nurses, executive leaders from our Hospital and Medical School, members of sister unions, and even a few folks who just wandered in wondering what the hubbub was about.  

We ate. We sang. We marveled a bit at how SHARE’s values of kindness and respect have translated into policies and work systems that enable SHARE members to participate at work. We did an awful lot of smiling.

SHARE-UMMS EBoard Member AJ Iaconi
describes how a Joint Working Group
at the Critical Care Unit has improved working conditions
and patient care

Support from an Old Friend

Congressman Jim McGovern returned to the University Campus where he championed our union in
Congressman Jim McGovern
commended the courage of employees
who voted to unionize
the beginning. He reminded us that, twenty years ago, the formation of SHARE was the result of the largest organizing effort central Massachusetts had seen in over sixty years.

As he looked over the crowd, Jim McGovern noted members of the senior leadership team participating in our big day. He called it a testament to SHARE's commitment to partnership and non-adversarialism. As he pointed out, especially in those earliest days, University and Hospital management have not always recognized the value of our union. He praised our union's earliest pioneers, who didn't know how management would react, and had to believe that we could create the kind of union that would make our community stronger.

Congressman McGovern remembered our earliest days so well that he even teased us about the unscoopable frozen-solid ice cream that we chiseled into servings at that ice cream social, back-in-the-day. And he encouraged us to continue being brave in our efforts, saying that SHARE members were not only important to one another in the room, and to our hospital, but because we’re a vital union that makes the middle class possible.
More to Come in SHARE’s 20th Year

SHARE Rep and PCA Kona Enders
describes how SHARE members
stick together
The event also served as a great show of our spirit and our strength leading into next-year’s contract negotiations. Both SHARE at UMass Memorial and SHARE at UMass Medical School will sit down at the table with our respective employers next year.

In the coming year, at anniversary events throughout our campuses, we’ll continue celebrating, and reflecting, and thinking ahead together. To keep up, be sure to subscribe to the SHARE blog, and check in to learn about developments at

SHARE Hospital Treasurer Kathy Girouard
and Organizer Dylan Goodman
tended the photobooth--until the crowds took over the space

New SHARE/JOIN Fellow Eve Feldberg explains
how an increased minimum wage
benefits SHARE members and other members of our community

Nice shout-out from Congressman McGovern on his Facebook page!

Twentieth Anniversary Celebration This Thursday

It's here! Happy anniversary! This Thursday, we kick off a year of celebrating throughout our campuses with a bash on the University Campus. Join us for some fun!
SHARE 20th Anniversary Celebration
Thursday, September 21st
UMMS Faculty Conference Room
  • Food! Including sub sandwiches, homemade treats, and -- of course -- chocolate!
  • Songs! New and old, written by SHARE members
  • Special guests! Including Congressman Jim McGovern, returning to congratulate our union, which he championed on our campus 20 years ago
  • Raffle! Enter to win one of several baskets. All proceeds go directly to support the Cancer Walk
  • Memories, Friends, and More! Including free SHARE Union schwag!
Both our Hospital and Medical School unions will enter contract negotiations in the coming year. This is a perfect time to show off the good things our unions have done, to highlight our goals, and to demonstrate to the community our strength and aspirations. Let’s eat, and laugh, and enjoy!
Developments, details, and other anniversary events can be found at

Help Keep Your Union Strong

Hi blog reader!

We really appreciate that you’re keeping tabs on your union’s news. There are now a few hundred subscribers to the SHARE blog . . . not to mention all of our unsubscribed readers. Thank you!
Never have our connections to one another been more important than now. Our unions have grown to include over 3,200 members. If you’re a faithful blog reader, or have been around our union for a bit, you know that person-to-person conversations make our union strong. That's a lot of conversations.

This Thursday, we’re hosting our first big event to celebrate SHARE’s 20 Year Anniversary. Throughout the year, we’ll be celebrating on all of the campuses, and we want to kickstart things right. We encourage everyone who can to come out to this one. Every member deserves to have a meaningful connection to their union, and we would love your help.

Here are a few things you can do now . . .

Ten Easy Things You Can Do this Week to Help Keep SHARE Strong

  1. Come to our keystone event, the 20th Anniversary Celebration, on September 21st.
  2. Bring a plate of finger foods to that party.
  3. Email a photo of yourself, along with a quote about what SHARE means to you, to
  4. Print a flyer or three, and post them in your area.
  5. Hand out postcard invitations to friends and co-workers (ask your SHARE organizer for some, or contact the SHARE office: 508-929-4020).
  6. Help plan to celebrate on your campus . . . contact your SHARE organizer for details.
  7. Subscribe to the SHARE blog.
  8. Warm up your voices and be ready to sing.
  9. Ask your co-workers to do any of the above!

SHARE at Fenway Park

SHARE Union Co-President Bobbi-Jo Lewis
on deck to be recognized
during the pre-game ceremonies
There’s nothing like that feeling of being in the ballpark with friends, with the bright lights all around, as a talented singer nails those last few bars of "The Star Spangled Banner." And when Martha Vedrine stepped her voice up an extra interval near the end of her recent performance of the Anthem at Union Night, it was a magical thing. The stands erupted. Martha is a member of our sister union at Harvard University, HUCTW, where she works at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.  

HUCTW member Martha Vedrine
singing the National Anthem

At the Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Labor Day, over 220 of the seats were filled by members of SHARE and HUCTW. Union Night is designated to recognize what unions do to improve the lives of working people.

Our own SHARE Hospital union co-president, Bobbi-Jo Lewis, was recognized during the ceremonies. "I've been bringing my kids to watch the Red Sox since they were little. It was really special for them to be in the stands while I got a chance to wave up at the crowd from the field," Bobbi-Jo said.

Bobbi-Jo's kids at the game:
SHARE member Emily Anderson
and her brother Tyler
We’re already looking forward to the next Union Day at Fenway. Although the Major League schedule hasn’t been announced for next season, we’ve got our fingers crossed for a day game, so more SHARE families can be able to come. We’ll keep you posted.

In the meanwhile, most any time that you go to Boston to see the Sox, you can listen to the musical skills of HUCTW member Josh Kantor. Josh is Fenway’s official organist. He has negotiated a flex-time arrangement with his supervisors at Harvard University’s Loeb Music Library so that he can perform at all of the home games. Next time you’re at a game, you can even Tweet him a song request!

The Great SHARE Recipe Swap: Kathy Bateman's Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Looking for a festive party food that you can whip up quickly to bring to an event? Let’s say, for example, the SHARE 20th Anniversary Party? SHARE-UMMS President Kathy Bateman has you covered. Below is her recipe for Chocolate Covered Pretzels.

If you’re bringing your Nana’s secret-recipe fudge brownies to our big day, that’d be a welcome treat, of course. That said, we also would love to include everyone in the recipe collection. To learn more about our pot-luck event, and to access the Recipe Swap easy submission form, just visit the Great SHARE Recipe Swap website.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

About this Dish: This recipe is so fun and easy that children will enjoy rolling, sprinkling and designing their own pretzel creation. I make these during the holidays and they disappear in no time.

Ingredients and How to Make It:

1 container of Pretzel rods (about 48 rods in a container)
Melting chocolate – I use white and milk, but you can use whatever color/flavor you like.
Sprinkles for decoration
Parchment or wax paper


Have at least 4 large cookie sheets lined with parchment paper – this makes clean-up a breeze and the pretzels will not stick to the cookie sheet.

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees and turn the oven off.

Place the vanilla and chocolate on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and put into the oven to let the chocolate melt. Test for doneness by taking a toothpick, and swirl the chocolate through the middle.

While the chocolate is melting, place two of the parchment lined cookie sheets in the freezer so the chocolate will harden quickly after being dipped.

When the chocolate is melted, remove from the oven. Roll the pretzel rods in the chocolate to coat evenly and place on a frozen cookie sheet. This works up quickly. Once you have a whole sheet of pretzels, sprinkle with colored sprinkles and drizzle the different colored chocolate over the dark chocolate, same with the dark chocolate, drizzle over white pretzels. If you don’t have sprinkles, the drizzles will do just fine.

Place the decorated pretzels in the freezer for about 5 minutes. After removing from the freezer, place the pretzels on a plate or platter. Enjoy!

Additional Comments:
I purchase the white and chocolate flavored “Plymouth Pantry Almond Bark” at Wal-Mart, but you can use any kind of melting chocolate.

Submitted By: Kathy Bateman
Department: Pathology

Epic Training Update, Including Tips for Class

SHARE has a deep interest in the success of Epic. Our hospital has invested significantly in the new Epic system, and the our progress will be tied to its implementation. In a recent SHARE Rep meeting, we compared experiences with Epic Training. Most Reps generally agreed that trainers had been knowledgeable and helpful. They felt the hospital had made it an imperative to make sure that every employee succeeds with the testing required for Epic GoLive.

That said, we also heard about problems. In some classes, materials hadn’t been pertinent to everyone in the class. SHARE communicated a thorough roundup to the hospital leadership in charge of Epic, and our report lined up with the other feedback they’d been hearing, including concerns about:

  • In-class hardware issues
  • Class location
  • Parking
  • Accessing the Epic Playground
  • Ensuring accuracy with meal count
  • Consistency between trainer instructional delivery
  • Trainers not always able to respond to UMMHC policy related workflow questions

Hospital leadership seems to be responding quickly to correct shortcomings. The good news is that exit evaluations show that employees have found the Epic Trainings to be very beneficial. And that the trainings are getting better over time.

Those who have already been through Epic implementation at other hospitals tell us that it’s common at this point for employees to feel anxious about the amount that they’ll need to know at GoLive. Hospital leaders have described that employee feedback has helped them better understand our hospital’s unique needs. They are working with Epic to tailor a robust set of easy-to-use tools to make the transition to Epic successful for every employee.

If you haven’t yet been to an Epic training, SHARE Representative (and Epic Superuser) Kate Richardson makes the following suggestions:

  • Take strong notes and write down as much as you can. This will be a great reference come GoLive.
  • Keep your classroom materials, you will need these to practice in the playground.
  • Practice in the playground often.

SHARE members can learn more at

The Great SHARE Recipe Swap: Jillian Schellhammer's Crab Rangoon Dip

In honor of SHARE's 20th Anniversary (And, to prepare for the big Celebration), we're currently accepting recipes for the Great SHARE Recipe Swap.
We'd love to include your recipe in the collection. Find more details, including an easy submission form, on the Great SHARE Recipe Swap website.
To whet your appetite, here's a recipe provided by SHARE member Jillian Schellhammer, who works in Provider Enrollment in our hospital.

Crag Rangoon Dip with Toasted Won Tons and Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
About this Dish: I'm always preparing my house's dinner for the week on Mondays.. Feeling good, beginning of the week, I'm thinkin', "let's have a movie night Friday, and I'll make snacks!" - meaning, I will be tired after a long work week and have to host friends that I invited when I was energized (this happens, well, every week..). So, I prepared my Monday grocery shopping list and set off to the store. Thursday comes around, I'm already dreading hosting this little get together - thinking about all the cooking I will have to do.. Is there a way I can just order pizza..? Then it's Friday. I know how I am, I do this all of the time, I know that I'm going to go way overboard - and what do I do? Just that. BUT! It was totally worth it, and actually ended up being decently easy (just time consuming, you can easily make the thai chili sauce ahead of time or use store bought - I prefer homemade). Give it a try to wow your guests, or just yourself when you're craving some crab rangoons but really don't want the guilty feeling at the end.
Ingredients and How to Make It:
Crab Rangoon Dip Ingredients:
12oz lump crabmeat (or imitation crab), drained and shredded
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire
2 tsp soy sauce
3 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp Sriracha
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 package won ton wrappers (optional)
Sliced scallions

Sweet Thai Chili Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red chili flakes (I add a dash more for a little more kick!)

Preheat oven to 350F
IF DIPPING WITH WON TONS: Cut them into triangles, 2 per sheet. Add them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spray with cooking spray, and bake for 5-7 minutes until golden brown. Set aside.
In a large bow, mix crabmeat, cream cheese, sour cream, 1 cup shredded mozzarella, Worcestershire, soy sauce, lemon juice, Sriracha, garlic and pepper. Add salt to taste, give it another stir, and add to a casserole dish.
Top with remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and bake for 25 minutes until the top begins to brown.
While dip is cooking, whisk all Sweet Thai Chili Sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened.
Garnish hot Crab Rangoon dip with Sweet Thai Chili Sauce drizzle and chopped scallions. Dip with toasted won tons or dippers of your choice.
... ENJOY!
Additional comments: Baked won ton wrappers can easily be substituted with any chip/cracker of your choice.
Leftover Sweet Thai Chili Sauce can be stored in a jar in the refrigerator for a few months.
FYI, won ton wrappers are found in the produce section!
Personal recipe blog coming SOON!
Submitted By: Jillian Schellhammer
Department: UMass Memorial Medical Group - Provider Enrollment

SHARE Member in the Spotlight: Debra Clark

Deb Clark, standing for a strong contract
on the University Campus
As we come up on SHARE's 20th Anniversary, we're reflecting on how far our union has come.

After our most recent contract negotiations, I sat down with Deb Clark, a long-term UMass Memorial employee and SHARE union leader. She’s got a unique perspective on our contract and negotiations. Deb is a veteran negotiator and member of the SHARE Executive Board. Incidentally, in the past, she’s also been laid off from the hospital three times, and has intimate familiarity with SHARE’s work-security policy.

SHARE’s been working to improve UMass Memorial for twenty years, and, in spite of our successes, our hospital often isn’t a happier place. What does Deb Clark think about that? Is there reason to be more optimistic now?

As she points out, one optimistic note is that the hospital’s commitment to working with SHARE to improve the culture for employees is now spelled out in our contract: “We have their full support to make sure that these things happen. They are committed to doing it,” she said.

I interviewed Deb because I wanted to know, from her perspective, now that our new contract is being implemented: what does she think of the work that we’re doing? Where does it go from here? If you know her, you won’t be surprised that Deb has her own ideas about SHARE’s outlook in the years to come. Here’s our full conversation . . .

Kirk Davis
SHARE Staff Organizer

KD: Debbie Clark! Where do you work and what do you do all day?

DC: I work in Lakeside A, the CDU [Clinical Decision Unit]. I'm the unit clerk, and we're pretty busy down there. We're constantly busy, moving, doing something different every minute.

KD: I don't see how it would be anything else there. You and I have been on the SHARE negotiating team at least a couple of times before. How many negotiations have you been in?

I think this is my third negotiations that I've been in, so . . . three.

KD: Since you've been in negotiations before: what were you expecting this time around?

I really didn't know what to expect this time around. They [the Interest-Based Bargaining principles] were all new ideas to us, that we had been trained in and worked with, and it was a kind of learn-as-you-go kind of experience, so we weren't really sure what we were in for.

KD: We did learn . . . we had formal training and a great facilitator in Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, is that the kind of thing that you're getting at?


KD: We've always attempted to have a kind of informal Interest-Based negotiation approach, and every time we negotiate with the hospital it's different. We're always negotiating with a different negotiating team . . . a different CEO, for example, and different leaders in Labor Relations. And we've had varying levels of success with that approach. What would you say about past negotiations that would make you expect one thing or another?

Well, I think past negotiations were pretty cut-and-dried. It was "yes, no." "Yes, no." It was pretty formal. You proposed what you proposed, and they said "no." You know? SHARE tried again, management said "no." It was pretty discouraging, but by your second set of negotiations, you kind of knew that that's how it pretty much went.

This one here, we were very hopeful that it was going to be different, and it turned out to be great compared to the beginning, the very beginning, what I thought it would turn out to be. I didn't have much hope at the beginning. I knew our team was doing a great job, but I didn't have much faith that the other side really believed in it very much. That was my first opinion of it.

KD: That makes a lot of sense . . . I mean, we hadn't negotiated with -- well, a few of these people we had negotiated with before -- but they had new lead negotiators, and we didn't know what to expect. Were there particular things that started to change your mind or build trust? Was it a lot of little things? Was it one big thing that created trust? How did your change of mind happen?

Well, I think as I saw them starting to . . . maybe not totally agree with what we were saying, but at least be open to our ideas, and what we brought forth to the table. At the beginning, I don't think they knew what to do, so I don't think they were eager to play into it, but as time went on, and as we worked with them and built relationships with them, it got much better, they were trying, or at least most of them were trying, to try to come to an agreement that we could all agree to.

KD: This was a bigger group that we've ever negotiated with, on both sides, than we've ever had before. I mean, part of the difference to me felt like there was a big big cast of characters, and lots of cats to herd, in any conversation we had, and that things started to get a little bit smoother when we started breaking down into some of the Side Tables and Follow Up Groups. Which of those did you participate on?

Teams and Culture, Leaves of Absence, Documenting Department Policies, and Absenteeism . . . quite a realm of different topics.

KD: One of the things that was really good about having lots of little teams was that we got a lot done quickly. I mean, it felt like a lot of work for each little individual team, and when you added it all together, we did a lot of work in a little bit of time. At least, that's how it felt to me, and I was not even on as many groups as you. Was there a group that worked better for you, in a way that would be worth telling people about?

Well I think my smallest group was on Absenteeism, and I think because we all agreed that it was a problem that everyone needed to deal with, and we looked at in a realistic way, we came to a conclusion much faster and easier because it was pretty much laid out straight forward. You know, everybody can't be absent from work and have the work get done. You know, so, that one there was probably the easiest. It was a pretty cut and dried topic.

The Teams & Culture Side Table involves a lot a lot of things, and a lot a lot of people, so that one there took more time, more effort, but it seemed to work out well in the end as well. It was just a lot different from a simple topic group.

KD: So that's the group that was trying to figure out how to make UBT's [Unit-Based Teams] work? We've talked about that on the blog before, and we can point folks toward that.

The thing that's interesting to me, and I heard my co-worker Will saying this too, that he found himself surprised when we came to times when management was advocating for positions that are traditionally union-type arguments, and the union was advocating for things that were more management-type positions.

And you're saying that in your smallest group, you just all kind of were on the same side. You know, there needs to be a certain level of staffing, and we need to have it so people can be out when people can be out, and have the staff to run the place here. But I'm wondering, what surprised you about management's approach to teams? Were they more receptive to the idea of teams? Did they have a different idea of teams?

DC: I think first of all it's a very new topic to everybody, so nobody knows exactly what this is going to entail, but everybody in my group was very enthusiastic.  So, they're all wanting to do it, wanting to do a good job, trying to figure out where they can start it, what projects are going to be achievable so we don't have any failures at the beginning. So I think it's a happy topic, whereas absenteeism . . . not so much. It's encouraging, if it works, which we're going to make sure that it does. It's something that people can look forward to, and look forward to getting involved in. It's not a tedious kind of punishment group like some of the others were. Where, you know, you're doing something bad, what's going to happen to you? This is all good. Doing something good. Trying to make things better.

KD: Can you imagine that kind of topic being discussed in any of our previous negotiations? We've not had a topic that happy in past negotiations, I don't think. How much of that is dependent on the people who are negotiating?

DC: For SHARE’s part, this work just kind of keeps going. For a while, we focused a lot on Patient-Experience Projects. We did a great job. In the end, everyone had good intentions, but it just petered-out, you know? You go along go along go along . . . then okay, where is it? It’s gone. Everyone had great intentions, but there was no means to finish the project off and actually come up with results. So people are skeptical that anything can ever really happen, and truly be good.

KD: I’m really interested in that thing that you said, about in the past things just petered out, even SHARE’s best-intended projects. We had some success, and then other priorities took over. Those improvement projects didn’t have -- I forgot your exact words -- but they didn’t have what it takes to see it through to the end, not in a way that improved the hospital as a whole. You still sound, in spite of that, optimistic, that this round negotiations is turning out some different kind of outcome, that isn’t going to fizzle. You sound optimistic in spite of your experience. Obviously we don’t know yet. What makes you feel like this could actually bring more more effective outcomes than we’ve had before?

DC: Because this time around I have, and I’m depending on this, the words of people like Bart Metzger and Eric Dickson, that we have their full support to make sure that these things happen. They are committed to doing it. Committed to helping us. They’re committed to being a part. If we have questions, and we need to talk to them, speak to them, they’re committed to helping us make this be a success, so it’s the best support we’ve ever had. We’re not out there on our own, we have the words of these people, of the higher-ups at UMass, that they’re there to support us.

KD: That commitment is built into our contract now. And we’ve negotiated a lot of structural things this time. There’s one difference that we knew going in, that there’s a philosophical agreement at the top,  that frontline employees should be involved in decision-making, and it’s in the hospitals initiatives. We shall see.

Let me ask, this is our twenty-year anniversary -- come September, SHARE will be twenty years old. You’ve been here for some of that. How do think that SHARE has made an effect on the hospital in those twenty years?

DC: Well, I was speaking with SHARE before there was a union here. They were calling me at home, I was speaking with all of the organizers. I’ve always been a big pro-union person, and I believe one-hundred percent that SHARE has helped with every aspect of UMass’ people who are involved in the SHARE union. Without them, I mean, we’d be in dire straits. Before SHARE, and I was here for many years before SHARE also. I’ve been 30 years at UMass. We were at the mercy of the State of Massachusetts. So we got whacked quite a few times, and there was no one to turn to, it’s just the way that it was. You just had to accept it, or go work somewhere else. You know, so SHARE has been great as far as I’m concerned. I don’t have a bad thing to say about our union at all.

KD: We’re looking forward to another twenty years more, at least. What’s the best thing that you’d like to see happen, what’s something you’d like to see SHARE do in that 20 years. What would you like to be able to say, “Boy, SHARE really knocked it out of the park by doing . . . x?"

DC: Well I think along with our contract that we just negotiated, keeping our pay competitive, so people can afford to live, so they’re not impoverished. That’s very important to me. Our health benefits, keeping them affordable -- which SHARE always has done -- is very, very important. So, I think those are the two main things. You have to come to work, and you have to be able to do a day’s work for a day’s pay, and make it the best we can. SHARE has helped, and that’s what we’re aiming for with this contract. And having a decent wage, and decent benefits, which we’ve always had . . . you couldn’t ask for more. That’s what you need to work for. You have to have it to be able to survive.

KD: We have held on to really good benefits and had consistent raises for twenty years, and the challenges to those things aren’t going away. If anything, they’re getting harder. So, that makes sense to me that should still be our focus. I just want to say thanks very much. We’ll see you again at negotiations next time . . .  and of course, sooner.

DC: Thank you very much!