Contract Negotiations

SHARE Members Ratify the Contract Agreement with UMass Memorial

It’s official! SHARE’s agreement has been approved by the members.

The vote was 97.4% in favor (1447 “yes” votes; 38 “no” votes)


The hospital’s payroll department currently projects the following schedule for raises:

  • The new pay rates will be reflected in the May 9 paycheck

  • The retro check will come separately on May 16 (the retro check will include the overtime on everything dating back to last October, as though we had made the agreement back then, and so will include overtime hours, etc.)

Note that because the Retro comes as a lump-sum payment, the federal government requires that the withholding rate be at the notorious 40% rate. Since that’s obviously not the tax rate for any of our members, the overage will be credited back when it’s tax return time.

The next raise in the agreement is scheduled to come in October of this year.


We’re looking forward to focusing the union’s efforts to improve members’ day-to-day experience at work. Among other things, the refined Contract language about breaks will help members get time away from patients and workstations. New provisions in our Staffing language make it even easier for members to have productive conversations with hospital leadership about staffing levels within departments. And Unit Based Teams will be coming to more departments soon.


Thank you to everyone who helped make this a strong contract agreement—talking together about negotiations, and singing, and showing your SHARE pride—and to everyone who was able to come out and vote. Your participation makes the difference.


We’ve still got copies of the beautiful poster featuring photos of hundreds of Proud SHARE members. If you’d like a copy to post in your department, please let us know (508-929-4020) and we will bring one to you. Thanks!

Learn More about the Tentative Contract Agreement and Raises

There’s a new section on the SHARE website dedicated to the Tentative Contract Agreement between SHARE and UMass Memorial. There you will currently find a copy of the Summary that was sent to all SHARE members, as well as details about how to determine your individual raise, and a calendar of Information Meetings and Ratification Voting.

The Ratification Vote has been set for April 23rd and 24th. We are currently booking rooms on each campus to give every member the opportunity to vote. (The negotiating team encourages you to vote “Yes!”) In the meanwhile, we’ll keep adding to the website, including more detail about the agreement, answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and additional locations and times of Information Meetings as they become available.

Thank you as always for staying informed and sticking together. More to come . . .


Contract Negotiations Update

SHARE Contract Negotiations Update

SHARE members are showing up to sing. At the WBC, we’re singing Adele in support of a deal.

SHARE members are showing up to sing. At the WBC, we’re singing Adele in support of a deal.

“I've been here 19 years, and I've gotten a raise every year," Maria, an Administrative Assistant in Pediatrics, pointed out at a recent SHARE Rep meeting. 

That’s true. In our 21-year history, SHARE has negotiated a raise every year. The SHARE Negotiating Team has no worries about this year – there will be a raise. We just can’t tell you how much that raise will be yet, because we have not yet reached an agreement with the hospital.  

University Campus members work 24/7 to take care of patients . . . and we’re singing “Eight Days a Week” to support a strong contract.

University Campus members work 24/7 to take care of patients . . . and we’re singing “Eight Days a Week” to support a strong contract.


SHARE members in the Billing departments at 306 Belmont are getting our hospital paid. And they’re showing that they’re “SHARE-Proud” in support of solid raises.

SHARE members in the Billing departments at 306 Belmont are getting our hospital paid. And they’re showing that they’re “SHARE-Proud” in support of solid raises.

All day and all night: the care doesn’t end. Check out  the full gallery of SHARE Caregivers online . Hundreds of photos and growing. . . .

All day and all night: the care doesn’t end. Check out the full gallery of SHARE Caregivers online. Hundreds of photos and growing. . . .

Thank you all for showing up with your enthusiasm at all the recent “SHARE-Proud” Contract Events. These events are giving negotiations the push they need to move faster. Way more than a thousand SHARE members have participated in these events – it’s really important for management to know that everyone cares about what the outcome of negotiations is, and cares enough to help push them forward.

Now negotiations are moving in a positive direction. There for a while, we might have described them as “stuck,” but they are moving again. SHARE and management are exchanging proposals about the raises, getting closer to each other. 

In addition to all the events supporting negotiations, having a mediator is helping. SHARE and UMass Memorial Negotiating teams recently spent three long sessions with a mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, who’s helping to bring us closer together. 


As we have described in previous negotiation updates, it’s not uncommon, even in SHARE’s history, to encounter difficulty reaching agreement with our employer when it comes to raise amounts. SHARE has worked with mediators many times before.  

The FMCS settles labor disputes throughout the United States. As a department of the US Government, their work is paid out of Federal tax monies, so our mediator does not receive any money from hospital funds or union dues.  

SHARE Organizer Janet Wilder gives a Negotiations update to SHARE singers at the Memorial campus.

SHARE Organizer Janet Wilder gives a Negotiations update to SHARE singers at the Memorial campus.

This particular mediator, Marty Callaghan, had a previous career printing the Boston Globe, where he also served as a shop steward, and as President of their union for 17 years. His role is as a neutral third party. In introducing himself to our team, he joked that his boss directs him that he has one main goal: “Don’t make things worse.” All joking aside, the SHARE negotiating team has been pleased with his ability to understand the interests of both sides, and suggest steps we can take toward agreement, even when talking about something that seems like a zero-sum issue, like money. 


Everyone, including management, hopes to reach agreement soon. One of SHARE’s first priorities is to secure ongoing financial progress for all of our members. We have a solid history of doing just that.  

Some negotiations take longer than others to reach agreement. We were talking about this at a SHARE Rep meeting recently. Brian, a Rep and dispatcher for 911 and LifeFlight responders, said "Settling the contract has been fast the last few times. So people who haven't been here as long as I have don't know that it's going to be OK.” Both MNA groups, University and Memorial, are still negotiating, and they started before us. While we would certainly prefer to have finished sooner, we’ve gone longer past the date before.  

We have more negotiation dates set up with the mediator. Learn more about our negotiations online. We’ll keep you posted about both more SHARE events to keep pushing negotiations forward, and about our progress in the negotiations. 

Over 2600 SHARE members in 170 job titles take care of Central Massachusetts

Over 2600 SHARE members in 170 job titles take care of Central Massachusetts


Contract Negotiations Update 

Thank you to all of you SHARE members who are helping to move our contract negotiations forward! 

  • We are making progress on the raises. Slow progress, but progress.  

  • As you probably know by now, we have reached tentative agreement on most of the policy issues discussed, and neither side proposed any changes to the Health Insurance or Pension. Raises remain the unresolved issue.  

  • SHARE proposed involving a mediator to help us come to an agreement about raises. Management agreed. 

  • Remember “Singing for a Strong Contract” from 2016 contract negotiations? We're getting the band back together! Read on for more details about how you can help move negotiations forward . . .   


SHARE Caregivers take pride in their work at UMass Memorial.  Check out the  online portrait gallery  as it continues to grow.

SHARE Caregivers take pride in their work at UMass Memorial.

Check out the online portrait gallery as it continues to grow.

SHARE and management both want a deal – we’ve agreed to get a mediator to help us come to agreement. When we meet this month, he will join us. 

Using a mediator is a common approach for resolving differences between unions and employers. A mediator is a neutral, third-party facilitator: they can’t make decisions for us, or for management – they work to understand both groups’ interests, and find a solution everyone can live with. 


This is taking longer than either SHARE or UMass Memorial would like. But it’s not that unusual for contract negotiations to go this long. Last time we finished in December, and we’ve finished in February or March before. Other unions in our hospitals are negotiating now too, and are farther beyond their contract deadlines. 

We know everyone is waiting – SHARE’s Negotiating Team is pushing hard for a raise that SHARE members would vote for. 


UMass Memorial’s non-union employees got a 2% raise at the end of last year. In negotiations, we don’t discuss the details of the specific proposals made at the table publicly. However, we can be clear that SHARE believes that the non-union 2% is too low for SHARE members.  

SHARE proposals include retro back to October 1, 2018. SHARE Members deserve raises back in time. Sometimes we negotiate something better with the retro amount, as in the case of last time, when the bonus was of more value. 

THE RAISE DEBATE: What SHARE and Management are Saying 

The SHARE Negotiating Team is talking about how hard SHARE members are working. We know that caregivers in hospitals everywhere are experiencing unprecedented burnout. The stresses on our own healthcare system (Epic, short-staffing, flu season, hospital reimbursement changes, etc.) create additional demands on each SHARE member personally. Simultaneously, inflation rates and costs of living, particularly the cost of rents here in Worcester, continue to climb. Your colleagues on the SHARE negotiating team are making this case very clearly at the negotiating table.  

The hospital management team is saying that financial difficulties (the result of decreased Medicaid reimbursements, and periods of low patient volume) undercut their ability to offer higher raises. They believe, too, that they are not having difficulty hiring into many SHARE positions -- the benefits and pay are already good. We continue to argue that SHARE members deserve better, and, in order to keep up with inflation and continue to make progress in their grade, require more than the 2% given to non-union employees.  


SHARE members at the Worcester Business Center are singing for a strong contract!

SHARE members at the Worcester Business Center are singing for a strong contract!

SHARE is working to educate the whole community about the value that SHARE members bring to our hospital. Many hundreds have come to the “SHARE-Proud” tabling events, and the exhibits of SHARE member portraits. These visible displays help move our negotiations forward.  

Next we’ll be getting the band back together, so to speak. Remember “Singing for a Strong Contract” during our last negotiations? It really helped then, so we’re doing it again!  

Save the date for these events, and keep your eye out for additional information: 

  • WBCFriday, February 1 (Groundhog Day, observed), 12:15 PM--parking lot 

  • MemorialWednesday, February 6, 12:15 PM--outside the Amphitheater 

  • UniversityThursday, February 14th  (Valentine’s Day), 12:15 PM—location TBD

  • 306 Belmont: Tuesday, February 19th, details TBD 

Let management know that you are paying attention to contract negotiations, that you care what the outcome is, and help to bring negotiations to a successful agreement – “Come to a Singing for a Strong Contract” event! 


It’s important for everyone to be in the conversation. Communication helps make our union strong. The hospital has a delay in supplying new members’ addresses to SHARE. If you suspect that someone has been left out, please help make sure they get a copy of this message. Thank you! 



Upcoming SHARE Contract Events

Contract Event Flyer Jan19-page-001.jpg

ICYMI: Contract Negotiations Update

In case you missed the email that was sent to all SHARE members on December 21st, it’s printed below. The SHARE negotiating team can use your help! Hope to see you at an event soon.

Keep your eyes peeled for more updates . . .

Our contract negotiations continue. Of course, a raise will be coming, but we do not yet have agreement about the amount or structure of that raise. 

We would all hope to have agreed by now on a wage package. We know that the non-union employees got a 2% raise last week. Money is always the most difficult part of contract talks. Many of you will remember this from previous years, and know that negotiating a good deal often requires work and time that extends some months beyond the contract expiration. The SHARE Negotiating Team is committed to getting the best raises possible for SHARE members – we know that SHARE members are depending on raises to make economic progress for our families.

We are planning events for January to support a strong contract and get these negotiations done. The events will help our hospital community understand the importance of these negotiations, and the importance of the work that SHARE members do to keep UMass Memorial running. Mark you calendars now, and watch for more details:

  • Thursday, January 10 – Faculty Conference Room at University, 11:30-1:30

  • Wednesday, January 16 – Knowles Hall, Memorial, 11:30-1:30

As always, would like to especially thank those of you who cover the work in your department while a colleague must be away for negotiations, and to thank everyone who is working to keep our hospital running strong through the upcoming holidays.  

We will post more details to the SHARE website soon. We look forward to your continued support and participation to help move forward toward contract agreement. And we wish everyone very happy holidays.

Share SHARE Pride: Support Your Contract Negotiating Team


The SHARE Negotiating Team encourages you to visit a “tabling” event on your campus. At the Table, you can find badge reels, posters, and other materials to help you show pride in the work that you do as a SHARE member. Members of the negotiating team will also be on hand to talk about the current Contract Negotiations, and answer any questions you may have.

We have currently scheduled the following Tables:

  • UNIVERSITY CAMPUS — Tuesday, 11/27, 11:30a-1:30p (in the Prescription Center hallway, near the cafeteria)

  • MEMORIAL CAMPUS — Thursday, 12/6, 11:30a-1:30p (across from the cafeteria, near the auditorium)

If you would like to have a Table event scheduled on your campus, or would like a member of the SHARE organizing staff to visit your department with a negotiations update, please call the SHARE office (508-929-4020) and let us know.

Sticking together and sharing our stories keeps our union strong. See you there!

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.

Negotiations Update

Last Thursday, over 170 members gathered enthusiastically 

on the University Campus 

in support of the SHARE negotiating team

Rad Tech Rich Leufstedt and his

banjo perform his song

"SHARE Contract Song 2016"

at the University Campus gathering

Members of the SHARE Negotiating Team continue to meet with hospital management to reach agreement for our next contract. We are still talking about raises. We have two more negotiating sessions scheduled this week, on Thursday and Friday, where our conversations will be mediated by Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld.

Keep your eyes on the blog. We'll post another update and more information soon . . . 

And! Last Friday, more than 70 SHARE members came out

strong at 306 Belmont Street

Memorial SHARE Members Come Out Singing for a Strong Contract

The Memorial Amphitheater played host today to SHARE members who got an

update about negotiations

, and shared some laughs and smiles in support of our negotiating team. So fun!

We have a couple more


 lined up next week. Please join us if you can.

  • University Campus (Old Medical School Lobby, by the book store) Wednesday, November 9, 12:15-12:30

  • 306 Belmont (Cafeteria) Thursday, November 10, 12:15-12:30

Contract Negotiations Update: Getting Close

The good news is that SHARE and UMass Memorial have finished, or mostly finished, the vast majority of issues that we have been discussing. Now we are talking about raises and a couple other tough issues.

As we described here, most of the side tables in our Interest Based Bargaining negotiations have reported out how they propose to resolve their issue to the main negotiating table. Many of the tables were able to come up with proposals that both union and management are satisfied with. In some cases, they were able to propose something that both sides are excited about -- such as the side table talking about unit-based teams.

Raises, plus any other issue that costs money, are usually the last topic that gets resolved in negotiations. Right now, from SHARE's point of view, the numbers that management is thinking about are too low, so we have to keep working on it. From management's point of view, there are big financial challenges coming in 2017:

  • Possible Medicaid cuts of $20-25 million

  • Medicare cuts of $16 million for UMass Memorial, for taking care of the same number of patients

SHARE and UMass Memorial are meeting to negotiate next week. We are hopeful that we can find agreement about raises soon.

Of course, when we do come to an agreement, you will be the first to know!

SHARE and UMass Memorial Contract Negotiations: Week 5, Discipline


Wednesday, August 31st marked the SHARE Negotiating Team's fifth all-day contract negotiations session UMass Memorial.

We talked about the disciplinary process, and the problem-solving process. (The disciplinary steps are listed in the contract -- most people call it "being written up." They start with counseling, and go up to termination. The problem solving process is the steps that Human Resources and SHARE use to discuss and agree or disagree about the level of discipline that a SHARE member gets if their manager or the hospital thinks they did something wrong.)

In addition, members of the Peer-Slotted Scales side table reported back to the main table about options that could create more equity and clarity among the mostly techs job titles that are peer-slotted.

For more detail about this week's session, please read on.


SHARE and management both wanted to talk about how to improve the disciplinary process. Management wanted to talk about timelines, and making sure the process keeps moving.

SHARE wants to bring some of the ideas from lean organizations to how we use discipline:

  • Mistakes should be viewed as an opportunity to improve.

  • Moving away from a "culture of shame and blame" and focusing more on fixing the systems that make it easy to make mistakes.

SHARE and UMass Memorial don't always agree about how much discipline a SHARE member should get. However, we find that we do have interests in common:

  • Respect for SHARE members -- We talked about how to treat SHARE members whose performance or behavior is the subject of a disciplinary meeting.

  • Interest-Based Processes -- We choose to try to resolve the problem and help the SHARE member and manager move forward, rather than to emphasize an adversarial approach.

  • Keeping discipline as local and informal as possible, to help supervisors and SHARE employees resolve issues before they grow and get worse.

  • Transparency and good communication between Human Resources and SHARE, especially when we disagree.

  • Balancing the need for consistency in discipline with the flexibility to recognize the uniqueness of each person and each situation.

September Negotiations

SHARE and UMass Memorial both want to finish by the expiration of our contract, September 30th. (Of course, making sure the right things are in the contract is more important to SHARE than finishing on time!) We've agreed to add several more days of negotiations in September to try to meet our timeline.

Documenting Department Policies -- Getting Rid of the Gray

SHARE members sometimes become frustrated by what they see as "gray areas" in the contract. In an attempt to fix some of these issues, SHARE has made a proposal in contract negotiations to systematize several department-level decisions in black-and-white.

Why the Gray?

SHARE represents almost two hundred job titles, in departments ranging from the tiny variety with two secretaries who work day shift, to enormous departments such as the Emergency Room, which has seventy-four SHARE members, in a variety of jobs, working shifts 24/7. That range leads to some complex challenges. For example, how do you write a vacation policy that would serve all those departments well, especially since they all start off with different ways of handling vacations?

SHARE's answer to that question is to emphasize the input of SHARE members in the department. The SHARE contract has always said that the way vacations are scheduled should be decided in the department, in discussions between the local SHARE members and the local managers. Our position has been that department policies will be different, and differences between departments are ok, as long as the SHARE members in each department have a say.

Most often, where SHARE encounters problems, it's not because of differences between departments, it's because of confusion. In some departments, the vacation policy is very clear because it's written down clearly. If a new manager or a group of SHARE members wants to change the policy because things have changed, they can involve everyone in that discussion. All good.

In other departments, however, the vacation policy isn't written down, and SHARE members get surprised by how it happens each year, or because changes get made without involving staff.

Developing a System for Clarifying and Including SHARE Member Input

SHARE is proposing that every department make sure they have a written policy for the parts of the contract that are left up to SHARE members and their managers to work out in the department. We'd avoid a lot of confusion and problems. SHARE and HR would provide help for any department having a tough time reaching a consensus agreement. We are working toward an agreement that would create deadlines and accountability in order to make sure these policies get documented.

(We also discussed absenteeism and the Massachusetts Earned Sick law at negotiations this week.)

Contract Negotiations 2016: Session #2


SHARE and UMass Memorial had our second contract negotiations session on Wednesday, August 10. As we reported last week, these negotiations continue to feel different from past negotiations. One key difference is the use of “co-facilitation,” a new process involving one union and one management leader to steer each discussion. This week we continued our focus on issues from the previous session:

  • Interactions between SHARE members and supervisors and managers, which SHARE brought to the table. This week, Tod Wiesman (AVP, Performance, Learning, and Education) addressed the negotiators; he described the ideas that the hospital’s executive leadership is developing to train and cultivate hospital leaders.

  • Increasing flexibility for cross-campus floating, which management brought to the table. This week, five front-line managers were brought in to describe their interests in floating SHARE employees. We also established an additional side table to drill down further on the issue of floating.

We started with 2 difficult issues, where managers and union leaders start from very different places. We are working to understand each other, and to try to find common ground.

For more info, read on...


Of course, every round of negotiations will feel different. In the three or so years between contracts, things change. Each negotiations, SHARE welcomes a few new members to its team, and misses a few from before. That said, our team remains relatively constant: a majority of our team members have negotiated before. On the flip side, UMass Memorial has an entirely new Executive Leadership team since our previous negotiations, and the leadership of the hospital’s Labor Relations department has completely turned over since our last negotiations. This results in a new management negotiating team. While many of the members of their team bring significant experience to the table, the leaders of their team are experiencing Interest Based Bargaining for the first time.

The teams at the main table are also bigger than we’ve had in the past. This has the advantage of people bringing experiences from a wide range of departments to the discussion. Management's team is a combination of Human Resources people, and front-line and middle managers.

Though we are trying to use Interest Based Bargaining, we can't leave history behind entirely, and it’s easy to fall into old habits of traditional bargaining. We’re all working to establish good foundations for ongoing relationships, as we tackle some of the most ambitious subjects SHARE has addressed in negotiations.

A New Experiment: Co-Facilitation

One part of these negotiations that is new to everyone involved is “co-facilitation.” Our early training sessions and initial bargaining session were led by a facilitator, Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld. He trained two individuals from each side to act as neutrals, guiding the discussions about particular topics. The facilitators are:

  • Myra Shah, UMMMC Human Resources

  • Jeff Mogan, UMMMC Labor Relations

  • Will Erickson, SHARE

  • Elisabeth Szanto, SHARE

Although the facilitators each come from within the teams of negotiators, when they’re in the role of co-facilitator, they put on a different hat. Their job is to make sure that the conversation is flowing, and that we’re driving toward conclusions efficiently. They also help to make sure that notes are being captured accurately. (One other unique aspect of this negotiations is that notes are being taken and displayed, in real time, on an overhead projector.)


We’ll keep the updates coming on the blog. To learn more, and weigh in about either of the topics we’ve discussed, and about what topics are coming up, please join us at an upcoming SHARE Information Meeting about Contract Negotiations.

Contract Negotiations 2016: Our First Session

SHARE and UMass Memorial had their first contract negotiations session last Wednesday. For those of us on the SHARE Negotiating Team who have negotiated several contracts before this, this session seemed really different. Our training on Interest Based Bargaining, and our choice to have a facilitator to run negotiations, are positive changes.

Here’s what we accomplished at our first session:

  • Set up side tables to negotiations to work on specific issues.

  • Mapped out a schedule of when each issue will be discussed. We’ve never done this before, and we think it will help make sure we are moving forward quickly.

  • Began discussions about 2 issues:

    • Interactions between SHARE members and supervisors and managers, which SHARE brought to the table.

    • Increasing flexibility for cross-campus floating, which management brought to the table.

  • We worked hard to understand each other’s interests in bringing this issue forward, and to begin brainstorm solutions that everyone might be able to agree to. No agreements were made on either issue yet.

For more info about either of these 2 topics and about what topics are being discussed at negotiations, or to put in your opinion, please join us at SHARE Information Meetings about Contract Negotiations.