Contract Negotiations 2016

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!

2100 Signatures, Poster Power, and Negotiations

Our negotiations updates wouldn’t be complete if they didn’t touch on the fantastic success of the SHARE 2016 Signature Poster. We had a great time celebrating at the “Post Your Poster” events, and it’s exciting to see the large posters hanging in departments throughout the system, and the smaller versions hanging in work spaces all over. (If you’d like to print a small version, click



SHARE members signed onto the goals of our 2016 contract negotiations: To improve the day-to-day experience of SHARE members at work.

Through individual conversations, and many information meetings, SHARE organizers, Negotiating Team, and Reps worked hard to talk with every member. This gives the SHARE negotiators the experiences, opinions and support of hundreds of members to draw on as we talk with management negotiators. The poster now stands as a beautiful visual representation of that collective knowledge and support.

This isn’t the first time that SHARE has created a signature poster at negotiations-time. It’s always an inspiring moment to unveil the many names of our members alongside one another. The SHARE 2016 Signature Poster is bigger than ever: 2100 SHARE members! That's 80% of the employees currently in SHARE.

The poster is an impressive gift that SHARE members give to one another to show that we are standing together. We also delivered posters to the individuals on the management negotiating team, as a clear indication that SHARE members support the priorities that the SHARE Negotiating Team is bringing to the table.

Management's Response Reflects our Changing Relationship

Perhaps because we’re using a model of Interest-Based Bargaining in Negotiations, we found that members of the management team welcomed the posters, and were happy to have them hanging in their departments. 

In our negotiations, there’s broad agreement around the idea that employees need to be directly involved in improving our hospital, and welcomed into important decision-making processes. Although we’ve still got lots of work to do to make those ideas a reality, we take the enthusiasm around our poster as a meaningful sign of things to come.

Also different this time around: SHARE is now on Facebook! Connect with us there, where the poster serves as the backdrop for smiling SHARE faces, and share your support for your union on your own social media profiles. Check out the SHARE Facebook page

SHARE Hospital 2016 Negotiations


Contract Negotiations: Weeks 8-10

Things are moving. As groups continue to present to the main table, we're finding that the side-table structure we developed for this negotiations has moved a lot of ideas forward, relatively quickly.

Most commonly, these joint union-management groups have reached a consensus that the participants feel good about. Often those involved have been surprised to have crafted options that they couldn’t have foreseen. We have uncovered a lot of overlapping interests as we compare perspectives.

Of course, the details get complicated. Some side tables have worked to develop promising options, only to realize that, for one reason or another, they turned out to be unfeasible.

Predictably, not all of the issues have resolved quickly, in spite of long hours and thoughtful work. Some recognize that they are unlikely to reach consensus around a single option, and have instead presented to the main table multiple ideas, some of which better represent the interests of one side, and others which represent the other.

Side-Table and Follow-Up Groups have reconvened with the Main Table to present interests and options around the following subjects:
  • Unit-Based Teams and Culture
  • Inpatient PCA Staffing Levels
  • Career Development
  • Process for Job Postings
  • Call-Back and Sleep Policies
  • Peer-Slotted Scales
  • Pension Floor
  • Leaves of Absence
  • Absenteeism
  • Cross-Campus Floating
  • Discipline
  • Work Security
  • Documenting Department Policies
  • A new vision for the relationship between managers & front-line members
  • Staffing
  • Wages
In any negotiations, “money issues” (including raises.) tend to get resolved at the very end, when the larger picture is more clear, and the costs better defined. We continue to work at those issues, and on those issues where our perspectives remain far from one another.

Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, the professor from Brandeis who coached both teams on Interest Based Bargaining methods, recently returned from a commitment in Australia. SHARE and hospital management asked him to resume his role as a neutral facilitator as we work to reach an overarching agreement.

Negotiations Update: Contract Extended Through October 21st

You may have noticed that our current contract agreement with UMass Memorial is set to expire on this day. Both sides are still working to define the complete new agreement, and we're consistently moving things forward.

During today's negotiation session, both sides agreed to extend the current contract to allow for more of that work. Anyone in SHARE who's been around for a negotiations before will remember that we've extended our contract like this more often than not.

This extension runs through October 21st. We'll have a more thorough update about where we're at with negotiations on this blog very soon. More to come . . .

SHARE and UMass Memorial Contract Negotiations: Weeks 6 & 7

A quick update! Our SHARE Negotiating Team is hard at work. We've doubled up the number of days we're meeting with management each week. We hope to see you at one of next week's Post Your Poster events, and are excited to talk with you about what's happening.

Since our last post, we've met around the main negotiating table three days. In addition to those sessions, members of the negotiating teams have done related work in Follow-Up-Groups, Side Tables, and other meetings.

The main table has now begun discussing Work Security and Raises. We are not yet talking about dollar amounts or percentages at this point, but exchanging interests. We're making very clear to the management negotiating team that we're committed to developing new processes for making our hospital run better . . . but that the cost of those projects cannot be at the expense of good raises, that a financial commitment to each SHARE member is an essential show of confidence and sign of respect as we continue to talk about partnership.

Most recently, the main table discussed proposed ideas and options from the "Documenting Department Policies" Follow-Up-Group. And we had an introductory presentation from members of the "Teams and Culture" Side Table, in which they introduced the concept of the Unit Based Team (or UBT) as it exists at the Kaiser Permanente hospitals, and proposed some ideas about how UBT's might function at our hospital. For a look at UBT's in action, here's a three-minute video that we all watched:

Next week we'll be talking more about UBT's, and more. Stay tuned! See you at Post Your Poster!

*Post Your Poster* Events

We’re very excited to unveil the new poster that displays our signatures and statement of priorities. It is a beautiful thing. Thank you for making it happen! Please stop by at one of the following Post Your Poster events with your friends and co-workers and pick up a copy for your department.

SHARE 2016 Post Your Poster
Distribution Locations and Times
Sept 19 (Mon) – 11:30-1:30 Memorial Campus, Memorial 1 Conference Room
Sept 20 (Tues) –  7:30-9:00 WBC, 5th Floor
Sept 20 (Tues) – 11:30-1:30 University Campus
                                              old front entrance hallway by the Prescription Center
Sept 22 (Thurs) – 11:30-1:30 Hahnemann Campus, 2nd floor conference room
(We are booking a room at 306 Belmont as we speak.)

Before it shipped out for printing, 2,100 SHARE members signed on to this show of support. That’s 80% of the SHARE-eligible employees in our hospital’s largest union.
At each poster event listed above, we’ll have a large 2’ x 3’ poster that you and your co-workers can bring back to your department and hang proudly.
We’d love to see everyone who can make it! Take your picture with your co-workers. And show your support by posting your poster on Facebook, Twitter, and your favorite social media websites.

Of course, we’ll talk in more detail at the Post Your Poster events, and answer your questions. Our negotiating team is working hard and fast on a wide range of interweaving issues. There’s still a lot to do, but we’re optimistic about making new, meaningful improvements in our workplace soon, and eager to talk with you about what’s happening around the negotiating table.
We’ll continue posting updates regularly here on the SHARE blog. (Lately, we’ve been negotiating more frequently and posting less. Most recently at the table, we discussed Unit Based Teams, and will post about all of this and more very soon.)

Thank you for supporting our negotiating team, our hospital, and our ambitious efforts to improve the day-to-day at UMass Memorial, both for employees and for patients.

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.

Contract Negotiations 2016, Session 4: Staffing & Leaves of Absence


SHARE and UMass Memorial had their fourth contract negotiations session on Wednesday, August 24. This week, we focused on:

  • Staffing. This is an issue that SHARE brought to the table. Front-line employees on our negotiating team explained the trend toward working with fewer hands in each department, and the frustrations and hazards of working with a thin crew. We discussed with management a range of possibilities for addressing that problem, as described in more detail below.
  • Leaves of Absence (LOAs). This is an issue that management brought to the table. Managers described how many SHARE members take LOAs, and how difficult it is to staff a department when people are out. Of particular interest to management is that our hospital provides job protections beyond those mandated by the law, including protections for SHARE members who work less than 1250 hours each year. SHARE expressed a number of interests, including that we have always believed that part-time members--many of whom have family obligations or can't get full-time work in the hospital--should have full access to medical leaves and other benefits.

Read on for more detail . . .


If you’re reading this, you probably already know the answer. You’re working on the front lines yourself, and you know what your co-workers are saying. We presented to management facts from the most recent anonymous SHARE surveys, including:

  • 41% of SHARE members disagree that staffing levels are adequate in their departments. That's 660 SHARE members.
  • In all, SHARE members wrote nearly 500 comments in the survey expressing concern about their workload or staffing levels in their department. The SHARE Negotiating Team read aloud a couple dozen of these comments so that the management negotiating team could hear what SHARE members have to say. (We made sure all comments were anonymous, leaving out department details.)

Of course, SHARE recognizes that more staff cost money. We want our hospitals to be financially stable, and we don't want to go back to the days of substantial layoffs nearly every year. We also know that sometimes the problem isn't just the number of staff -- if you spend a bunch of your shift looking for linen, that's a system problem that needs to be fixed.

That said, many SHARE members who have been here for any length of time are now operating in departments that have seen significant decreases in staffing levels, and are now feeling the effects as the resulting stresses build up. Many people leave their shifts exhausted, and worried about what they might have missed because they were running so fast all day. 

SHARE members don't know how the decisions are made about how many staff a department has, and we aren't part of those decisions. When decisions are made without us, they're made without all the information, which isn't good for us or the hospital.


The management side listed the kinds of LOAs that a SHARE member might potentially take. They say that intermittent leaves create particular problems for department staffing, particularly when those leaves are taken unexpectedly. SHARE has made a number of data requests to better understand how often these leaves are being taken, and how changing any policies would actually affect staffing. The kinds of LOAs break down into two broad categories:

Members of the management team highlighted they’re focused on the systematic problems that result from these leaves. They recognize their legal obligations to protect jobs. They said that this discussion isn’t about calling into question the legitimacy of leave requests, but about addressing the staffing issues that result from leaves of absence.

SHARE pointed out that the issues of LOAs and staffing are linked. When departments are staffing with just enough staff, it's tough to run the department when people are out sick.

We’ll continue working on these issues through joint working groups, and be back at the table for negotiations next week. Stay tuned for more . . .

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.

SHARE Information meetings about Contract Negotiations

Contract negotiations have started. We are trying to finish by October 1st. Join us to discuss what's happening in negotiations!

SHARE’s priorities come from the SHARE members who filled out the SHARE survey last fall, and from SHARE info meetings and conversations since then. The survey results are summarized here.  The SHARE priorities are here as well as on the statement that many SHARE members signed onto in the last couple of months.

Info Meetings for SHARE Members’ Input about Proposals

The specific proposals of how to make progress on those priorities are being discussed at negotiations during August and September. SHARE Info Meetings are a chance for you to hear what we are talking about and give your opinions. Please join us at a meeting near you.

University: Thurs, August 11      11:30-1:30     Room S2-309B (2nd floor of the Medical School)

Memorial: Fri, August 12            11:30-1:30     Nursing conference room (toward the ED from the cafeteria)

Hahnemann: Mon, August 22    11:30-1:30     2nd floor conference room

67 Millbrook: Thurs, August 25  11:30-1:30     Thom McAn conference room

306 Belmont: Fri, September 9    11:30-1:30     Conference room D

Tri-River: Fri, September 23       11:30-1:30      Community Room

These meetings are “rolling” meetings – come for whatever part of the meeting is your lunch break. Feel free to bring your lunch, your thoughts and questions, and a friend!

If you’d like to set up a meeting at a time and place that works for you and your co-workers, call the SHARE office (508-929-4020, extension 10) and leave a message.

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.

Contract Negotiations Side Tables

 SHARE and UMass Memorial are trying something new in our negotiations this time. As you may remember from our last round of negotiations, SHARE and UMass Memorial management had a side table to discuss changes to the pension, before we started negotiations about the rest of the issues. The Pension Table brought together people from both union and management to focus in-depth on the pension, which worked quite well.

This time, we are building on that success. Multiple side tables will meet in the afternoons after the Main Table meets. These smaller groups can focus on their issue and bring recommendations to the Main Table.
  •  Teams & Culture Side Table– This side table (who might change their name once they get started) is looking at examples of team-based work systems in other places to see what we want to try here at UMass Memorial. At Kaiser Permanente, unit based teams help groups do process improvement to make the work easier, and train everyone on how to work together as a team.  SHARE believes a team structure also could improve how SHARE members and supervisors and managers work together, which was a big priority coming out of the SHARE member survey last fall (link to SHARE letter and survey results). 
  • Career Development Side Table – SHARE wants to increase ways for SHARE members to learn and grow in their jobs and to build careers at UMass Memorial. A group will also discuss how internal applications and transfers are working.
  • In-patient PCA Staffing Side Table – This side table will look at how the patient care model is working on the inpatient floors. SHARE hopes to address PCAs’ concerns about how many patients they have to provide care for. (Staffing is a big concern for many SHARE members – we will be discussing staffing for other areas at the Main Table.)
  • Call-Back and Sleep Time Side Table – This side table is tackling issues for SHARE members who take call.
  • In addition, mini side table groups will discuss salary scales for peer-slotted titles in SHARE, the pension floor to protect lower paid SHARE members, and 401K auto-enrollment for new employees.

 Our hope is that side tables will help us get more done quickly in negotiations, and bring more new ideas into the negotiations. We’ll keep you posted.

Contract Negotiations: Negotiating about How to Negotiate

 Joel told the packed classroom, “There are three keys to a successful negotiation: preparing, preparing, preparing.” We were there--almost forty of us, both members of the SHARE and UMass Memorial management Negotatiating Teams and leaders, in a series of three half-day training sessions--to learn about different ways of negotiating.

In past Contract Negotiations, SHARE has used a model of bargaining that begins with open conversation about interests – what each side cared about. We’ve worked toward “expanding the pie”, rather than fighting over who’s getting the bigger piece of pie. When we try to focus on our common ground, we are more likely to find “win-win” solutions.

In these negotiations, SHARE is focusing on the day-to-day experience of coming to work for SHARE members. Taking on this huge issue makes it even more important that SHARE and management be able to negotiate productively. SHARE and UMass Memorial management have agreed to use Interest Based Bargaining to try to craft solutions for a better way of working at UMass Memorial.

Our teacher and facilitator for these trainings was Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld. He’s a professor at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. He has studied labor-management partnership in the Kaiser Permanente hospital network. He also helped Ford and the United Auto Workers Union to form a Labor Management Partnership. That partnership helped Ford so much they were the only major US automaker that didn’t require federal funding during the recent industry bailout. More important to us than all his academic accomplishments: Joel’s been a huge to both union and management in guiding us forward.

Respect and What SHARE Members Think Makes a Good Supervisor or Manager

In the SHARE survey, 70% of SHARE members rank respect and how department leaders treat people as a high priority for improving their day-to-day experience at work, higher than any other item on the list. In our survey, SHARE members had a lot to say about what makes managers and supervisors helpful in making their department run better, as well as what their managers could do better.

Here are some of the ideas the SHARE Negotiating Team brought to the table in the discussion about how to improve supervisor and manager interactions with SHARE members.

How some managers show respect and help the department run better:
  • Involve staff in decisions, ask our opinions
  • Share information often & with everyone
  • Pitch in when we are short-staffed
  • Good listener, and available
  • Open to new ideas
  • Treat everyone fairly
  • Help us fix problems
  • Give recognition for hard work

What other managers do that does not help the department run better:
  • Micro-manage – not trust staff to do their jobs
  • Favoritism: Treat some people better than others
  • Criticize someone in front of co- workers or patients
  • Think s/he knows best
  • Not understanding the work we do
  • “Run hot and cold” or add drama to the workplace

 In SHARE’s opinion, UMass Memorial has had a culture of a “command and control” style of managing over the years. Not every manager for sure, but in general. In contract negotiations we are talking with management about how we can together move UMass Memorial toward a new more supportive and collaborative model of managing. We don’t know exactly how to do that, but we’re working on it!

SHARE 2016 Contract Negotiations Survey: The Results Are In

Thank you again to the 1651 SHARE members who completed the 2016 Contract Negotiations Survey. The survey focused on how to improve the day-to-day experience at work because that is where we want to focus in this year's contract negotiations. The survey results will be extremely helpful to the SHARE Negotiating Team.


  • The great majority of SHARE members find meaning in their work providing healthcare. 
  • SHARE members value their benefits. 
  • SHARE members say they get too little respect and appreciation for the important work that they do. 
  • SHARE members are frustrated about their workload and staffing levels. 

You can see the full results online here

What are SHARE members MOST satisfied with?

SHARE Members Love their Benefits

Satisfaction with benefits was the highest ranked of the items that SHARE members reported their satisfaction with, with 85% saying they were either very satisfied or satisfied with benefits in general. This finding echoes SHARE members’ opinions as reported on the SHARE benefits survey from 2014, where 93% of SHARE members who took the survey said benefits are an important reason why they continue to work here. Over the years, SHARE members and the Negotiating Team have spent a lot of time and energy negotiating to keep and improve these benefits, so it's good to know that SHARE members appreciate them! 

Doing Something Meaningful in Providing Quality Healthcare

Doing something meaningful in providing quality healthcare was a close second in satisfaction, with 79% of SHARE members saying that they were satisfied on that question. People wrote lots and lots of comments about how much they love their patients, and their work with them.

What are SHARE members LEAST satisfied with?


Only 45% said they were satisfied with their workload. On another question, 41% disagreed with the statement that staffing levels are adequate in their department, which was one of the highest negative responses to a question in the survey. Lots and lots of people wrote comments about how staffing challenges affect their experience at work, and patient care.

Only “informed about policies and administrative decisions” came in as less satisfying than workload, with 43% saying they were satisfied with this.

Respect at Work

SHARE members who took the survey were asked to rank a bunch of things in response to “What most important to improving your day-to-day experience at work?” The items you could choose from included: “respect and how my department leaders treat people; job security; feeling like a team in my department; systems, fixing how the work gets done; getting breaks and lunch and vacation time; and learning new things, career development.

Over two-thirds of SHARE members, 69% of those who took the survey, ranked “Respect and how my department leaders treat people” as number 1 or 2 out of that list, considerably more than any other item.

SHARE members report a wide range of opinions about their supervisors and managers: There are positive comments about how some managers seek out and listen to input from their staff, support their staff, and show respect for everyone and everyone’s work. There are also plenty of negative comments by SHARE members who say that their supervisor or manager does not listen to their input, or micromanages their work. When asked to agree or disagree with “I have an opportunity to participate in decisions made by my supervisor that affect my work environment,” SHARE members are evenly split. 34% say they agree with the statement, and 32% disagree with the statement. (The remaining 34% chose “neutral.”)

Job Security

Second in that ranking of priorities for improving day-to-day work was job security, with 53% ranking it number 1 or 2. And 30% agree that they worry about getting laid offs from their jobs.

Many SHARE Members Want to Learn Something New

73% of SHARE members say Yes or Maybe to wanting to learn new skills for a different job, plus 9% who say they are already in school to learn something new. Clearly there’s a hunger out there among SHARE members to keep learning and growing at UMass Memorial.

What's next?

These major themes are not a great surprise--these are issues that come up regularly in conversation with SHARE members. However, having numbers to attach to these stories gives us new insights, and documentation of what we hear day-to-day. We will continue to analyze the data, looking for patterns, and which groups of SHARE members feel most strongly on which issues. Stay tuned.

2016 Contract Negotiations: Where We’ve Been, One Big Problem, and the Year Ahead

When UMass and then Memorial employees voted to form the SHARE union, the main goal was participation. People wanted a say in decisions that affect them at work.

With a merger, and with healthcare changing rapidly all around us since, there have been many decisions being made that affect SHARE members. As a new union and in the 18 years since those votes, we’ve checked off most of “the biggies” from our list:

  • SHARE members wanted to make raises predictable, with raises every year, and a salary system that was fair, transparent, and moved people up to grade max over time.

  • SHARE members wanted to hold onto the benefits they had, in spite of the merger, especially:

    • Health insurance, keeping the 85%/15% premium split the state workers had had.

    • A defined benefit pension.

  • SHARE members wanted to land safely in new jobs when there were layoffs, especially in the highly uncertain times of the early merger. And we wanted to feel that seniority was valued equally no matter which campus you came from.

  • SHARE members from Memorial and UMass wanted to have the same policies across campuses, without going to the lowest-common-denominators among those policies. And we wanted to continually improve on these policies.

We all know that there’s plenty more we can do to improve even further on those goals. Still, our achievements have been significant and hard-won. Congratulations to all of us for sticking together when our union has faced hard times and hard negotiations.

Changing How it Feels to Come to Work

While we have steadily, persistently ticked the goals off our list, there’s one important nut that we haven’t cracked: We really want to change how it feels to come to work every day.

  • We want to save lives and improve patient health to the best of our ability.

  • We want patients’ experience -- from making an appointment to paying the bill – to go smoothly and give the patients what they need.

  • We want to have fun at work

  • We want to be able brag to our neighbors that we work at UMass Memorial, to have the respect of our peers and leaders, and to leave work consistently with our heads held high.

SHARE wants to focus on that problem -- how to re-imagine and improve our entire work culture -- in our next contract negotiations.

Many forces combine to cause our work to be stressful and frustrating:

  • Constant change, and financial pressure that leads to “doing more with less”

  • Work systems that are complicated and wasteful rather than clear and efficient

  • An old culture of “command and control,” and a “shame and blame” approach to problems that make positive teamwork tough to establish

Changing how it feels to come to work is not a simple goal. We have lots to figure out, and we may need to try several approaches before we figure out what works.

We Need Your Ideas!

We hope that all SHARE members will take part in this conversation as we prepare to tackle this difficult set of problems. We are starting with a survey for all SHARE members to get your thoughts, questions, concerns, and ideas.

We will negotiate about raises and benefits too – so there will be a lot going on in this coming year. We will set up lunch-time SHARE information meetings across the hospital’s campuses in the new year. You can also contact your SHARE reps and organizers through the SHARE office any time.

And of course, we will post updates here on this blog. Stay tuned…