Layoff Update

It's been a tough week. The layoffs are now over. Thirty-two SHARE members--including secretaries, PCA's, LPN's, and others--have been told that their hours would be reduced, or that their jobs were being eliminated.

SHARE reps are working with each of these layoffees to help them find resources, support, and new jobs. We've already received some interest in voluntary layoffs, and we're optimistic that these swaps will lead to some good outcomes. If you would like to know more about voluntary layoff, or would like to be considered for a swap, please call the SHARE office at 508-929-4020.

Also, if you are interested, you can click the following link to more information about the layoff process.

There will be another SHARE Information meeting on Monday, from 11:30-1:30 on the University Campus in room S1-123. And don't forget that the Contract Extension vote is this coming Tuesday, March 6th.

Do You Want to Volunteer for Layoff?

As you have probably heard, UMass Memorial recently gave notice to some employees--including some SHARE members--that they will be laid off, or have their hours cut.

Whenever there is a layoff, SHARE Reps work to help each member find another job, either in an open position or by "swapping" with someone who volunteers to be laid off. If we can find the right match for a swap, the person who was going to be laid off takes the volunteer's job. The volunteer gets the layoff benefits:
  • severance (one week per full year that you've worked here, minimum 2, maximum 8)
  • earned/vacation time paid out weekly (and keep health insurance until all time is used up)
  • unemployment
  • access to the SHARE training funds
If you would like to know more about what volunteering might mean for you, please call the SHARE office: 508-929-4020.

Holiday Notes

Season's greetings!

Please note that the SHARE office will be closed December 27th-31st. During that time, a skeleton crew will tend our general voicemail, and provide coverage for emergencies.

It's been a busy year for SHARE, and we're very glad to have weathered it so well. Of course, there's still plenty of work to be done. Though most of the fifty-five SHARE members who were laid-off over the past year are re-situated, we are committed to continue helping the twelve who still seek jobs. We'll also continue our fight for fair pricing on the health-care coverage in the new year, too, and will keep you posted.

Finally, we'd like to highlight a good thing in our community: the UMass Memorial Bell Hill-East Side Homeownership Initiative. This project provides training and financial assistance for qualifying UMass Memorial employees who wish to become first-time home-buyers. According the the Mass Housing Partnership, the initiative is a "$1 million down-payment and neighborhood revitalization fund for the neighborhoods around the three UMass Memorial campuses." For more information, see this story, or call the program administrator at 508-341-9859.

We wish you and your families a happy and safe holiday time. See you next year!

SHARE Q & A about Layoffs

There are many questions circulating as a result of the recent layoffs at UMass Memorial. Those SHARE members who were given notice have each been paired with a SHARE Rep. The Rep will help them in the days and weeks ahead, until they have a new job, or other arrangement that suits them.

Those who have been laid off have also been given the FAQ below, which includes answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about SHARE's policies. Please contact us in the SHARE office (508-929-4020) if you would like to volunteer to take someone's place in the layoff, or if you have other questions.

I need a job and benefits - what help can I get?

SHARE and UMass Memorial are committed to working with you to find another job here if you want one. A laid-off employee has higher hiring priority than other internal candidates and will be provided with current job postings within the hospital system.

There are some open positions, and if the open positions don’t work out, SHARE has a process for requesting volunteers for layoff, and you may be able to swap into one of their jobs if we can find a good match. You can also get help looking at other affiliated hospitals, at UMass Medical School, and outside. Additionally, SHARE has a negotiated training fund that laid off employees can use to improve their skills in order to find another job.

How long will I have a paycheck and benefits if I am laid off?

The answer depends on how long you have worked at UMass Memorial.
  • You get at least 4 weeks notice from today.
  • When your Notice Period ends, if you don’t have a new job already, you will get Severance Pay for 2 to 8 weeks. You get one week for every full year that you have worked here, with a minimum of 2 weeks and a maximum of 8 weeks. You do not work during severance.
  • In addition, the SHARE contract keeps you on the payroll as long as your earned time/vacation and holiday time last, instead of getting it paid out in a lump sum. This allows you to continue your health insurance at the employee weekly rate.
  • You can apply for unemployment as soon as your severance begins.


What happens after my notice, severance and benefit time are paid out?

The goal is for you to have another job by then. However, you will be eligible for unemployment insurance. Taxes are not deducted from your unemployment check, so you pay them when you file your taxes.

Your health insurance stops when you have used up your severance and your time on the books. You can get help paying for health insurance after that. Human Resources have a packet of information about your benefits, and about unemployment.

Is there bumping in the SHARE contract?

No. When we negotiated our contract, we had many discussions about bumping. In the end, we decided not to put bumping in the contract. People who have been through it said that it created bad feeling to have people taking each other’s jobs, and that after the whole long process was over, it sometimes ended up that people with the wrong skills were in the job. Instead, we work to find everyone a job. Also, our contract has a process where people can volunteer to be laid off, and if we can match up the right skills, someone may be able to swap into their job.

What can my SHARE rep do to help me?

Your SHARE rep is there to give you moral support, to help you think through your choices, and to make sure that you know about all the resources that are available to you. Please feel free to ask for any kind of help or support that you want, both when you first hear about the layoff and afterwards. If your rep doesn’t know the answer to a question or can’t do what you need, they will know where to get the answer or support.

Layoff Update

We want to let you know what we know about the recent layoffs at UMass Memorial Hospital. 

All together, just under 40 SHARE members have been given notice that they will be laid off, or have their hours cut significantly. Each SHARE member will have a SHARE Rep to work with, starting on the day of their notice, and continuing as long as they need help. The Reps are there for support, to make sure everyone knows what benefits and options they have, and to help people figure out what they want to do next. This is some of the most important work that our union does, and we are grateful to have such caring reps working so supportively.

West 2
As you have probably heard, the hospital recently announced that they would close West 2, an inpatient nursing floor on the Memorial campus. There are 21 SHARE members on that floor, and an even larger number of Registered Nurses, Per-Diems, and other employees. SHARE Reps met with our members to help them understand what will happen now, what their rights are, and to try to process this devastating news.
Walter Ettinger wrote a letter to the community on Friday explaining the hospital's need to constantly reassess staffing levels and expenses. Among other things, he said: "We know additional areas of our work will be impacted as will other members of our workforce. However, it is important to note that at this time we do not have plans to close any other inpatient unit at the Medical Center."

Other Layoffs Last Week
Last week there were more layoffs, spread out over different departments on different campuses. Again, SHARE Reps were with the affected members when they heard the news, and will stick with them in the weeks ahead.

More Information

Postcards about layoff "swaps" were mailed to all SHARE members last week. We will post more information about that on this blog. We will also provide answers to some common questions about layoffs, and continue providing updates here.