We started contract negotiations five months ago at the end of February. Since then our team (which is made up of five SHARE staff and seven SHARE members) has been meeting regularly with the management team (which is made up of three human resources employees and four operational managers). At every meeting we have been exchanging proposals and having discussions about the proposals in order to reach common ground on language and policies we can accept for SHARE members. Some policies have been easy to find common ground on, for example, agreeing to change the “maternity leave” policy to “parental leave” which extends the benefits more broadly. Other policies, such as work security/layoff policy have been more involved as we try to make our language as strong as possible to support SHARE members in the event of any future layoffs.
In every round of contract negotiations, the hardest piece to reach agreement on is wages. Both the management team and the SHARE team have made wage proposals, but there is a significant gap between their proposal and ours. Our negotiating team believes we need to negotiate raises for SHARE members that keep up with the cost of living, catch up with what other employers are paying, and move ahead as members stay at UMass and build their careers. So we are continuing to fight for larger raises.
One way that we make gains in negotiations is by involving all of our members in contract actions. Thank you to those who stood together for higher wages, improved benefits, and policies that are good for SHARE member in our actions at Commonwealth Medicine on June 19th and at the Medical School Lobby on July 12th! Please continue to stay tuned for future actions. Right now, we are collecting signatures for our signature poster. To learn more about that, please speak to your local SHARE rep or email Jihelah.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another way to stay updated and have your voice heard is to attend information meetings. We have upcoming meetings:
- August 9th in S1.123 in the Main Campus from 12-1:30
- August 16th in Sweden Conference Room in South Street from 11:30-1
If you cannot make either of those times because of your schedule or the location, please contact your SHARE rep or organizer to arrange a more convenient time/location. Thank you again to everyone who has been engaged throughout this process as we push for a strong contract.