Friday, September 2, 2016

Interviewer in the Spotlight: Laurie Lynch

by Kirk Davis, SHARE Staff Organizer

Laurie Lynch is relentlessly curious. She is best known to SHARE blog readers as the architect and interviewer behind the “Member in the Spotlight” series on the SHARE-UMMS blog. We consistently seek ways to make work feel like a more fun and respectful place, and Laurie Lynch had one particularly focused vision for making that happen.

Each month for six months, Laurie gave us a portrait of a SHARE member at UMMS. You could call it fifteen minutes of local fame. But Laurie’s aim was something bigger, something more meaningful.

When she conducted an interview, Laurie’s questions went here to there and back again. They were icebreakers. They were mundane. They were lofty. They were weird. The questions stabbed from odd angles into a person’s personality. The results were always surprising. And in the end, the interviews weren’t exactly about employees of UMass Medical School, they were beautiful glimpses into the complex lives of people with whom we cross paths every day.

Turning the Spotlight on the Interviewer

We intend to continue in the tradition, using Laurie’s example as a way to further develop our community. Along those lines, now that Laurie has moved on to a “new” career (one which she adored for over a decade, before the facility shut down), we’ll shine the spotlight up through the dust trail she’s left behind her (she’s always on the move) as a way of saying thank you to her for her excellent work on the SHARE organizing staff.

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree

Laurie’s from Earth. But, if you push her further on that question, she’ll tell you she’s grew up in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. With three siblings, a wonderful father, and a mother who was and still is an absolute animal lover. There, when she was ten, she met her future husband; they began dating when she was twelve. They eventually married. By the time she was nineteen, they owned their first home in Douglas, where they still live together to this day with their polite and amazing thirteen and fourteen year-old sons.  

Along the way, Laurie picked up a degree in Animal Science from Becker College, and one in Psychology from Bay Path University. Laurie Lynch is constantly fostering dogs, cats, and, from what I can tell, helping entire populations of displaced pets to find new homes. She has traveled around the US, attending all sorts of animal-trainings and conferences, learning how to help continue to aid and improve the lives of animals in research.

Laurie the Shoeless Organizer

Laurie worked as a SHARE staff organizer, brilliantly if briefly, over the past year, mostly with the UMass Medical School side of our union. Early in her work with SHARE, she went “organizing” with another member of the SHARE staff, Andrea Caceres. They went to stop in on a number of SHARE members that day, providing updates about SHARE events, answering questions, and generally keeping in touch with members.

At that point, Laurie didn’t know many members. But she’s a good listener, good-humored and a good sport. Although she was determined to be a dutiful work partner to Andrea, *snap!*, Laurie’s sandals gave up before she did.

And then, somehow, Laurie found herself being convinced by Andrea that they needed to continue through the halls until they had reached everyone they were looking for. So, they made a quick stop in the University Bookstore. When they emerged, Laurie’s feet were shod in a new pair of fluorescent socks. Of course, Laurie wondered if that might not seem a little weird, but when Andrea told her to just keep looking up, nobody would notice, Laurie didn’t flinch, and bravely padded along in her new job.

Laurie Now

Laurie has since returned to a career in Animal Behavioral Research, a track she began with a series of positions at Harvard University. While Laurie was working at SHARE, a Principal Investigator from Brown University approached her and offered her a job she couldn’t refuse, managing his animal lab. She’s back to playing with monkeys all day, trying to figure out how to make them happiest, and learning along the way about animal and human behavior, neuroengineering, optogenetics, and groundbreaking scientific discovery. We miss her here, but we’re very excited that she’s back to doing what she loves; research and caring for primates and all the other wonderful animals in her lab.


20 Fun Facts about Laurie Lynch


  • Favorite color – Blue
  • Favorite season – Fall
  • Beach or woods – Woods
  • The first thing you think of when you hear the word “chocolate?” - Nay
  • What was your worst kitchen disaster? Hmmmmm, well it might not be the kind of kitchen disaster you were looking for, but it happened in my childhood kitchen. My older brother convinced me it would be a good idea to play with matches when I was about 6 or 7. Long story short… the trash light on fire in the kitchen, which caught the curtains on fires, which lead to the wall, etc. It was very early in the morning, my dad was at work and my mom was sleeping. Once my brother finally realized it was out of control, he let me go wake my mother who was able to put most out before the fire department arrived and finished the job for her.
  • Do you have any pets (ha ha!) – 2 adopted dogs and 2 adopted ferrets and most of the time a foster dog in search of their forever home.
  • If you could keep any kind of pet (ethically and responsibly, of course), what would it be? A horse. I’ve always wanted a horse, just don’t have the time, space and money a horse requires.
  • Dream vacation – Anywhere, as long as my husband and kids are there and we are all safe and happy
  • Favorite style of music – Depends on my mood
  • Do you untie your shoes when you take them off –  No
  • Gift you have given others most often – Probably framed photographs
  • Favorite day of the week – Saturday… day most often spent with family and friends
  • T.V. shows you secretly enjoy – Teen Mom
  • What's your biggest pet peeve – Mean people
  • Do you have dream car – Nope
  • If you got stranded on a deserted island with no power source, what 5 items would you bring – Solar or crank-chargeable radio, lighter, tent, fishing gear and water purifier
  • How’d you get your name? – My mother was named after her mother and my oldest sister after the two of them. My brother was named after my father. My 2nd oldest sister’s name is Sherie Jean, so they wanted our names to be as similar as possible so they named me Laurie Jean (our names kinda rhyme, and end in “rie,” and we have the same middle name.)
  • What languages do you speak – English only
  • Favorite hobbies –  Spending time with my boys!
  • Fun fact that not everyone knows about you – I foster dogs and occasionally cats. Oh and a more interesting one is that I LOVE going ghost hunting at “haunted” locations, like inns and old abandoned prisons.   
  • Do you have a favorite life motto – Live, Laugh, Love

Upcoming SHARE Information Meetings in September

Please join us at one of the following drop-in times to learn what's happening with your union now. Stop by for a quick question, or stay a while and bring your lunch. (And your questions! And your friends!)

CCU -- Wednesday, 9/7/16 (2 -4pm) -- 1st Floor Conference Room

Main Campus -- Thursday, 9/8/16 (noon-1:30pm) -- Sherman Cafeteria, west end, near the elevator bank

If these meetings do not work for you, give us a call and we'll work with you to schedule a time and place that is more convenient: 508-929-4020.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Family Fun! Labor Day Event


This Labor Day, Lawrence Massachusetts will host its 32nd Annual Bread & Roses Heritage Festival. The family-friendly event will feature fun activities, including historic walking and trolley tours, performances by the renowned Bread & Puppet Theater, pony rides, juggling, exhibits, social justice sign painting, a kids-zone, and more, all free of charge.
The event commemorates the historic Lawrence Textile Strike, which involved over 20,000 diverse men and women who worked in the local mills. They spent the brutally cold winter of 1912 opposing, specifically, pay-cuts resulting from a shortened workweek, and, more generally, the deplorable working conditions of the mills.  
We know and appreciate that many SHARE members will be doing important work to keep our hospital and medical school running on the holiday. The Festival will run from 11:30am-5:30pm. Several from SHARE plan to converge at Campagnone Common for the event. We hope you can join us! The drive is under an hour from the main UMass Medical School campus.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

GIC UPDATE: No Increase to GIC Health Insurance Employee Contribution for FY2017

The House and the Senate met last week and approved to override Governor Bakers' budget vetoes that would have raised premium contributions to public sector employees hired before July 1, 2003 and many state retirees for FY 2017. 

Thank you all of you who participated by writing a letter or getting in touch with your Senator and supporting to maintain the employee contribution percentages as they are. For the past two years, there has been continuous pressure by the Governor to push healthcare cost onto employees. Last year, many union members and representatives, including those from SHARE, lobbied the State House to oppose the same proposed increase in premium contributions to the GIC. Union members' involvement was key in stopping the proposed increases. This year the letter campaign also succeeded in overriding the Governor's budget vetoes. Thank you for telling your story and participating!

Friday, July 29, 2016

SHARE Information Meetings In August

Please join us at one of the following drop-in times to learn what's happening with your union now. Stop by for a quick question, or stay a while and bring your lunch. (And your questions! And your friends!)

CCU -- Wednesday, 8/3/16 (2 -4pm) -- 1st Floor Conference Room

South Street -- Thursday, 8/4/16 (noon-1:30pm) -- England Conference Room

And, for a more structured update about the latest with the GIC, the new AFSCME College Benefit, and other union news, join us here . . . 

Main Campus -- Thursday, 8/11/16 (noon-1:30pm) -- Sherman Center, AS6-2072

If these meetings do not work for you, give us a call and we'll work with you to schedule a time and place that is more convenient: 508-929-4020.

Free Online Associate Degrees for SHARE Members

IMG_0981.PNGAs a SHARE member, through the AFSCME Free College Benefit, you and your family can now earn an associate degree completely online–for FREE. SHARE leaders learned about this new program when it was announced last week at the AFSCME International Convention.


The benefit is offered through our parent organization, AFSCME, in cooperation with Eastern Gateway Community College, to provide members and their families “the chance to earn an online degree from an accredited school with no out-of-pocket expense,” as described on the program flyer. The program is open to active and retired AFSCME members, their children, and dependents.

The degree programs are currently limited to Associate of Business Management, Associate of Criminal Justice, and Associate of Arts (which can be used to progress into baccalaureate programs including psychology, sociology, English, history, fine arts, and communications). An Early Childhood Education degree will be offered beginning next year.

The program is designed to welcome traditional as well as non-traditional students, including those who have been out of school for a long time, and to be flexible, allowing participants to work while earning their degree. And the degrees are designed to parallel the first two years of related Bachelor's Degree programs to make the coursework transferable.

Learn how the program works by clicking HERE.

The application process involves submitting a simple application form, along with a completed FAFSA form, and school transcripts. Applicants are required to include their AFSCME member number. Although SHARE does not receive information about member numbers, we will be happy to help you find out yours. If you receive mailings to your home from AFSCME, including the AFSCME Works magazine, you can find that number on the address label. Your ID number will look something like this:




SHARE is extremely excited for this new offering. If you run into difficulty finding answers to any questions, we're happy to help: please call the SHARE office at 508-929-4020.

Friday, July 15, 2016

URGENT!! Click on link to oppose increase in GIC costs

Governor Charlie Baker signed the Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) budget into law at the beginning of July 2016. After approving the budget, he has 10 days to issue his vetoes and amendments.  For the FY 2017 budget Governor Baker issued several vetoes and amendments regarding GIC premium contributions for state employees which attempts to raise the premium split to 25% for all active state employees. Other amendments included healthcare premium contributions for municipal retirees and sick leave accrual for state employees. If Governor Baker’s vetoes go through, state employees, including SHARE members at UMMS, who were hired prior to July 1, 2003 could see an increase to their health care premium contribution. The AFL-CIO, SHARE, and many other unions, are encouraging all public sector employees to contact their State Representative by writing a letter to request that the House of Representatives override the Governor’s budget actions. Thank you for participating by using this link to write a letter:

actionnetwork.org/letters/support-public-sector-workers-today


You just need to enter your name, e-mail, home address and a customizable letter template will pop-up, addressed to your own local lawmakers. If you have any questions, you can contact the SHARE union at 508-929-4020 or share.umms@theshareunion.org