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:


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

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

SHARE Raises Now in Effect

The 2016 SHARE raises go into effect this week. SHARE members have begun earning their new higher rate, and will see the effect in the July 15 paycheck.

For most members, the raise is the higher of $0.45 or 2%. That means that a full-time person is earning at least $36 more per paycheck before taxes (or almost $1,000 per year).

Probationary employees
  • If you are a new employee in your 6-month probationary period on June 26, 2016, your raise will be delayed, and a little smaller: 1.5% increase, as of the first Sunday of the next full pay period following satisfactory completion of the probationary period
  • If you are a transfer employee in your 3-month probationary period, you get your regular raise on time
Merit based on performance reviews
  • Employees with an Exceeds rating receive an additional $100 lump sum
  • Employees with an Outstanding rating receive an additional $250 lump sum
  • Employees with Does not Meet or Needs Improvement rating raises may have their raises withheld (this is subject to review by HR and the union through the problem-solving process)
Employees at grade max
  • The grade maximum increases by 1.5%
  • If your raise would take you above this new grade max, you move to the new max and get the rest as a lump sum.                            
Employees at grade min
  • The grade minimum increases by 1.5%
  • If your rate is below the new grade min, you move up to the new min, and then get your raise
Structure Raises for employees too low in their grade – you may be eligible if…
  • You have 5 full years of service but are not 25% through your grade
  • You have 10 full years of service but are not 50% through your grade
  • You have 15 full years of service but are not 75% through your grade
If you have questions about the structure raises, call the SHARE office at 508-929-4020.

For more information see the SHARE contract or call the SHARE office
  • See page 54 of the SHARE contract for this year’s raise and next year’s raise
  • See pages 57-59 of the SHARE contract for the SHARE Salary Chart effective June 26, 2016
  • See pages 27-28 of the SHARE contract for more details on how raises work
  • Call the SHARE office at 508-929-4020 if you have other questions

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

GIC Insurance Update

SHARE, along with other state employee unions, has been lobbying the State Legislature against increasing the percent of health insurance costs paid by employees and retirees. Many thanks to the SHARE members who emailed or called their state legislators! It looks like we may be successful. We will know for sure when the budget is finalized.

Governor Baker introduced the increases in his budget for the coming year. Under his plan there would be two big changes:
  1. State employees who retire after 6/30/16 would have a 75/25 premium split for retiree health insurance
  2. State employees hired before 6/30/2003 would have a 75/25 premium split for their health insurance (they are currently"grandfathered" at the old 80/20 split) 
So far the House and Senate have rejected these cost-shifting proposals. 

This is good news for us, although it is not yet final because the House and Senate now have to reconcile their two slightly different overall budget proposals. Since they don't disagree about the GIC, we are hopeful that there won't be any changes to that section of the budget. 

We will keep you posted.

FY17 Budget Timeline - GIC Overview
  • February Governor's budget ($1,078,340,881)
    • $27M increase from FY16 budget ($1,051,480,303) 
    • includes increased cost estimate from GIC, partially offset by savings from shifting costs onto employees and retirees:
      • state employees hired before 6/30/2003 - increase premium share from 20% to 25% (est $30M savings)
      • future state retirees - increase premium share from 20% to 25% for anyone retiring after 6/30/16 (est $3M savings)
  • April House Ways and Means budget ($1,111,340,881)
    • no cost shifting 
    • $33M more than Governor's budget
  • April House Budget (1,080,123,761)
    • agrees with HW&M structure: no cost shifting
    • takes into account new, lower cost estimate from GIC (est $31M savings)
  • May Senate Ways and Means budget ($1,080,123,761)
    • no cost shifting
    • very similar to House
  • May Senate budget (1,080,123,761)
    • no change from SW&M
  • June House and Senate Conference Committee
    • have to reconcile the differences between the House budget and Senate budget
    • they don't have differences between them on the GIC
    • we are not completely done and safe until they have a final agreement and Governor Baker signs it
Information summarized from Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center http://www.massbudget.org/budget.php​. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

SHARE Information Meetings in July

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, 7/6/16 (2pm-4pm) -- Conference Room

South Street -- Thursday, 7/7/16 (noon-1:30pm) -- Brazil (off the cafeteria)

Main Campus -- Thursday, 7/14/16 (noon-1:30pm) -- Sherman cafeteria

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.