Friday, December 18, 2015

Small Dues Increase for 2016

In 2016, regular dues will increase by a total of $9.62 for the whole year. For employees working 20 hrs/week, dues will increase a total of $6.50 for the whole year. Below are the old and new rates by pay period.

Per Pay Period (2 weeks)
2015 rate
2016 rate

Where do the dues go?

About 65% stays with SHARE at UMMS and our sister unions at UMass Memorial, Harvard University, and the Cambridge Health Alliance. Together our four local unions form NEOP (New England Organizing Project). As NEOP, we pool our money and share expenses: staff, rent and utilities, printing and mailing, etc.

The other 35% of the money goes to our national union, AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) in Washington, DC. They spend that money on organizing new local unions (they funded us when we formed our union here), lobbying (like for the FMLA), research (like looking at contract trends across the country), etc.

Let us know if you would like more detailed information about SHARE’s expenses or AFSCME’s expenses. The SHARE office number is 508-929-4020.

How is the dues increase determined?

Our national union, AFSCME, calculates the annual increase based on the average raise for AFSCME members across the country. The new rate goes into effect each January.

Union Plus Scholarship Opportunity

The Union Plus Education Foundation is now receiving applications for their 2016 Scholarship Program. The awards range from $500 to $4,000.

The application deadline is Saturday, January 31, 2016.

This is a competitive scholarship, and applicants are evaluated according to academic ability, social awareness, financial need and appreciation of labor. A GPA of 3.0 or higher is recommended.

Undergraduate and graduate students are eligible. The Scholarship Program is open to current and retired members of unions participating in any Union Plus program (e.g., AFSCME), their spouses and their dependent children (as defined by IRS regulations). At least one year of continuous union membership by the applicant, applicant's spouse or parent (if applicant is a dependent). The one year membership minimum must be satisfied by May 31, 2016.

The applicant must be accepted into a U.S. accredited college or university, community college, technical or trade school at the time the award is issued. Awards must be used for the 2016 - 2017 school year. You do not have to purchase any Union Plus product or participate in any Union Plus program to be eligible.

Applicants should note that the application requires you to list the national or international union name, local union number, local union's address, phone number and the name of the local union President or Business Manager.  You need this information for your union, your spouse's union or your parent's union (if you are a dependent).  If you or your family members are affiliated with multiple unions you must list this information for all.

As a member of SHARE, you are also a member of our parent organization, AFSCME, a qualifying union. Please note that the “local number” for SHARE on the School-side is AFSCME Local 4000. The SHARE School-side co-presidents are Sherry Nguyen and Dianne Williams.

For more details, and to access the online application dashboard, please see the Union Plus Scholarship website.

Five-Tidbit Friday: December 18th, 2015


When you’re shopping, do you want to buy products that are union made? Don’t use slave labor?  Fair trade? Cruelty free? Environmentally responsible? You can now use your phone to scan labels and make purchases that line up with your own personal ethics. Check out for details.

Please, shop responsibly

If you want to browse for ideas, Made-in-America by union employees, check out the AFL-CIO gift guide.

One must go to great lengths to make the Extra Mile . . .

Or, use the Labor 411 website for another thorough listing of union-made products. The list even includes union breweries and distilleries.

After all, if you're looking to mix up a fancy drink at New Year's (say, an Extra Mile?) shouldn't you use a reputable union-made rye, such as Knob Creek or Woodford Reserve?


Do you know your rights as a renter? This story on WGBH explains how the law is on your side, and gives advice for dealing with Winter issues. And everybody should remember to check their smoke and carbon detectors, of course.


190 Mustaches?
. . . according to recent studies. And that’s not a good thing, writes Vivien Labaton in the New Republic. (But if you’re reading this, please know that the SHARE UMMS Childcare Fund aims to correct that, and will post application details for the next cycle in the new year.)


The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Mustaches Outnumber Women Among Medical-School Leaders.

Although SHARE more blog posts are coming, this column is taking a break until 2016, which, really, isn't all that far off. In the meanwhile, happy holidays! See you here next year . . .  

Friday, December 11, 2015

Member in the Spotlight: Joe Guarini

by Laurie Lynch

When I asked Joseph Guarini if he could travel back in time, what point would he choose, and why, he thought about the question, and then apologized. “If given the choice, I’d really prefer to go to the future instead. I’d really like to see how the technology has advanced. The flying cars . . .” he began.

Joseph, known to his friends and co-workers as Joe, is a kind conversationalist, and his curiosity is apparent. His history has brought him through a variety of jobs and interests. In all of his experiences, he has found it important to demonstrate his dedicated work ethic.

Joe grew up and has spent most of his life in the town of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. He has a younger brother who has two children, and they also live in Shrewsbury. Growing up, Joe and his family took several trips, including a memorable one to Disney World, and another, with his paternal grandmother, to Canada.

One of Joseph Guarini’s favorite hobbies as a child was looking at the stars, moon, and planets through his telescope, which he received as a gift from his parents. The telescope, along with Joe’s favorite television show, “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage” with Carl Sagan, inspired a lifelong interest in astronomy. Joe was given a copy of the companion book to the series for his 14th birthday, and it remains a personal favorite. After receiving his high school diploma from Shrewsbury High School, Joe was accepted at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He lived on campus while earning his degree in Astronomy.

After completing his undergraduate degree, and working at the retail store Caldor for some time, Joe decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Library Science. Joe attended SUNY (State University of New York) Albany, NY and obtained his degree. After that, Joe returned to Caldor while pursuing a library job.  In fact, he worked at that Caldor in Westborough for a number of years, until the store closed. He then worked at Radio Shack for two years. He also volunteered at the Shrewsbury Public Library, where he updated the cataloging system for the books there from Dewey Decimal 19 to DD 20. He also volunteered at a local public radio station (WICN in Worcester, station 90.5 FM) where he did data entry from information on classical CD’s.

In May of 2001, Joe began working here, in the Lamar Soutter Library. His favorite thing about working at the library is the people he gets to work with. I asked Joe how he feels about being part of a union. “I think people, even at the professional levels, would be better off with a union,” he said. “Unions are good for most people, and I like being part of one.”
20 Random Fun Facts about Joseph Guarini:
  • Favorite color – Red (Joe drives a red car.)
  • Favorite season – Summer (Although he likes them all.)
  • Beach or woods – Beach
  • Chocolate or vanilla – Vanilla
  • Dream vacation – Greece to see the Ruins
  • Favorite style of music – 50’s rock and roll (Especially Buddy Holly and Elvis)
  • If you could only eat 1 meal for the rest of your life, what would it be – Chicken Parmesan with spaghetti. (Joe used to order this every Friday night when he and his family went out for dinner in Webster Square.) 
  • Do you have any pets – No (However, Joe had a dog named Buddy growing up.)
  • Do you blow dry your hair, or just let it dry on its own, or towel dry – Towel dry
  • Do you untie your shoes when you take them off – Untie
  • Favorite book – Companion Book to the Cosmos by John Gribbin
  • Last thing you bought –Breakfast, but if not food related it was Star Trek: the Original Series on DVD
  • Favorite day of the week – Sunday - for relaxing
  • T.V. shows you secretly enjoy – 2 Broke Girls, Big Bang Theory, and Supergirl
  • Favorite potato chip flavor – Plain Kettle Cooked Cape Cod Chips
  • Do you play a musical instrument – Trombone in his high school band and now he plays keyboard in a band with some of his coworkers from the library
  • What's your worst pet peeve – Being rushed
  • Do you have dream car – Classic Rolls-Royce . . . or a new Prius
  • Who named you and why – His father because his parents decided if he was a boy, his dad would get to name him and if he was a girl his mother would
  • Do you have a favorite life motto – "Don’t try for perfection, just try for improvement."

Scholarship Opportunities

SHARE's parent organization, AFSCME, earlier this week published to their blog the following information about scholarships. As members of AFSCME, all SHARE members qualify. Please note that the application deadlines are rapidly approaching!

Many families are struggling with the costs of college tuition — or paying off college loans. AFSCME members and their children or dependents can apply for scholarships that could substantially reduce college costs. Here are two scholarship options currently accepting applications:
The Gerald W. McEntee Scholarship is a one-time award of $5,000 granted to one AFSCME member each year.  The scholarship is given to the member who best exemplifies the former president’s commitment to strengthening our union through organizing, building political power for working families, defending workers’ rights and supporting public services. The application deadline is Jan. 31.
The AFSCME Family Scholarship is an award of $2,000, renewable for up to four years, granted to 10 rising high school seniors each year. Any senior whose parent or legal guardian is an active AFSCME member may apply. The application deadline is Dec. 31.
Visit to learn more and download application materials.
Already graduated? AFSCME is committed to helping union members navigate the student loan process. You may qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program or Income-Driven Loan repayment, which can help dramatically reduce your monthly payments. You can find out more at

Friday, November 20, 2015

Five-Tidbit Friday: November 20, 2015


Happy Thanksgiving! 
Thanksgiving may only come once a year, but there's mounting scientific evidence about the benefits of developing thankful habits. Researcher Glenn Fox at the University of Southern California has been researching how gratitude alters the brain. “A lot of people conflate gratitude with the simple emotion of receiving a nice thing. What we found was something a little more interesting,” says Fox. “The pattern of [brain] activity we see shows that gratitude is a complex social emotion that is really built around how others seek to benefit us.” As you gear up for the big feast, here is some advice to help you and your family be truly thankful at Thanksgiving.


Although copyrighted by celebrity chef Paul Prudhomme in 1986, the Turducken (a kind of “Russian Doll Roast”) traces its roots back to at least medieval times, when animals might be stuffed within other animals for the sake of spectacle. (See also,  “illusion foods,” or “incredible foods.”)

Schott’s Food & Drink Miscellany includes this example of a Russian Doll Roast involving way too many birds: “stuff a large OLIVE with CAPERS and a CLOVE,” and so on, it says. The directions continue stuffing birds, including a bec-figue, ortolan, lark, thrush, quail, plover, lapwing, partridge, woodcock, teal, fowl, duck, chicken, pheasant, goose, and turkey, until ultimately we’re told to “place the TURKEY inside an enormous BUSTARD.”


According to Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Food, at Sea and Ashore, in the Nineteenth Century, Thanksgiving used to be a bigger deal. For roughly the first half of our nation’s history, Thanksgiving reigned as the premier holiday among the Europeans who came to America, and their descendents. (Celebrating Christmas was too “churchy” for the Puritans.) For a fascinating tour of Thanksgiving meals through the ages, including the "Turducken," be sure to check out


Did you know that Jingle Bells was originally written as a song to celebrate Thanksgiving Day? James Lord Pierpont wrote it, quite possibly right here in Massachusetts, some time in the 1850’s, almost certainly at a time when one might expect the heavy snows to begin as early as November.
Placard Commemorating the composition of  "Jingle Bells" in Medford, Massachusetts


Probably all of us have driven along Route 9 in Shrewsbury, past the Worcester County Food Bank. On their website, you can quickly identify the nearest food pantry, learn where to donate funds and food for the hungry, volunteer to help with the distribution process, and learn how to advocate for the hungry in your community.

See you here in two weeks. Hope you have a decent weekend, and a very wonderful Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Five-Tidbit Friday: November 13th, 2015

Röntgen and his beard
It’s Movember! Both the “No Shave November” and “Movember” movements encourage men to abstain from the razor for thirty days in order to raise men’s health and cancer awareness. Unfortunately, it’s getting harder to tell which hair is charitable, and which is just garden-variety facial fluff.  
On November 8th, 1895, German physicist William Conrad Röntgen discovered X-rays. National Radiologic Technology Week is celebrated each year during the week of the anniversary of this discovery. Röntgen’s own unruly chin-growth predated the UK’s Decembeard event.
According to the Boston Globe, the Massachusetts State Legislature’s Labor and Workforce Development Committee has put forward a bill to increase the minimum wage to fifteen dollars per hour. The introduction of the bill coincided with Fight for $15 demonstrations in over 270 cities, involving thousands of workers across the country. The bill still requires approval by the House, Senate, and Governor Charlie Baker.

Veterans’ Day was observed this week in Worcester and around the country. President Obama’s Veteran’s Day speech focused on jobs, as Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post writes:

“We’re in the midst of a new wave of American veterans,” said Obama, referring to a generation of men and women who have weathered the longest stretch of war in U.S. history. Those veterans have struggled in recent years to get care from an overwhelmed Department of Veterans Affairs. They’ve faced a higher unemployment rate than their civilian peers and an increase in suicides.
Here in Central Massachusetts, many work continually to honor the service of our Veterans, and to help them find ways to serve their country at home. The Worcester Veterans’ Services Division aims to supply local veterans with immediate financial aid, medical assistance, and referral services on issues such as housing, employment opportunities, health, and education. Notably, four of our area colleges and universities--Worcester State University, Fitchburg, Nichols College, and Mount Wachusett Community College--have been designated “military friendly” institutions.  


Describing one particularly personal commemoration of our country’s veterans, former SHARE-UMMS president and UMMS Library Assistant Paul Julian writes: “On July 9, while on a walk, I stopped to read a Veteran's monument on Upsala Street in Worcester. I had read others on my walks, but this was special, because Richard Leo Jandron , for whom the memorial was erected, died from his wounds sustained in Cherbourg, France exactly 71 years before. I said a prayer for Gunner Mate Jandron, and it occurred to me that I should do this for every veteran who is so honored here in Worcester. Working with two lists, I learned that there were 237 such monuments here in Worcester. I decided to seek them out so that I could pray and reflect on the sacrifices these brave veterans made. I aimed to walk to all 237 monuments. Today, the day before Veterans Day, I journeyed to the last one on my list for Lt. Paul Adams, which is located on Sunderland Road here in Worcester. I have found this to be both a moving and illuminating experience. We owe so much to our veterans. May their sacrifices always be appreciated by us.”

See you here next Friday. Hope you have a very decent weekend . . .

Friday, November 6, 2015

Member in the Spotlight: Delia Perez

Delia Perez
Interviewed by Laurie Lynch

Delia is a bright, outgoing, hardworking woman who always has a smile on her face and is always willing to help out her co-workers. Delia Perez began work as an Intake Assistant for the University in the department of Coverage Enhancement and Appeals Programs in July of 2014. In her day to-day-work, she handles and processes important paperwork for organizations such as The Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA). She loves her co-workers, and recently joined the Diversity Committee at UMass.

Delia grew up in Worcester and graduated from North High School. She also spent a lot of time in New York, where some of her aunts lived, during school vacations and summers. Her mother has fifteen siblings, and her father has twelve! Delia has two brothers, one older and one younger.   

Delia holds her family to be incredibly important. In fact, many members of her family were instrumental in naming her. In her family, they believe a family tradition can predict the sex of a baby. The prediction is made by hanging a chain with a charm over the pregnant mother's belly; the direction it swings tells you if the baby will be a boy (swings back and forward) or a girl (swings in a circular motion). Her grandmother performed this tradition and it told Delia’s family that she would be a boy. However, Delia’s aunt (also named Delia) was the only one who said the chain was wrong. So, Delia’s mother and aunt made a bet that if Delia was born a girl, she had to be named after her aunt. (No one remembers what her mother would have won if Delia had been born a boy.) At 5:15, on October 22, Delia’s aunt won the bet.
In the future, Delia hopes to become a teacher and work with children with special needs, specifically children who are blind, deaf, or mute. She plans to continue with her education at Worcester State University, where she has already completed two years of her undergraduate degree.

25 Fun Facts about Delia Perez:

  • Favorite color – Orange (She is wearing a beautiful orange scarf today.)
  • Favorite season – Autumn (She loves the foliage and all the pumpkin flavored goodies.)
  • Beach or woods – Beach (She is scared of bugs.)
  • Chocolate or vanilla – Chocolate (100% chocolate girl!)
  • Do you have any pets – No (She did have a wonderful Pitbull named Jada. But, due to Delia's schedule, Jada now lives with one of her uncles.)
  • Dream vacation – Africa or Thailand (She has always wanted to go to Africa, and Thailand is so beautiful she would love to go and experience the culture.)
  • Favorite style of music – Very eclectic (Depends on her mood; likes Classical to Hip Hop and everything in between.)
  • Favorite food – Anything Spanish
  • Do you blow dry your hair, let it dry on its own, or towel dry – Towel then air dry
  • Do you untie your shoes when you take them off – No, leave them tied
  • Favorite book – Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Blubber by Judy Bloom (Delia and her mother used to read these books together growing up.)
  • Last thing you bought – Italian bread (Made garlic bread with it, to go with her dinner last night.)
  • Favorite day of the week – Friday (End of the work week.)
  • T.V. shows you secretly enjoy – Once Upon a Time and The Mindy Project
  • Favorite Potato Chips flavor – Wachusett Barbecue (She puts them on everything she can, including her sandwiches.)
  • Do you play a musical instrument – Flute (When she was in grade school, she thought she was really good, but now knows she was really bad!)
  • What's your biggest pet peeve – People who chew like cows
  • Do you have dream car – Range Rover, olive green with cream leather interior
  • If you could only eat 1 meal for the rest of your life, what would it be – Mofongo (A fried plantain-based dish, typically made with fried green plantains mashed together in a pilón, with broth, garlic, olive oil, and pork cracklings or bits of bacon.)
  • If you could go back in time, when would you go to and why – To before her grandparents passed. They helped raise her and although she told them how thankful she was and how much she loved them all the time, she would love the chance to tell them again.
  • If you got stranded on a deserted island with no power source, what 5 items would you bring – A good book, big notebook, pen or pencil, thread with an attached needle and a pot
  • What languages do you speak – English, Spanish, and learning Arabic
  • Favorite hobbies – Knitting and cooking (She loves to experiment with new recipes. She just found a recipe for Jamaican Patties that she plan on making soon.)   
  • Fun fact that not everyone knows about you – Aunt is a published author (Maggie Millet)
  • Do you have a favorite life motto – “A closed mouth don’t get fed”

Five-Tidbit Friday: November 6, 2015


We’ve gotten some helpful feedback about the SHARE blog recently. We apologize that the “Sign-Up by Email” feature is not available on all web browsers. If you’d like to receive updates in your inbox, and don’t see the sign-up box in the upper-right corner of your screen, please send an email to  


More details have been requested about the recent tidbit touting free online classes through

  • The project was founded by Harvard University and MIT, and a number of colleges and universities have since joined in.
  • New courses are continually being offered.
  • The program does not adhere to a traditional academic calendar.
  • At any given moment, a few million students are enrolled in the courses, and the website promotes a variety of ways of interacting with other students in your class, wherever in the world they may be.
  • EdX offers certificates of successful completion, but does not offer course credit. Whether or not a college or university offers credit for an edX course is within the sole discretion of that school.

Signing up for a class is just about as simple as registering for the edX site and clicking on the course(s) you want to take. The EdX site has a useful video explaining how it works. (A couple of years back, I signed up for Harvard’s “Food and Science” course. Signing up was fairly simple and straightforward. Keeping up with the course-load after work, however, was trickier. But when else can you use your kitchen as a laboratory?)


This week, the Pew Research Center released a report about work-family balance in households that include a mother and a father. This prompted the Huffington Post to wonder why so many government policies and employers are stuck in “Leave It to Beaver” mode--notably highlighting that the US is the only developed country that does not offer paid family leave to new mothers. (Additionally, the article points out that “Almost 40 percent of kids in the U.S. live in a home with a single parent or no parent at all (for example, a grandparent's in charge), according to a different Pew study.”)



. . . keeping an eye on the labor-management partnership at Kaiser Permanente. In his address at the recent White House Summit on Worker Voice, President Obama stated, “Kaiser Permanente works with 28 different unions to provide good pay and benefits, but also educational programs, and avenues for employees to help improve quality and care throughout the company — which is why they’re considered one of the premier health organizations in the country.”

See you here next Friday! Hope you have a great weekend . . .