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