Next steps for workplace abuse legislation in Massachusetts

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Our official next step in this two-year legislative session is getting a bill number that we’ll use for the rest of the session (right now, we only have a docket number). Then we wait for a hearing date to testify in front of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, which can happen anytime this spring and even on short notice.

These committee members were announced yesterday:

Senate Members:
Pat Jehlen, Chair
Jason Lewis, Vice Chair
Sal DiDomenico*
John Keenan
Michael Moore*
Patrick O’Connor*

House Members:
Paul Brodeur, Chair
Stephen Hay, Vice Chair*
John Barrett III
Gerard Cassidy
Jim Hawkins*
Liz Malia*
David Robertson*
Steven Ultrino*
Susannah Whipps*
Joseph McKenna (Ranking Minority)
William Crocker, Jr.

*Sponsor

What this news means
Of the 17 committee members, nine are current co-sponsors, meaning more than half the committee already supports workplace abuse legislation. Often committee leaders won’t co-sponsor bills, but both Jason Lewis and Paul Brodeur — last session’s committee chairs — co-sponsored this bill in past sessions and moved it to the Senate last session. So we can put that level of support up to 11.

Where we can use advocacy is with Senator Pat Jehlen. She’s new to this committee in recent years and though she’s a progressive leader, she hasn’t signed onto this bill before. It’s our job to talk with her aides about why we need workplace abuse legislation and address any concerns Senator Jehlen or her aides may have.

How you can help
Though her leadership position makes her less likely to co-sponsor the bill, it’s still important to show support for it. It’s always ideal to go in and meet with aides either at the State House or during local office hours. Otherwise, we can call her office at 617-722-1578 AND email her at Patricia.Jehlen@masenate.gov.

If you’re in her district (Medford, Somerville, Cambridge wards 9 and 11, and Winchester precincts 4-7), your voice carries the most weight. Tell whoever answers the phone “I’m a constituent calling to ask Senator Jehlen to support Senate Docket Number 1355, an act addressing workplace bullying without regard to protected class status.”

If you’re not in her district, she’ll still care what you have to say. Tell whoever answers the phone “I’m an advocate calling to ask Senator Jehlen to support Senate Docket Number 1355, an act addressing workplace bullying without regard to protected class status.”


In either case, followup with an email saying something similar and explaining why you support the bill. You can also send these three flyer links:

Overview
Myths
LA Times article: “To end sexual harassment on the job, end workplace bullying” 

You can also:
Forward this message onto friends in her district asking them to do the same.
Flyer in her district (outside the Davis Square T stop, for example), especially during rush hour.

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