How we’ll win the fight for protections against workplace abuse

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We started this campaign about a decade ago, expecting a long haul, because we believe all employees deserve a chance to succeed. 

We have environmental regulations to limit environmental risks, but we don’t regulate the human impact of abuse at work. We don’t leave environmental pollution to the discretion of CEOs. Yet we leave employee health up to CEOs — when CEOs too often lead in ways that serve neither the employees nor the public nor themselves when you include the hidden costs of turnover and absenteeism.

We need to pass this policy to regulate out-of-control abuse at work so thousands of workers can feel safe to do their jobs.

This campaign is your campaign. It will take all of us to take on business interests who want to stay unaccountable and to make employee health an urgent matter among the 6,000+ issues brought to the State Legislature each session. Your voice in this campaign is crucial.

Here’s what we’ve built together over the last decade:

  • Our base: 10,000+ grassroots supporters to reach out to during the legislative session, including a Facebook page of 4,000+ followers.
  • Our team: A solid group of advocates who spread the word about workplace abuse and the bill, strategize, lobby, and testify at the State House.
  • Our legislative support: More than half of the entire State Legislature as co-sponsors: 109.
  • Our strategy: A plan to pressure key legislators during the process and gain media coverage, including this powerful Boston Globe piece we made happen earlier this year.

Our biggest obstacle in the past four legislative sessions has been getting legislators to make this bill a priority. Every session, we have a hearing in front of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development in the spring or summer of the first year of the session. Committees have until January or February of the second year — when this bill generally moves forward — to say yes or no to moving bills forward out of their committees. The problem: there’s little time to push this bill through the Senate and House by July when the session ends.

With growing support from legislators each session, including doubling the number of legislative sponsors this session, we believe we can keep the pressure on legislators to move the bill into the State Senate before 2020.

So here’s what we’re asking of you:

First: Send your story and/or written support for Senate Bill 1072 to members of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. We simply cannot get over the finish line without you. The energy for this bill this has been overwhelming. The problem is that if the committee members don’t read enough stories or testimony to convince them it’s an urgent matter, we’ll have to start all over again next session, leaving employees unprotected for even longer. (Due to the nature of this topic, they can keep your name confidential if requested.) Email your story or testimony to Samuel Larson at samuel.larson@mahouse.gov. He works for the committee and will distribute what you submit to the committee members. Even if you’re out-of-state, your voice will help. 

Second: Meet with Committee Chairwoman Senator Pat Jehlen’s staff. Senator Pat Jehlen has the most power to move this bill forward. Email Senator Pat Jehlen’s Political Director Mark Martinez at mark.martinez@masenate.gov to meet with him about your experience and why you want the bill to pass. 

Third: Urge your own state legislators to write to Senator Pat Jehlen and Rep. Paul Brodeur in support of Senate Bill 1072Contact your state senator and state rep and ask them to write to Senator Jehlen and Rep. Brodeur to ask them to move the bill favorably out of committee. If you can’t meet with your legislators:

  1. Call your legislators. Tell whoever answers the phone “I’m calling to ask _____ to write to Senator Pat Jehlen and Rep. Paul Brodeur to urge them to move Senate Bill 1072, an act addressing workplace bullying, mobbing, and harassment, without regard to protected class status, favorably out of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development.” They may ask you your name and address.
  2. Followup with an email. Tell the legislators why you want them to write to Senator Pat Jehlen and Rep. Paul Brodeur to urge them to move Senate Bill 1072 favorably out of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. Include links to these flyers to explain the bill and the full text of the bill:
    http://www.mahealthyworkplace.com/MAWorkplaceBullyingFactSheet.pdf
    http://www.mahealthyworkplace.com/MAWorkplaceBullyingFactSheet3.pdf
    LA Times article: “To end sexual harassment on the job, end workplace bullying” 
    https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/S1072/

Fourth: Ask others to do the same. Share with your friends why you support this bill. No one will be better at bringing people into this campaign than you, and we need more voices to keep the pressure on this summer and fall.
 

We can’t be prouder of what we’ve built together. It’s easy to get discouraged that the bill hasn’t passed in the roughly ten years we’ve pushed it. But that’s a normal timeframe to build momentum, especially for a bill of this magnitude. And every conversation you have, post you share, and effort you take to spread the word helps us build a groundswell that will not only move the bill into the State Senate, but will pass this bill and help employees believe again that we matter.

Re-inventing our workplaces was never going to be easy, but we’re more resolved than ever to fight to make it happen. Believe that we will pass this bill this session.

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