How you can help win the fight for protections against workplace abuse

Photo by Paddy O Sullivan on Pexels.com

All employees deserve a chance to succeed. That’s why we took on this fight nearly a decade ago and won’t give up.

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.

When passed, this policy will help regulate out-of-control abuse at work so thousands of workers can feel safe to do their jobs.

And it’s the employees best doing their jobs, whose competence and ethics pose the most threat to their bosses, who are most at risk of mistreatment at work.

This campaign is your campaign. Campaigns don’t win with a few people speaking up. They win when enough people say enough is enough. 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 our State Legislatures each session. Your voice in this campaign is crucial.

Here’s what advocates have 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 — in Massachusetts alone.
  • 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.

The biggest obstacle in past legislative sessions has been getting legislators to make this bill a priority. But we can keep the pressure on legislators to move the bill forward. Even if you don’t live in a specific state, you can write to these legislators asking them to move the bill forward.

So here’s what we’re asking of you:

1. Know what’s going on in your state and take action:

MASSACHUSETTS
The bill in Massachusetts sits with the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development after our hearing in June. In past sessions, this committee moved the bill forward, but only when it was too late in the session for the bill to continue moving forward. We need your help to put the pressure on and move the bill more quickly out of this committee.

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.

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. 

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/
     

RHODE ISLAND
In the spring, Rhode Island became the second state in the nation to pass the bill through their State Senate. It then moved onto the House Labor Committee, who held a hearing and voted for the bill to be tabled for further study. But we can change that.

Email your story to these legislators and ask them to move House Bill 6087 favorably out of the House Labor Committee:
rep-williams@rilegislature.gov, rep-mckiernan@rilegislature.gov, rep-fellela@rilegislature.gov, rep-alzate@rilegislature.gov, rep-blazejewski@rilegislature.gov, rep-casey@rilegislature.gov, rep-edwards@rilegislature.gov, rep-jackson@rilegislature.gov, rep-lyle@rilegislature.gov, rep-mcentee@rilegislature.gov, rep-mcnamara@rilegislature.gov, rep-messier@rilegislature.gov, rep-millea@rilegislature.gov, rep-newberry@rilegislature.gov, rep-noret@rilegislature.gov, rep-ucci@rilegislature.gov


CONNECTICUT, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, UTAH, AND WEST VIRGINIA
These states all have active bills, and you can show your support through email if you live in these states. Find out how:
https://endworkplaceabuse.com/take-urgent-action/


2. 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.

3. Help research email addresses. Spend just a few hours researching email addresses — key people to spread the word to. Find out how by emailing info@endworkplaceabuse.com.
4. Share your ideas and skills with us. Think you have an idea or skill you can bring to the cause to help build awareness that workplace abuse exists and that we’re fighting for change? Email info@endworkplaceabuse.com, and we’ll support you in any way we can.

5. Advocate in your state. Find out how by emailing info@endworkplaceabuse.com.

 

We can’t be prouder of what we’ve built together. It’s easy to get discouraged that the full bill hasn’t passed in the roughly ten years advocates have 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 forward 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 the full bill this session somewhere in the US.

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