Category: Schedule

Tell us your workplace bullying stories, and we’ll send them to reporters  

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As we get ready for the next legislative session in January, we want to share your workplace bullying stories this fall to build our base (last week, a reporter from Redbook asked us for your stories, and we passed many along).

We can help get your story out, even anonymously. Email us at info@mahealthyworkplace.com THIS WEEK with your one-page story. Include:
Where did you work and what did you do?
Where do you live?
How did the bullying begin? What tactics were used?
How did you feel?
How did it escalate?
How did your employer react (or not react)?
What was the impact on you?
What was the impact on the organization?
Why do you want workplace bullying legislation to pass?

What we’ve done so far

As we plan for next session, here’s what worked and didn’t work for spreading the word about workplace bullying and the bill:

What worked

  • Asked people to call key offices at different stages of the process.
  • Shared personal stories.
  • Tweeted at legislators and potential supporters.
  • Made phone calls to potential supporters (women ages 30-54 in most progressive MA towns without current co-sponsorship).
  • Researched email addresses in those same towns.
  • Spoke in front of Democratic Town Committees.
  • Sent out requests for endorsements to organizations.
  • Held Flyer Days.
  • Testified at the hearing.
  • Created and promoted an easy tool for calling and writing legislators.
  • Created videos for social media.
What didn’t work
  • Wrote letters to those who made civil service complaints about telling their workplace bullying stories.
  • Wrote letters to non-leadership legislators and sent emails to all State House staff about workplace bullying stories in the State House.
  • Pitched to reporters how workplace bullying fits in with #MeToo.

 

Our plans for next session

There are two major challenges with this bill:

  1. Educating others on what workplace bullying is since it’s not yet a household term.
  2. Creating urgency behind the bill in the State House since it competes with other pressing matters.
Here’s what we’re already doing about it — and how you can help:

Getting media support. Since legislators tend to pay attention to what’s in the news, we hope to get the word out through news articles, which often generate more news:

  • Boston Globe Spotlight reporter may write a story about a bullied Cape Cod nurse who took his life after workplace bullying.
  • We’re obtaining data on roughly how much workplace bullying has cost Massachusetts taxpayers.
  • We’ll continue to pitch reporters about tying workplace bullying to the #MeToo movement since sexual harassment is a form of workplace bullying.
  • We can help get your story out, even anonymously.
Getting organizational support. We’re always reaching out to organizations asking for their official endorsement of the bill, which will help generate support (we already have roughly 20 official endorsers). Do you have connections to any organizations that might consider endorsing the bill? Ideas include:
Associations for government employees, lawyers, mental health professionals, non-profits, and teachers
Democratic Town Committees and progressive groups
Labor Councils
Republican Town Committees
Social justice groups
Unions

In the next couple weeks, we’ll announce meetings all over the state to plan next steps for pushing the bill. In the meantime, send us your stories so we can continue to reach out to reporters about what we’re doing and why it matters.

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Next steps for workplace bullying legislation in Massachusetts

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This session marks the fourth full legislative session that the all-volunteer Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Advocates have introduced the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill, this session Senate Bill 1013, to make severe cases of workplace bullying illegal.

We thank you

We knew going into the process that it would take several years to pass a bill. This bill is no exception. When passed, the bill will improve work cultures. That’s major change. And you’ve stayed passionate with making phone calls and spreading the word the entire time because this work is so important and thousands of workers need our help.

We’ve spent the last several years building a base of support for this legislation, and we won’t stop building that base until this bill gets passed.

Here’s what we’ve accomplished together:

  • We’ve built a base of more than 16,000 advocates who reach out to their legislators at key points in the process. That list grows daily thanks to you sharing Facebook posts, tweets, and emails.
  • We’ve grown in legislative support. The number of legislators supporting the bill has grown from 13 to 39 to 58. This session, formal endorsements went to 49, but we gained the support over the session of an additional 21 legislators. That’s a total of 70 out of roughly 200 legislators.

How the process works

  1. Every odd year in the two-year session, we re-introduce the bill in January and start the process all over again but have a bigger base to stand on (legislator and advocate support). We get a Docket Number to use to add on co-sponsors.
    HOW WE NEED YOUR HELP IN JANUARY: Call your legislators urging them to sign on once we have a Docket Number.
  2. Then we get a Bill Number. We continue spreading the word through our website, Facebook page, Facebook group, Twitter account, blog, petition, and e-blast.
    HOW WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW AND NEXT SPRING: Share social media posts and emails and spread the word.
  3. We testify at the scheduled hearing in front of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. The legislators on this committee change each session.
    HOW WE NEED YOUR HELP FOR THE HEARING: Show up in support or testify.
  4. At this point, the bill can move to the Senate or House. Only a limited number of the hundreds of proposed bills make it this far, and the Healthy Workplace Bill has been one of them in the majority of past sessions.
    HOW WE NEED YOUR HELP: Meet with your legislators, tell them your stories, ask them what concerns they have about the bill language, and urge them to move the bill forward.

Our plans for next session

There are two major challenges with this bill:

  1. Educating others on what workplace bullying is since it’s not yet a household term.
  2. Creating urgency behind the bill in the State House since it competes with other pressing matters.
Here’s what we’re already doing about it — and how you can help:

Getting media support. Since legislators tend to pay attention to what’s in the news, we hope to get the word out through news articles, which often generate more news:

  • A Boston Globe Spotlight reporter may write a story about a bullied Cape Cod nurse who took his life after workplace bullying.
  • We’re obtaining data on roughly how much workplace bullying has cost Massachusetts taxpayers.
  • We’ve been pitching reporters about tying workplace bullying to the #MeToo movement since sexual harassment is a form of workplace bullying.
  • We can help get your story out, even anonymously. Email us at info@mahealthyworkplace.com with your one-page story. Include:
    Where did you work and what did you do?
    How did the bullying begin? What tactics were used?
    How did you feel?
    How did it escalate?
    How did your employer react (or not react)?
    What was the impact on you?
    What was the impact on the organization?
    Why do you want workplace bullying legislation to pass?
Getting organizational support. We’re always reaching out to organizations asking for their official endorsement of the bill, which will help generate support (we already have roughly 20 official endorsers). Do you have connections to any organizations that might consider endorsing the bill? Ideas include:
Associations for government employees, lawyers, mental health professionals, non-profits, and teachers
Democratic Town Committees and progressive groups
Labor Councils
Republican Town Committees
Social justice groups
Unions

In the next few weeks, we’ll announce September meetings across the state so you can get involved and bring your voice to the cause. Consider:

What skills you have. Are you a writer who can help write blog posts? Are you a people-person who can help make phone calls to our list of potential supporters based on the most progressive areas of the state where we lack support? Are you an artist who can create an exhibit related to workplace bullying? Do you have experience with political campaigns? Brainstorm what you like to do and what skills you want to bring to the cause. We’d love your help.

What connections you have. Are you a nurse, teacher, education administrator, government employee, or non-profit professional who can reach out to organizations in your area for official support? Are you a union member who can let your union rep know about the bill? Do you have friends, neighbors, former colleagues, or family who might lend their connections to progress the bill?

If you can’t wait until September, email us at info@mahealthyworkplace.com to get involved now. We’re looking for two volunteers in this all-volunteer group for these two positions:

  • Phonebanking Director. Recruit callers for potential supporters and make calls.
  • Endorsement Director. Reach out to organizations to ask for their official support.

Join us to build on the momentum to make next session our session.

Want to spread the word? Forward this email or download the flyer.

Learn about what workplace bullying is »
Like us on Facebook »

PS – Did you see the bill in the news recently? It made:
The front page of the Boston Globe
The LA Times
Truthout

URGENT: Tomorrow is the last day of the legislative session to make workplace bullying illegal in Massachusetts

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While the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill, Senate Bill 1013, is still in Senate Ways & Means, we can take these last two days of the legislative session — today and tomorrow — to drive home the point that workplace bullying ruins lives and businesses.

How you can help

Senator Karen Spilka has recently become Senate President, so call Senate Ways & Means Vice Chair Joan Lovely at 617-722-1410 and tell whoever answers the phone that you support Senate Bill 1013 regarding workplace bullying. Phone calls are disruptive, so the more calls we make, the more she’ll take notice.

The goal of these calls is to keep the bill on leaders’ radar for the next session.

We thank you for your continued support of this bill. The bill couldn’t have made it this far without your phone calls and understanding that this effort is long-term. Remember that most bills take several years to pass. This bill is no exception. We’ve spent the last several years building a base of support for this legislation, and we won’t stop building that base until this bill gets passed. In the next several days, we’ll reach out to you with our fall plans to take this campaign to the next level — and how you can help bring protections for thousands of workers who need our help.

Lisa’s workplace bullying story: sabotage in a clinical setting

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It all started when a new program manager was promoted to the position from an overnight staff position. I had worked at the residential program that housed DYS teenage boys for about three years as the clinical director of the program.

A vendor agency ran the program, but we got our referrals and directives from DYS. I enjoyed the job and was good at it. I had the respect of the other clinical staff in my DYS group meetings and the caseworkers who came to the program regularly.

As clinical director, I was responsible for one other clinical staff and for all therapy that occurred in the program: family, individual, and group. I did some staff training as well as supporting staff at times of crisis.

How it began
Things started changing when the new director started. He began to make connections with the staff. It quickly became clear that I was not someone he clicked with.

It started slow at first… inside jokes, undermining my decisions, and making fun of me in meetings. The staff got the message: I was no longer part of the in crowd. During meetings with the assistant program director (supervision meetings of my responsibilities in the program), I was told I was doing poorly in my job and that the staff didn’t like me or respect me. It was the worst review I had in my entire career with no examples — all hearsay and opinion, no facts. I tried to dismiss it and strongly felt that it was not appropriate for the assistant director with no clinical experience and no more than a high school diploma to evaluate my performance as clinical director, a masters and license level job.

I also was pregnant as this emotional abuse began. I was isolated and made to feel that my hard work was making others look bad. The new director was more focused on doing the minimum, making himself look good, and watching baseball in his office with his crew.

I realized that it wasn’t going to get better as summer began to turn into fall. The baby was due in March, and I decided no matter how bad it got, I had to stick it out until then.

How I got pushed out
There were some clinical staff that came from a different agency for groups and assessments. In September, one of those staff told me that he could see the negative and hostile environment and that I should consider leaving soon.

But I was determined to stay. In October, I went on a planned vacation. I returned on a Monday morning to accusations of falsifying documents that they found in my office while I was away. They planned to report me to the licensing board. They were determined for me to leave, so I typed up a resignation, packed my office, and left by lunchtime that day.

I didn’t feel there was any recourse. The documents they pulled where filled out as directed by a previous director and weren’t clinical in nature. It was clear they just needed something to accuse me of.

I was devastated, embarrassed, and sad.

In the midst of all this, the baby had died, and I was in the hospital by the end of that week having surgery to remove the fetus.

No one from the program called to share condolences or sent a get well card even though I sent a message to the secretary about the loss of the baby.

Moving on and healing
I moved on to another job and tried to heal. I still worked with DYS boys but in the community instead.

It hurt for a long time. My husband says it was the lowest point for my self-esteem in the 10 years he had known me. The hormones didn’t help.

The new job was great. We got pregnant again. I was healing.

About a year later, my friend Deb said I needed to talk with her friend Liz. I called Liz, and what a similar story she had to tell me. She held the same job with the same vendor at the same program after me. The program director and a couple of the staff bragged about how they got rid of me. She dismissed their comments until they did the same thing to her: they accused her of doing some paperwork incorrectly and threatened her license. They suggested she resign. She did and went on to open her own private practice — successful today, many years later. She never forgot their meanness and boys’ club mentality that had no room for a smart, hardworking female clinical director.

I sent a message to the program director’s wife, a DYS caseworker who I’d been friendly with, after I heard Liz’s story. My message said that her husband should stop bragging and get some new tricks. She responded about how if there was a real issue, I should of filed a complaint when it happened. Maybe she was right, but I was a little distracted by my miscarriage and finding a new job. The emotional abuse that went on for months wasn’t going to be easy to prove, and no one was going to stand against the director. The staff knew who was the power and who they needed to side with. In a small program with only 12-15 staff there at a time, there wasn’t a safe place for me to go.

I was on my own.
Lisa Judkins LMHC, NCG
Former Clinical Director for the Spectrum REACH program in Grafton, MA
Current owner of a successful Guardianship/Conservatorship business


To share your story, email it on one page to info@mahealthyworkplace.com. Include:

Where did you work and what did you do?
How did the bullying begin? What tactics were used?
How did you feel?
How did it escalate?
How did your employer react (or not react)?
What was the impact on you?
What was the impact on the organization?
Why do you want workplace bullying legislation to pass?
What advice do you have for others going through bullying at work?

We have exactly two weeks left in the legislative session to make workplace bullying illegal in Massachusetts

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We’re still waiting for Senator Karen Spilka to take action on much-needed workplace anti-bullying legislation. And there are only two weeks left in the legislative session. Meanwhile, workplace bullying is wreaking havoc on lives and businesses.

Workplace anti-bullying legislation is the furthest it’s gone in the Massachusetts Legislature, and the two-year legislative session ends July 31. We start over again in January if the bill does not pass. The bill, Senate Bill 1013, is now in Senate Ways & Means and needs to get to a floor vote ASAP.

The bill competes for attention with the budget and a role transition, so we need as many people as possible to call again to get attention in Senator Spilka’s office.

How you can help (in order of effectiveness)

Option 1: Meet with Senate Ways & Means Chair Karen Spilka by emailing her scheduler Rachel Lefsky at rachel.lefsky@masenate.gov. (If Rachel doesn’t get back to you, followup at 617-722-1640.) Ask Rachel if you can setup a meeting with Senator Spilka ASAP and let Senator Spilka know why you want workplace anti-bullying legislation to pass. Bring these fact sheets with you to the meeting:
Fact Sheet #1
Fact Sheet #2

Option 2: Even if you’ve called her before, call Senator Karen Spilka ASAP at 617-722-1640 and ask whoever answers the phone to urge Senator Spilka to move Senate Bill 1013 regarding workplace bullying to a floor vote. Phone calls are disruptive, so the more calls we make, the more she’ll take notice.

Option 3: Call your own legislator and ask whoever answers the phone if your legislator can write a letter to Senator Spilka or speak with her about moving the workplace anti-bullying Senate Bill 1013 to a floor vote ASAP.

Option 4: Call all members of Senate Ways & Means and ask those who answer the phone if the legislator can help move the workplace anti-bullying Senate Bill 1013 to a floor vote ASAP.

If you can do two, three, or all options, even better.

And please spread the word. It will help save lives.

Want to spread the word? Forward this email or download the flyer.

Learn about what workplace bullying is »
Like us on Facebook »

PS – Did you see the bill in the news recently? It made:
The front page of the Boston Globe
The LA Times
Truthout

Help make workplace bullying illegal in Massachusetts before the legislative session ends


We’re still waiting for Senator Karen Spilka to take action on much-needed workplace anti-bullying legislation. We need everyone’s voices to make sure what happened to Jae happens to NO ONE ELSE.

Longtime Advocate Gail lost her son Jae, a nurse, on June 7 as a result of workplace bullying at a hospital on Cape Cod that included physical threats, assault, and false accusations. Though the abuse happened a few years ago, it followed Jae. Jae worked in fear of being attacked again. “Jason was an incredible nurse. Despite the time that goes by, the emotional damage remains and continues to wreak havoc,” said Gail.

Workplace anti-bullying legislation is the furthest it’s gone in the Massachusetts Legislature, and the two-year legislative session ends July 31. We start over again in January if the bill does not pass. The bill, Senate Bill 1013, is now in Senate Ways & Means and needs to get to a floor vote ASAP.

How you can help (in order of effectiveness)

Option 1: Meet with Senate Ways & Means Chair Karen Spilka by emailing her scheduler Rachel Lefsky at rachel.lefsky@masenate.gov. (If Rachel doesn’t get back to you, followup at 617-722-1640.) Ask Rachel if you can setup a meeting with Senator Spilka ASAP and let Senator Spilka know why you want workplace anti-bullying legislation to pass. Bring these fact sheets with you to the meeting:
Fact Sheet #1
Fact Sheet #2

Option 2: Even if you’ve called her before, call Senator Karen Spilka ASAP at 617-722-1640 and ask whoever answers the phone to urge Senator Spilka to move Senate Bill 1013 regarding workplace bullying to a floor vote. Phone calls are disruptive, so the more calls we make, the more she’ll take notice.

Option 3: Call your own legislator and ask whoever answers the phone if your legislator can write a letter to Senator Spilka or speak with her about moving the workplace anti-bullying Senate Bill 1013 to a floor vote ASAP.

Option 4: Call all members of Senate Ways & Means and ask those who answer the phone if the legislator can help move the workplace anti-bullying Senate Bill 1013 to a floor vote ASAP.
If you can do two, three, or all options, even better. 

And please spread the word. For Jae.

URGENT: Make this one call to make workplace bullying illegal in Massachusetts to prevent another loss of life

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Longtime Advocate Gail lost her son Jae on June 7 as a result of workplace bullying at a hospital on Cape Cod that included physical threats, assault, and false accusations. Though the abuse happened a few years ago, it followed Jae. Jae recently spoke with Gail about the abuse and how it affected his life. He worked in fear of being attacked again. “Jason was an incredible nurse. Any and all who had him as a nurse spoke with such respect and love about him. Despite the time that goes by, the emotional damage remains and continues to wreak havoc,” said Gail.

We need everyone’s voices to make sure what happened to Jae happens to NO ONE ELSE. Bullied workers are twice as likely to take their lives as non-bullied workers.

Workplace anti-bullying legislation is the furthest it’s gone in the Massachusetts Legislature, and the two-year legislative session ends July 31. We start over again in January if the bill does not pass, so now is the time to act. The bill, Senate Bill 1013, is now in Senate Ways & Means and needs to get to a floor vote ASAP.

Here’s how you can help

Call Senate Ways & Means Chair Karen Spilka ASAP — even if you’ve called her before — at 617-722-1640. Ask whoever answers the phone to urge Senator Spilka to move Senate Bill 1013 regarding workplace bullying to a floor vote.

And spread the word. For Jae.