#metoo has left us wondering: what do we do next to make workplaces safer?
The answer: make abuse at work illegal. While sexual harassment is one way (mostly) women get kept down, there’s a whole host of other behaviors that keep down anyone whose competence threatens a boss or co-worker. Workplace bullying — verbal abuse, sabotage, and other behaviors aimed to humiliate — can become illegal — if we make it happen.
By February 10, all committees must make decision on the bills in their committees. So we have exactly one month to continue to ask these legislators to move the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill favorably out of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development:
- Our state reps to ask in writing Rep. Paul Brodeur
- Our state senators to ask in writing Senator Jason Lewis to do the same.
The last thing we want is for the committee to not move the bill forward because business owners’ voices were louder. Then we have until the summer to move this bill through the Senate and House. (We’ll need your help then, too. More about that later.)
Here’s our game plan:
- Spread the word about the bill and specifically ask people to ask their state legislators to write to Rep. Brodeur or Senator Lewis to move the bill forward.
- Forward this message to family, friends, and colleagues, and share this post on Facebook and Twitter.
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your legislators’ response (even no response). Soon we’ll publicize who’s NOT supported this bill as a way to sway voter opinion and to urge legislators to take action (remember: legislators want to win their next election and want your vote. Post on social media your legislator support or lack of it based on the actions of your legislators on this bill.)
If you haven’t yet reached out to your legislators, please do so before February 10:
- Email your legislators. Use this easy tool to send your letter.
- Call your legislator’s office to make sure they received your email. This step is important. Legislators receive so many emails, and many get buried in their email boxes. Call to make sure they received it and ask them again to ask the legislator that you request he or she write a letter to Rep. Paul Brodeur or Senator Jason Lewis asking for Senate Bill 1013 to move forward.
- Repeat the process for the second legislator.
We thank you for your support. Rep. Brodeur’s staff reported that they get the most calls in support of this bill — thanks to your action.
For more information on workplace anti-bullying legislation, read these recent articles:
To end sexual harassment on the job, end workplace bullying (LA Times, November 16, 2017)
Workplace bullying remains in the shadows (Boston Globe, December 30, 2017)
Workplace bullying affects nearly half of US workers. It’s time we did something about it. (Truthout, January 11, 2018)
The #metoo campaign about sexual harassment is about abuse of power at its root, and sexual harassment is only one tool for those in power at work to abuse it.
Boston Globe Reporter Beth Teitell put the spotlight on the umbrella of workplace bullying and its status in the Massachusetts legislature in her December 30, 2017 article “Workplace bullying remains in the shadows.”
- Boston Magazine: Spencer Buell, email@example.com, and Jamie Ducharme, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Boston.com: Dialynn Dwyer, Dialynn.Dwyer@boston.com @dia_dwyer
- Boston Metro: Kristin Toussaint, email@example.com @kristindakota
- WBUR: firstname.lastname@example.org
- WGBH: email@example.com
- The Atlantic: Sophie Gilbert, firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of you have expressed that you’ve called your legislators before asking for co-sponsorship in January or in the last few months, you’ve called the heads of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, Senator Jason Lewis and Rep. Paul Brodeur. Thank you for your action.
We need you to act again, but in a different way.
The committee heads need to know that your OWN legislators support them moving the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill, Senate Bill 1013, forward. And with only eight months left in the legislative session, they need to know soon that our collective voices are louder than business opposition before time runs out to complete the rest of the steps to turn this bill into law. We need as many voices as possible IN THE NEXT TWO WEEKS to send a clear message to our state legislators that workplace bullying destroys lives — and we want change.
Our legislators’ voices have the most impact on the committee heads. And our voices have the most impact on our own legislators because they want our votes in the next election. Legislative aides told us if we can even get 3-4 advocates to meet with their legislators, sharing their personal workplace bullying stories and urging their legislators to write to Rep. Brodeur asking him to move the bill forward, that might be all we need to move the bill to the next step: the Senate.
So here’s what you can do to help move this bill forward at this stage:
- Call your State Rep and State Senator to setup a meeting to discuss the bill, now Senate Bill 1013, an act relative to workplace bullying and mobbing without regard to protected class. You may be able to meet with them in local office hours. (If they ask you to leave a message with someone to schedule the meeting and you don’t hear back, call again tomorrow. Keep calling back daily until you get an appointment.)
- Draft your story in one page before the meeting (instructions are below).
- Print out your story and these two facts sheets: bill overview and myths about the bill.
- Email your story to your legislator the day before your meeting.
- Meet with your legislator, specifically asking him or her to write to Rep. Brodeur asking him to move the bill favorably out of committee. Ask your legislator to cc you on the email he or she sends to Rep. Brodeur or to forward you a copy afterwards.
How to draft your story:
Stick to the facts and keep it brief. Write up a one-page summary of what happened to you or someone you know:
- In one sentence, open with who you are, where you worked, and what you did for work.
- In one paragraph, paint a picture of your experience using facts (briefly describing how you felt as professionally as possible while still using emotional detail).
- In one paragraph, describe how your employer reacted (or didn’t react). Did they ignore you? Retaliate?
- In one paragraph, describe the toll your experience took on you, especially your physical and financial health. Did you experience anxiety, loss of sleep, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder? How much did you lose in therapy costs, medication costs? Did your experience cost you a marriage, a home loss, high medical expenses, legal expenses?
- In one paragraph, describe how the experience left an impact on the organization. Roughly how many sick days did you need to take? Emphasize that costs are also associated with hiring and training a replacement employee.
- Email your legislators. Use this easy tool to send your letter.
- Call your legislator’s office to make sure they received your email. This step is important. Legislators receive so many emails, and many get buried in their email boxes. Call to make sure they received it and ask them again to ask the legislator that you request he or she write a letter to Rep. Paul Brodeur asking for Senate Bill 1013 to move forward.
- Repeat the process for the second legislator.
We thank you again for your work on making employee rights a priority in Massachusetts. Please forward this message to others who may have experienced workplace bullying or who know your story and can tell it from a witness standpoint in support of the bill.
With only eight months left in the two-year legislative session, we met with State House legislative staff this week. They reported that citizens most frequently call in support of the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill. For that great news, we thank you.
That hard work has prompted increased opposition from retailers and business organizations. So it’s time to make a strong push for making targeted, malicious, health-endangering mistreatment of a worker by a supervisor or co-worker illegal in Massachusetts. The workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill will give severely bullied workers a right to seek damages. No longer will abused workers be left without legal protections if the bill passes.
How you can help
Legislative staff tell us the singlemost effective act we can take to stand up to business opposition is:
Scheduling a meeting with our State Rep and State Senator (they have local office hours), tell them our stories, and (here’s the crucial part) ask them to ask Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development Chair Paul Brodeur to push the Senate Bill 1013 forward. We ask you to make the call to schedule your appointment in the next week. Even three or four advocates taking action on this step will make a huge difference in standing up for what’s right and pushing the bill forward.
(If you cannot meet with your legislators, call them, tell them your story, and ask them to ask Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development Chair Paul Brodeur to push the Senate Bill 1013 forward.)
A template for your personal story
Who you are, where you worked, and what you did (one sentence). Use facts to paint a picture of your experience, briefly describing how you felt as professionally as possible while still using emotional detail.
My employer reacted by:
My experience has impacted me by:
In addition, the experience left an impact on the organization:
With next summer’s legislative session end drawing near (roughly eight months left), it’s time to put pressure on our state legislators to take action on the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill. Here’s what’s left in the process:
- The Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development reads the bill favorably out of committee.
- If approved, the bill moves to the House. State reps examine the bill for legality, constitutionality, and the duplication or contradiction of existing law. The bill then heads back to the House floor for debate and amendments.
- If approved, the bill moves onto the Engrossment Committee at the Third Reading.
- If approved, the Senate considers the bill through three readings and engrossment. If amended, the bill returns to the House for another vote. If the bill is rejected, three members of each branch draft a compromise bill.
- The bill gets enacted by the legislature.
- The bill gets signed by the governor. Ninety days after the governor’s signature, the bill becomes law.
That’s a lot of steps. And the bill’s been sitting with the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development since April.
We need your help
Imagine how state legislators might pay attention to the bill if many of us post on their walls in the window of a few days. Since legislators have been responsive to even one question about the bill on their Facebook walls (we’ve gained the support of nearly 10 of 152 legislators in the last two weeks alone using this method), we ask you to flood Facebook walls:
- Nudge the committee leaders to make this bill a priority. Post on the committee leaders’ Facebook walls, asking them if in light of workplace harassment in the news, they will make a priority to read the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill, Senate Bill 1013, favorably out of committee.
Here are their Facebook accounts (and phone numbers if you’re not on Facebook):
Senator Jason Lewis (D-5th Middlesex) and 617-722-1206
Senator Patricia D. Jehlen (D-2nd Middlesex) and 617-722-1258
Rep. Paul Brodeur (D-Melrose) and 617-722-2013
Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier (D-Pittsfield): 617-722-2240
- Write on the Facebook walls of those state legislators who’ve not yet expressed support of the bill this session. If you feel even more ambitious, post on these state legislators’ Facebook walls, asking them if they support the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill, Senate Bill 1013. Email us at email@example.com with responses (screenshots if possible).
Urge friends, family, and colleagues to do the same so we can get this bill passed this session.
Thanks so much for your help. This bill would not have progressed without you.
This session, these state legislators have not yet expressed official support for the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill (Senate Bill 1013, supported by 90% of the population). If your State Rep and/or Senator is on this list (find them here), call them to see if they support the bill. If they do, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please share.
Rep. Aaron M. Michlewitz (D-North End, Boston)
Rep. Adrian Madaro (D-East Boston, Boston)
Rep. Alan Silvia (D-Fall River)
Rep. Angelo D’Emilia (R-Bridgewater)
Rep. Angelo Scaccia (D-Readville, Hyde Park, Boston)
Rep. Antonio Cabral (D-New Bedford)
Rep. Bradford Hill (R-Ipswich)
Rep. Bradley Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading)
Rep. Brian Murray (D-Milford)
Rep. Bud Williams (D-Springfield)
Rep. Carlos Gonzalez (D-Springfield)
Rep. Carmine Gentile (D-Sudbury)
Rep. Carole Fiola (D-Fall River)
Rep. Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston)
Rep. Christine Barber (D-Somerville)
Rep. Christopher Markey (D-Dartmouth)
Rep. Chynah Tyler (D-Roxbury, Boston)
Rep. Colleen Garry (D-Dracut)
Rep. Cory Atkins (D-Concord)
Rep. Dan Cahill (D-Lynn)
Rep. Dan Cullinane (D-Dorchester, Boston)
Rep. Dan Ryan (D-Charlestown, Boston)
Rep. Daniel Hunt (D-Savin Hill, Dorchester, Boston)
Rep. Dave Rogers (D-Cambridge)
Rep. David DeCoste (R-Norwell)
Rep. David Linsky (D-Natick)
Rep. David Muradian (R-Grafton)
Rep. David Nangle (D-Lowell)
Rep. Denise Garlick (D-Needham)
Rep. Donald Wong (R-Saugus)
Rep. Edward F. Coppinger (D-West Roxbury, Boston)
Rep. Elizabeth Poirier (R-North Attleborough)
Rep. Evandro Carvalho (D-Uphams Corner, Dorchester, Boston)
Rep. F. Jay Barrows (R-Mansfield)
Rep. Frank A. Moran (D-Lawrence)
Rep. Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman)
Rep. Gerry Cassidy (D-Brockton)
Rep. Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury)
Rep. Harold Naughton, Jr. (D-Clinton)
Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis (D-Ashland)
Rep. James Cantwell (D-Marshfield)
Rep. James J. Dwyer (D-Woburn)
Rep. James J. Lyons, Jr. (R-Andover)
Rep. James Kelcourse (R-Amesbury)
Rep. James Miceli (D-Wilmington)
Rep. James Murphy (D-Weymouth)
Rep. Jay Livingstone (D-Back Bay, Boston)
Rep. Jay R. Kaufman (D-Lexington)
Rep. Jeffrey N. Roy (D-Franklin)
Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez (D-Jamaica Plain, Boston)
Rep. Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenburg)
Rep. Jerry Parisella (D-Beverly)
Rep. Joan Meschino (D-Hull)
Rep. Joe McGonagle (D-Everett)
Rep. John H. Rogers (D-Norwood)
Rep. John J. Lawn (D-Watertown)
Rep. Jose Tosado (D-Springfield)
Rep. Joseph D. McKenna (R-Webster)
Rep. Joseph Wagner (D-Chicopee)
Rep. Josh S. Cutler (D-Duxbury)
Rep. Juana Matias (D-Lawrence)
Rep. Kate Campanale (R-Leicester)
Rep. Kate Hogan (D-Stow)
Rep. Kay Khan (D-Newton)
Rep. Keiko Orrall (R-Lakeville)
Rep. Ken Gordon (D-Bedford)
Rep. Kimberly Ferguson (R-Holden)
Rep. Leonard Mirra (R-West Newbury)
Rep. Linda Dean Campbell (D-Methuen)
Rep. Liz Malia (D-Jamaica Plain, Boston)
Rep. Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica)
Rep. Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge)
Rep. Mark Cusack (D-Braintree)
Rep. Mary Keefe (D-Worcester)
Rep. Matt Muratore (R-Plymouth)
Rep. Michael Day (D-Stoneham)
Rep. Michael Finn (D-West Springfield)
Rep. Michael Moran (D-Brighton, Boston)
Rep. Michelle DuBois (D-Brockton)
Rep. Mike Connolly (D-Cambridge)
Rep. Natalie Higgins (D-Leominster)
Rep. Nicholas Boldyga (R-Southwick)
Rep. Nick Collins (D-South Boston, Boston)
Rep. Patricia Haddad (D-Somerset)
Rep. Paul Donato (D-Medford)
Rep. Paul Frost (R-Auburn)
Rep. Paul Heroux (D-Attleboro)
Rep. Paul Mark (D-Peru)
Rep. Paul Schmid (D-Westport)
Rep. Paul Tucker (D-Salem)
Rep. Peter Durant (R-Spencer)
Rep. Peter Kocot (D-Northampton)
Rep. Rady Mom (D-Lowell)
Rep. Randy Hunt (R-Sandwich)
Rep. Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop)
Rep. Robert Koczera (D-New Bedford)
Rep. Ronald Mariano (D-Quincy)
Rep. Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown)
Rep. Sean Garballey (D-Arlington)
Rep. Shaunna O’Connell (R-Taunton)
Rep. Shawn Dooley (R-Norfolk)
Rep. Sheila Harrington (R-Groton)
Rep. Stephan Hay (D-Fitchburg)
Rep. Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington)
Rep. Steve Howitt (R-Seekonk)
Rep. Susan Williams Gifford (R-Wareham)
Rep. Susannah Whipps Lee (Unenrolled-Athol)
Rep. Theodore C. Speliotis (D-Danvers)
Rep. Thomas Calter (D-Kingston)
Rep. Thomas Golden, Jr. (D-Lowell)
Rep. Thomas Petrolati (D-Ludlow)
Rep. Thomas Stanley (D-Waltham)
Rep. Thomas Walsh (D-Peabody)
Rep. Tim Whelan (R-Brewster)
Rep. Todd Smola (R-Palmer)
Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier (D-Pittsfield)
Rep. William C. Galvin (D-Canton)
Rep. William Driscoll Jr. (D-Milton)
Rep. William L. Crocker, Jr. (R-Barnstable)
Rep. William M. Straus (D-Mattapoisett)
Rep. William Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox)
Senator Adam G. Hinds (D-Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin, and Hampden)
Senator Anne Gobi (D-Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire and Middlesex)
Senator Bruce Tarr (R-1st Essex and Middlesex)
Senator Cindy Friedman (D-4th Middlesex)
Senator Cynthia Stone Creem (D-1st Middlesex and Norfolk)
Senator Donald Humason, Jr. (R-2nd Hampden and Hampshire)
Senator Eileen Donoghue (D-1st Middlesex)
Senator Eric Lesser (D-1st Hampden and Hampshire)
Senator Harriette Chandler (D-1st Worcester)
Senator James T. Welch (D-Hampden)
Senator Jason Lewis (D-5th Middlesex)
Senator John Keenan (D-Norfolk and Plymouth)
Senator Joseph A. Boncore (D-1st Suffolk and Middlesex)
Senator Julian Cyr (D-Cape and Islands)
Senator Karen Spilka (D-2nd Middlesex and Norfolk)
Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives (D-1st Essex)
Senator Linda Dorcena Forry (D-1st Suffolk)
Senator Marc Pacheco (D-1st Plymouth and Bristol)
Senator Mark Montigny (D-2nd Bristol and Plymouth)
Senator Michael F. Rush (D-Norfolk and Suffolk)
Senator Michael J. Barrett (D-3rd Middlesex)
Senator Michael Rodrigues (D-1st Bristol and Plymouth)
Senator Patricia D. Jehlen (D-2nd Middlesex)
Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Plymouth and Norfolk)
Senator Richard Ross (R-Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex)
Senator Ryan Fattman (R-Worcester and Norfolk)
Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Middlesex and Suffolk)
Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-2nd Suffolk)
Senator Stanley Rosenberg (D-Hampshire and Franklin and Worcester)
Senator Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth and Barnstable)
Senator Walter Timilty (D-Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth)
The Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development heard our testimony in support of Senate Bill 1013, the Healthy Workplace Bill, on April 4. Now it’s time to urge them to move it forward.
We ask you to call these four committee leaders even if you’ve called them before. Tell the person who answers the phone:
“I’m calling to support Senate Bill 1013, an act addressing workplace bullying, mobbing, and harassment, without regard to protected class. Can you ask the legislator to read Senate Bill 1013 favorably out of committee?”
They will ask your name and address and thank you for calling.
Here are the four committee leaders:
Senator Jason Lewis: 617-722-1206
Senator Pat Jehlen: 617-722-1578
Rep. Paul Brodeur: 617-722-2013
Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier: 617-722-2240
It’s that simple!
Since the two committee heads represent the town of Melrose, and legislators care about their constituents’ views to count on future votes, forward this message onto anyone who lives in Melrose.
Everyone in Massachusetts can call these leaders, too. Every call matters.