We have a hearing date to make workplace bullying illegal in Massachusetts

State House

We have a hearing date. The Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development will hear our testimony in support of Senate Bill 1013 (the Healthy Workplace Bill) next Tuesday, April 4, at 1pm in Room A2 of the Massachusetts State House.
You are invited to attend and even testify to show support. 

We hope to fill the room with advocates to show support for the Healthy Workplace Bill.

At the hearing, legislators listen to testimony about several bills. Last session, legislators waited until the end of the hours-long hearing to listen to testimony from our advocates. We encourage you to speak at the end on behalf of the bill.

Dos and don’ts of speaking at the hearing

DO speak about your experience. Speak from the heart about how workplace bullying affected you, especially how it harmed your health and affected your personal relationships. Remember that legislators want to hear from you.

DO keep your testimony to under two minutes. By the end of the hours-long hearing, legislators may be tired. The last thing we want to do is turn them off, so stick to the facts and to your own experience and keep it brief. It’s difficult to summarize months or years of bullying into two minutes, but it’s important to do so.

DO stick to our talking points. Refresh yourself on the main points we want to get across:

  1. Accountability, not just training, is what will change behavior.
  2. There will be a high threshold for recovery.
  3. The bill is based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s definition of a hostile work environment for sexual harassment.
  4. The bill enters the picture only when the bullying behaviors have become severe and harmful.
  5. Employers can minimize their liability exposure by acting preventively and responsively toward bullying.
  6. The bill focuses on addressing the bullying behavior, not killing jobs.
  7. Many workplace bullying targets already lose jobs, choosing their health over daily suffering.

DO visit your state rep and senator that day. Before or after the hearing, stop by your legislators’ offices and ask them to support the Healthy Workplace Bill. That’s one State Rep and one State Senator. Try to make an appointment with them beforehand. If you can only speak with an aide, do that. Aides will pass along information to legislators. The State House is hard to navigate, so write down the State House room numbers before that day, bring them with you, and don’t be afraid to ask someone how to get to those offices. Bring a copy of each of these fact sheets (two of each, one for each legislator) to leave with your legislators:
Fact sheet
Myths sheet

DO email these fact sheets to your legislators if you can’t make it that day. Your legislators want to hear from you.

DON’T mention bully’s names or workplaces — unless asked. The goal is to pass the law, not to out a boss or workplace.

DON’T feel like you have to testify to show support. If you’re not ready to speak under two minutes about your experience, don’t feel obligated to speak. You may not be ready, and that’s ok. Showing your support by attending is much appreciated whether or not you speak.

Remember that perseverance is key. Most bills take years to pass, and we’ve come a long way with just 20 advocates six years ago to now more than 5,000. Help become part of history by showing your support and helping to fill the room on Tuesday, April 4.

We have a new bill number to end workplace bullying

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We have a new bill number: Senate Bill 1013. We’ve updated all of our marketing materials, and you can now pass out flyers with the new bill number on them to spread the word about the anti-workplace bullying Healthy Workplace Bill:

Download the flyer.
Continue to write your legislators about the bill, now Senate Bill 1013.

Spread the word!

Help make an anti-bullying walk happen to build awareness

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Advocate Shakeena Appleberry will bring attention to bullying. She’s spearheading Boston’s First Annual Bullying Walk & Roll-A-Thon, to be held in Boston on June 3.

Shakeena seeks volunteers to help with such areas as:

  • Concessions
  • Course helpers
  • Entertainment
  • Photography
  • Publicity
  • Registration
  • T-shirts

If you can lend a hand, sign up to volunteer. It will be a great event to bring focus to bullying.

Help end workplace bullying

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Many in Boston don’t have cars to get out to the suburbs. And many in the suburbs take more than an hour to get into meetings in Boston. So we’ve decided to make meetings accessible to all advocates and host one online.

On Monday, March 13 at 7pm, we’ll gather on Facebook to talk about what we’re each doing to spread the word about workplace bullying and what connections we can make to one up our efforts. You can join from your laptop or your smartphone.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Join us to share what you’re doing or to just listen.
  2. Friend request Deb Falzoi (if you haven’t already) to join a closed Facebook group.
  3. We’ll automatically call you on Monday, March 13 at 7pm so long as you said you’re going in the Facebook event. (If you miss the call, you’ll be able to call back during the meeting time.)
  4. That’s it!

We need you in this all-volunteer group. Bring your skills to the group to help pass this much-needed legislation.

How advocates are progressing the anti-workplace bullying movement — and what we’re working on next

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Last night, we met at the Boston Public Market to talk about strategy to pass the anti-workplace bullying Healthy Workplace Bill and to share what each of us are contributing to build awareness about what workplace bullying is. We talked about how school bullying legislation took years to pass and only became urgent after a school bullying suicide, so we’re investigating workplace bullying suicides. We talked about also researching homicides from workplace bullying.

Here’s what advocates are up to:

  • An advocate has attended rallies and other events like Town Hall events and took photos to share on social media.
  • An advocate wrote, produced, and sang a song about workplace bullying. She’s working on a play and video, too.
  • An advocate will take information about the bill back to his union.
  • An advocate presents about workplace bullying at career centers and adult education centers around Boston and will share his booklet so others can do the same in other parts of the Commonwealth if they’re interested.

As two advocates drive two hours to attend the meeting, we talked about having meetings across the Commonwealth on a monthly basis. So we’re looking for:

  • An advocate in each area (Boston (on the MBTA), North Shore, South Shore/Cape Cod, Southcoast, Central Massachusetts, and Western Massachusetts) to conduct monthly meetings and find a free location for these meetings.
  • Go around the room to ask people what they’ve either been working on or can commit to working on. Support and encourage them. Our experience has been that most ideas in brainstorming sessions don’t get acted upon, so the value in these meetings is helping those who are taking action, offering connections/building on actions, and inspiring those who may be there to listen to take action.
  • Take notes and share actions with us so we can spread the word and make statewide connections.

If you’d like to lead a monthly meeting in one of these six Massachusetts regions, email us at info@mahealthyworkplace.com with dates, times, and locations, and we’ll create Facebook events to get the word out.

Thanks in advance for your help in spreading the word.

How much support for workplace bullying we gained in the State House

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Today, we heard that the Healthy Workplace Bill gained the support of 46 sponsors:

Lead sponsor Senator Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominster)
Senator Michael Brady (D-Brockton)
Senator William N. Brownsberger (D-Boston)
Senator Kenneth Donnelly (D-Woburn)
Senator James Eldridge (D-Acton)
Senator Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover)
Senator Joan B. Lovely (D-Peabody)
Senator Thomas McGee (D-Lynn)
Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Shrewsbury)
Rep. James Arciero (D-Chelmsford)
Rep. Brian Ashe (D-Longmeadow)
Rep. Bruce Ayers (D-Quincy)
Rep. Ruth Balser (D-Newton)
Rep. Paul Brodeur (D-Melrose)
Rep. Tackey Chan (D-Quincy)
Rep. Brendan P. Crighton (D-Lynn)
Rep. Claire D. Cronin (D-Brockton)
Rep. Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen)
Rep. Daniel Donahue (D-Worcester)
Rep. Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead)
Rep. Dylan Fernandes (D-Barnstable)
Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester)
Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose (D-Amherst)
Rep. Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough)
Rep. Jonathan Hecht (D-Watertown)
Rep. Russell E. Holmes (D-Boston)
Rep. Kevin Honan (D-Brighton)
Rep. Donald F. Humason, Jr. (R-Westfield)
Rep. Louis Kafka (D-Stoughton)
Rep. Kevin J. Kuros (R-Uxbridge)
Rep. John Mahoney (D-Worcester)
Rep. Paul McMurtry (D-Dedham)
Rep. James O’Day (D-West Boylston)
Rep. Alice Hanlon Peisch (D-Wellesley)
Rep. Denise Provost (D-Somerville)
Rep. Angelo Puppolo, Jr. (D-Springfield)
Rep. Byron Rushing (D-Boston)
Rep. John Scibak (D-South Hadley)
Rep. Frank Smizik (D-Brookline)
Rep. Steven Ultrino (D-Malden)
Rep. Aaron Vega (D-Holyoke)
Rep. John C. Velis (D-Westfield)
Rep. David Vieira (R-East Falmouth)
Rep. RoseLee Vincent (D-Chelsea)
Rep. Chris Walsh (D-Framingham)
Rep. Jonathan D. Zlotnik (D-Gardner)

What’s interesting about this list is if we combined past sponsors who are still in the State House, we’d have 72 sponsors. So it’s 12 less than the previous session but roughly 14 more than supporters in the State Legislature.

This list simply shows we have relatively the same amount of support as last session. What truly counts is the vote.

Stay tuned for next steps.

The number of legislative sponsors backing anti-workplace bullying legislation in Massachusetts so far

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Your calls are continuing to work! We’re up to 19 sponsors, and we still have three full days left to gain support in the State House:

Senator Michael Brady (D-Brockton)
Senator Kenneth Donnelly (D-Woburn)
Senator Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover)
Senator Thomas McGee (D-Lynn)
Rep. Brian Ashe (D-Longmeadow)
Rep. Bruce Ayers (D-Quincy)
Rep. Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen)
Rep. Daniel Donahue (D-Worcester)
Rep. Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead)
Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester)
Rep. Jonathan Hecht (D-Watertown)
Rep. Louis Kafka (D-Stoughton)
Rep. James O’Day (D-West Boylston)
Rep. Denise Provost (D-Somerville)
Rep. Angelo Puppolo, Jr. (D-Springfield)
Rep. John Scibak (D-South Hadley)
Rep. Frank Smizik (D-Brookline)
Rep. Aaron Vega (D-Holyoke)

Rep. RoseLee Vincent (D-Chelsea)

Last session, we had 58 sponsors. So keep those calls and emails coming, asking your Massachusetts state legislators to sign onto Senate Docket 768 (lead sponsor: Senator Jennifer Flanagan). We want to reach 70 co-sponsors by Friday, February 3.

Email past supporters by this Friday

Email these past sponsors to thank them for their past support and to ask them to sign onto Senate Docket 768 (lead sponsor Senator Jennifer Flanagan):
Sonia.Chang-Diaz@masenate.gov, Sal.DiDomenico@masenate.gov, James.Eldridge@masenate.gov, Jason.Lewis@masenate.gov, Ruth.Balser@mahouse.gov, Christine.Barber@mahouse.gov, Paul.Brodeur@mahouse.gov, Gailanne.Cariddi@mahouse.gov, brendan.crighton@mahouse.gov, Angelo.D’Emilia@mahouse.gov, Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov, Tricia.Farley-Bouvier@mahouse.gov, Sean.Garballey@mahouse.gov, Denise.Garlick@mahouse.gov, Carlos.Gonzalez@mahouse.gov, Ken.Gordon@mahouse.gov, Patricia.Haddad@mahouse.gov, Mary.Keefe@mahouse.gov, Kay.Khan@mahouse.gov, Peter.Kocot@mahouse.gov, Stephen.Kulik@mahouse.gov, Kevin.Kuros@mahouse.gov, John.Mahoney@mahouse.gov, Paul.Mark@mahouse.gov, Mathew.Muratore@mahouse.gov, Harold.Naughton@mahouse.gov, Alice.Peisch@mahouse.gov, Dave.Rogers@mahouse.gov, Byron.Rushing@mahouse.gov, Alan.Silvia@mahouse.gov, Todd.Smola@mahouse.gov, David.Vieira@mahouse.gov, Chris.Walsh@mahouse.gov, Danielle.Gregoire@mahouse.gov, Russell.Holmes@mahouse.gov, Kevin.Honan@mahouse.gov, John.Lawn@mahouse.gov, Paul.McMurtry@mahouse.gov, Theodore.Speliotis@mahouse.gov, Nick.Collins@mahouse.gov

Call your legislators by this Friday

Call. Text your zip code to (520) 200-2223. Within a few minutes, you’ll get a text back with your legislators’ phone numbers. Call the two bottom numbers and ask the person who answers to request that the Rep or Senator co-sponsor Senate Docket 768, lead sponsor Senator Jennifer Flanagan. It’s that simple!

Email. If you absolutely can’t call because you can’t get away from work during business hours or if you want to back up your phone call, email both of your legislators. We’ve made that process simple, too: Visit our easy tool to find your legislators and a form letter or write your own. The message will come from your email box.

If you don’t see both a Rep and a Senator in your text or you get a return email saying your message couldn’t go through, go to the Massachusetts Legislature website, find your State Rep’s and State Senator’s email addresses, and email them the old-fashioned way.

These state legislators haven’t co-sponsored in the past but have expressed interest in doing so. Give these legislators an extra phone call if you’re in their district:

Boston:
Rep. Edward Coppinger (D-Boston), 617-722-2304
Rep. Russell Holmes (D-Boston), 617-722-2220
Dorchester:
Rep. Daniel Hunt (D-Dorchester), 617-722-2263
Malden:
Rep. Steven Ultrino (D-Malden), 617-722-2460
Methuen:
Rep. Linda Campbell (D-Methuen), 617-722-2430
New Bedford:
Senator Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford), 617-722-1440
Provincetown:
Rep. Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown), 617-722-2040
Quincy:
Senator John Keenan (D-Quincy), 617-722-1494
West Roxbury:
Senator Michael Rush (D-West Roxbury), 617-722-1348
West Springfield:
Senator James Welch (D-West Springfield), 617-722-1660
Wrentham:

Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham), 617-722-1555

We have until Friday, February 3 to make urge our legislators to end workplace bullying, but the sooner you call or email, the more legislators we can ultimately reach.