Tagged: advocating

How we made waves this legislative session and what our next steps are

Advocate Torii Bottomley speaks with another advocate at the “Massachusetts: Face Workplace Bullying” display at the State House.

Legislation usually takes multiple sessions to pass. As the 2015-16 legislative session closes, let’s take some time to reflect on how we progressed the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill this session:

  • Third Reading. The bill made it to a Third Reading in the House – a major accomplishment given the thousands of bills introduced each session. The Third Reading is a major milestone in the process. Once the bill reaches a favorable vote in the House Third Reading in future sessions, we have a great shot at getting the bill passed.
  • Legislative sponsors. We gained a record 58 sponsors this session, up from 39 in the previous session and 13 in the prior session thanks to your calls, emails, and visits to legislators.
  • Advocacy. The State House debut of Torii Bottomley’s “Massachusetts: Face Workplace Bullying” jumpstarted a flurry of activity. Advocates protested in Ashburton Place, Harvard Square, and Davis Square. They also flyered several commuter lots, including at Worcester’s Union Station, the second display of “Massachusetts: Face Workplace Bullying.”
  • Supporters. We’re up to 20 official organizational supporters, including the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the National Association of Government Employees, whose lobbyists push the bill in the State House.
  • Media. While “workplace bullying” gets more and more attention in such outlets as Alternet and Fast Company, WGBH reporter Craig LeMoult covered the Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Bill and the “Massachusetts: Face Workplace Bullying” display this spring.
  • Opposition. “The Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) — a powerful corporate lobbying presence — and a small group of ultra-conservative state legislators opposed the HWB. You know you’re making progress when the opposition comes out of hiding,” said professor and bill author David Yamada last session. An AIM executive weighed in on the bill in WGBH’s piece this session.

What’s next?
So how do we make the next session better than this one to get this bill passed?

  • Share suicide stories. School bullying didn’t become legislated in Massachusetts until tragedy struck. If you’re aware of a suicide due to workplace bullying in Massachusetts, email us at info@mahealthyworkplace.com. We’ll check in with families of targets, and with their approval, let legislators know their stories and how urgent the need is for legislation.
  • Get a group of people to visit the State House to speak with legislators. Get your co-workers or former colleagues to visit legislators to ask them to support the Healthy Workplace Bill.
  • Make advocacy happen. Have an idea for advocacy? A skill? An audience? An event? A contact? Rather than question why we haven’t done an idea, realize your own power. Make it happen. We’re all volunteers using the skills we have to further the cause and make change. We need your skills and time to further change. Email us at info@mahealthyworkplace.com with how you can help.

“So many social movements leading to legal reforms — the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the LGBT movement, to name a few — have been fueled by people who have experienced injustice and abuse,” said Yamada. If you’re ready, speak out about your workplace bullying experience to heal and help prevent others from experiencing workplace bullying if enough people stand up and legislators pass the bill. If enough of us say ENOUGH, we’ll make history and move the needle on workplace cultures just like sexual harassment law did.


Advocates protest in Harvard Square with targets, scars, and bruises on them.

Extended until Friday, April 22: Anti-workplace bullying exhibit at the Massachusetts State House


Those who visit the State House 4th floor will see the faces of fourteen workplace bullying targets and their powerful stories in “Massachusetts: Face Workplace Bullying,” now running through Friday, April 22.

Research shows bully bosses target the most successful employees out of envy for their skills and ethics. This abuse comes at a proven cost to every state’s economy.

Advocate and exhibit manager Torii Bottomley

Bring your State Rep to the exhibit
If you view the exhibit at the State House, call beforehand to set up an appointment to meet with your State Rep or his or her aide to ask him or her to help make the Healthy Workplace Bill (H 1771), a priority. Bring him or her to view the exhibit. Ask your Rep for help with contacting Chairman of Bills & Third Reading Theodore Speliotis to ask him to release House Bill 1771 for Third Reading.

Going on tour to spread the word about workplace bullying
Torii is booking locations across Massachusetts for the art display. Email Torii at toriiannbottomley@gmail.com if you know of a contact at any of these locations recommended on by our advocates or another suitable location:

  • Boston City Hall
  • Boston Public Library
  • A college anywhere in the state
  • MA DOT Outside Advertising Agency


3 major events where you can make a difference this summer and fall


For the first time in the history of the Healthy Workplace Bill in Massachusetts, we’ve been given a favorable reading out of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development with ample time (until June 2016) to get the bill through the next steps and passed into law. While one year gives us sufficient time, we by no means want to waste this opportunity to get the word out so we can get more people to contact their legislators and pass the bill into law.

Change starts with you
We’ll make history if we can get as many people as possible hitting the streets to get the word out. Here are three events we’ll flyer at (exact meetup locations to be announced):

12 ways to promote the Healthy Workplace Bill

1. Contact your state senator and/or representative and urge him/her to support Senate Bill Number 916 or House Bill Number 2310. Ask if they are willing to support the bill and if you can schedule a meeting with your senator or rep to explain your personal story. Report the response to info@mahealthyworkplace.comSince legislators want to hear directly from their constituents, the single most effective action you can take is to meet with your own legislators, tell them your story if you have one, and ask them to support the bill.
Find out who your legislators are »
Download the letter template »

2. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper describing why you support the Healthy Workplace Bill. Read an example »
If you need assistance and would like us to proofread your article, e-mail info@mahealthyworkplace.com.

3. Join a committee:
Public Awareness »
Health Care »
Higher Education »
K-12 Education »
Support Staff »

4. If you are a member of a group that might consider endorsing the Healthy Workplace Bill, reach out to the group about its possible support or if you’re a leader of a group that supports the bill, e-mail info@mahealthyworkplace.com.

5. Post a link to this slideshow on Facebook to educate others on the Healthy Workplace Bill: http://prezi.com/i1h9lcalopsx/healthy-workplace-bill/

6. Share your personal story on this website. E-mail info@mahealthyworkplace.com.

7. Sign the petition »

8. Pass around the Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Bill Fact Sheet or send this link to those who have experienced or witnessed workplace bullying.
Download Version #1 »
Download Version #2 »

9. Join the Facebook groupFacebook page, or follow us on Twitter for updates on the progress of this bill.

10. Write to employment lawyers, social workers, and psychologists about the Healthy Workplace Bill. Ask them to tell their clients about the bill. Download the letter template »

11. Sign up for the Massachusetts Workplace Bullying Law e-newsletter »

12. Share these photos on Facebook:
What is workplace bullying?
Work shouldn’t hurt
Organizations allow bullies to bully
How workplace bullies impact businesses
Top seven reasons to support the Healthy Workplace Bill
Bullying is domestic violence at work
Four times more common

Revving up for 2013

Though we need to wait until January for a new bill number, we’re going to be the most proactive in building awareness over the next few months that we’ve ever been. We need your help. We’re looking for volunteers interested in speaking in front of groups from civil rights organizations we select to both build awareness and sign on the organization as an official sponsor of the bill. If you’re interested in educating others about the bill in this manner, as part of our street team, come to our training on Thursday, September 13 at 7pm at Suffolk Law in downtown Boston (exact location to be announced). For those coming from western and central MA, we will be able to Skype. RSVP is required by emailing info@mahealthyworkplace.com.

If you have a contact or recommendation for any of these groups or areas, let us know. We’ll reach out to them this fall. E-mail info@mahealthyworkplace.com:

Disability groups:
Disability Law Center of Massachusetts

Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace (affiliated with UMASS Lowell)
Massachusetts Association of School Committees (Glenn Koocher)

Employment groups:
Massachusetts Jobs with Justice

General civil rights groups:
City of Quincy Human Rights Commission

GLBTQ groups:
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) (Lee Swislow)
Join the Impact Massachusetts
Massachusetts Trans Political Coalition
Rainbow Law

Legal groups:
Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association (MASSNELA)
Women’s Bar Association

Mental health groups:
Dorchester House
Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center (Elizabeth K. Englander and Theresa Enos – Bridgewater State)
Massachusetts Association for Mental Health
Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention (Diana & Paul Lewis – East Longmeadow)
Massachusetts Mental Health Counselors Association
Massachusetts Psychological Association
Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services of The Berkshires (Peggy Morse)
National Association of Social Workers
Riverside Trauma Center (Larry Berkowitz – Needham)

Nurses groups:
Massachusetts Nurses Association

Women’s groups:
Boston Women’s Health Book Collective (BWHBC)

Civil rights groups
Colleges and universities
Employment lawyers
GLBTQ groups
K-12 schools
Law schools
Legal groups
Mental health groups
Nurses organizations
Small business associations

Current Strategy

On May 30, we moved from a second reading to a third reading in the House. We now have two months — until July 31 — to complete the rest of the steps to turn the bill into law during this legislative session. What does having two months left mean for advocates? And why haven’t we had a strong push recently for contacting legislators?

Lobbyists push the Healthy Workplace Bill at the State House daily. They have strong insight into the politics that play a role into turning the bill into law. They’ll let us know the most effective strategy — a rally or push with calls and meetings with legislators, for example — and the best timing for that strategy in the next two months.

While we’re waiting for the best timing to act at the State House, we can act now to increase awareness in Massachusetts. In the next two months, we’ll continue to increase our contact lists to prepare to rally our volunteers. You can:

While bills generally take multiple two-year legislative sessions to become law, we’re hopeful that 2012 is the year that we’ll have a law in Massachusetts. We know that many bills become law at the end of the session. But we also know that we need to do everything we can now to turn the bill into law.