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 music on VH1, Oxygen, and Bravo, Musician Cheryl “Shellee Shae” Williams produced, wrote, and sang “Standing Ovation” to speak out against workplace bullying. Now she performs in the music video that tells the story of two workplace bullying targets who receive ridicule from bullies for their strong work ethics.
“I pitched stories of actual workplace bullied targets (some I know and others whose stories I’ve only heard), explaining the end goal of passing workplace legislation, to New York-based production team TOM ON THE WALL. Its founders — Chuy Gutierrez, Christian Ritter, J. Ian Sample, and Jorge Chapa — work with artists, directors, and creators on scripts, web series, commercials, videos, and short- and feature-length films. Their team wrote, directed, and conceptualized the theater vibe after hearing the song,” explains Williams. “They get a standing ovation for their tremendous work and for giving their time to help with such an important fight for change.”
“We’ll bring an end to workplace bullying when we focus on the problem,” says Williams.
A big thank you to Williams and TOM ON THE WALL for their inspiring work.