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.
Now that the hearing in front of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development is over, we’re getting ready for next steps. Normally at this stage of the process, we’d be just past the third of eight steps, and next we’d land in the House. But this session, we’re hoping to jump to the Senate before the House to build support to end workplace bullying.
Here’s where you come in. Some of you live close enough to Boston and can make it to the State House in the morning without a problem. If you’re one of those people and have morning availability, we’re looking to you to help. Senators have both formal and informal sessions. We’re asking you to:
- Look at the Senate Session schedule and choose either type of session.
- Stand outside the Senate chamber around an hour or less before a session you choose and hand out these flyers to educate State Senators on workplace bullying and to put a face to the cause as they’re walking into the chamber. You don’t have to ask which ones are Senators. You can hand flyers out to aides or simply interested people. There are 40 State Senators, so bring around that many flyer copies or more for maximum impact.
You could hand out flyers every Senate Session, just once, or somewhere in between. Any time you’re willing to give will be a huge help in telling legislators that ending workplace bullying is still a priority and that there are actual, real people behind this cause looking to end the abuse.
It’s up to each of us in this all-volunteer group to do what we can to further this cause to end the suffering, so we thank you in advance if you decide to make the trek and reach out to legislators. If you do, we ask you to send us photos at firstname.lastname@example.org to help inspire others to take action.
In the meantime, feel free to write members of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development to thank them for listening to our testimony and urge them to read Senate Bill 1013 favorably out of committee:
Jason.Lewis@masenate.gov, Patricia.Jehlen@masenate.gov, Sal.DiDomenico@masenate.gov, John.Keenan@masenate.gov, Patrick.OConnor@masenate.gov, Paul.Brodeur@mahouse.gov, Tricia.Farley-Bouvier@mahouse.gov, John.Rogers@mahouse.gov, Liz.Malia@mahouse.gov, Aaron.Vega@mahouse.gov, Christine.Barber@mahouse.gov, Steven.Ultrino@mahouse.gov, Gerard.Cassidy@mahouse.gov, Juana.Matias@mahouse.gov, email@example.com, Keiko.Orrall@mahouse.gov
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:
- Accountability, not just training, is what will change behavior.
- There will be a high threshold for recovery.
- The bill is based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s definition of a hostile work environment for sexual harassment.
- The bill enters the picture only when the bullying behaviors have become severe and harmful.
- Employers can minimize their liability exposure by acting preventively and responsively toward bullying.
- The bill focuses on addressing the bullying behavior, not killing jobs.
- 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:
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 8,000. Help become part of history by showing your support and helping to fill the room today.
It’s day 5 of a 10-day window to obtain co-sponsors for the anti-workplace bullying Healthy Workplace Bill. Here’s who’s co-sponsored the bill so far:
Senator Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover)
Senator Thomas McGee (D-Lynn)
Rep. Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen)
Rep. Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead)
Rep. Louis Kafka (D-Stoughton)
Rep. Angelo Puppolo, Jr. (D-Springfield)
Rep. John Scibak (D-South Hadley)
Rep. Frank Smizik (D-Brookline)
Rep. RoseLee Vincent (D-Chelsea)
That’s nine sponsors. Last session, we had 58. So keep those calls and emails coming. We want to reach 70 co-sponsors by Friday, February 3.
What you can do
- Thank last session’s co-sponsors and ask them to sign on again. Email this list (we already removed current co-sponsors, retired legislators, and those who weren’t re-elected):
Sonia.Chang-Diaz@masenate.gov, Sal.DiDomenico@masenate.gov, James.Eldridge@masenate.gov, Jason.Lewis@masenate.gov, Brian.Ashe@mahouse.gov, Bruce.Ayers@mahouse.gov, Ruth.Balser@mahouse.gov, Christine.Barber@mahouse.gov, Paul.Brodeur@mahouse.gov, Gailanne.Cariddi@mahouse.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, Angelo.D’Emilia@mahouse.gov, Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov, Tricia.Farley-Bouvier@mahouse.gov, Ann-Margaret.Ferrante@mahouse.gov, Sean.Garballey@mahouse.gov, Denise.Garlick@mahouse.gov, Carlos.Gonzalez@mahouse.gov, Ken.Gordon@mahouse.gov, Patricia.Haddad@mahouse.gov, Jonathan.Hecht@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, Denise.Provost@mahouse.gov, Dave.Rogers@mahouse.gov, Byron.Rushing@mahouse.gov, Alan.Silvia@mahouse.gov, Todd.Smola@mahouse.gov, Aaron.Vega@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, James.O’Day@mahouse.gov, Theodore.Speliotis@mahouse.gov, Nick.Collins@mahouse.gov
- Call your State Rep AND State Senator. Calling is much more effective than emailing. Legislators can’t ignore phone calls but can ignore emails in their inboxes. We’ll make it incredibly easy:
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. It’s that simple!
We’re in close contact with Senator Jennifer Flanagan’s office to find out who’s signed on and who we need to nudge, so the sooner you can make these calls, the more co-sponsors we can sign on to end workplace bullying in Massachusetts. Email this post onto your contacts so we can flood our legislators with phone calls.
- Email your State Rep AND State Senator. 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:
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.
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.
Here’s where we’re at so far with co-sponsors to the anti-workplace bullying Healthy Workplace Bill, now in its pre-bill stage as Senate Docket 768:
Rep. Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen)
Rep. Angelo Puppolo, Jr. (D-Springfield)
Rep. John Scibak (D-South Hadley)
Rep. Frank Smizik (D-Brookline)
Rep. RoseLee Vincent (D-Chelsea)
Our goal: to surpass 58 co-sponsors
What this information means
With eight days left in the window to gather co-sponsors and only two days into the window, this list simply means if your State Rep has co-sponsored already, you don’t have to nudge them anymore (though still nudge your State Senator next week if your State Rep is already on the list and you’ve already called both).
Most co-sponsors won’t have signed on yet, but we encourage you to call them again next week if you’ve already called them this week.
The great news
Compared to last session, we have signs of major progress:
We’re encouraging calls more than emails, and we have an easy tool to make calls. Calls are more effective than emails, since emails tend to just sit in an inbox, but calls are live voices forcing someone to stop what they’re doing and see a more obvious pattern. Though we have easy tools for both phone (see below) and email, we’ve made calling simpler and easier to understand. (We had a glitch with email earlier this week, so if you tried it before and ran into problems, try it again — it’s fixed now. Ideally, calling AND emailing is the way to go. But email if you’re not able to call.)
Many more likes and shares. Off the heels of thousands of people marching, people are now looking for what they can do to change this bully culture. They want to stop abuse of power. In addition to the work we’ve done to build our masses since the last session, our social media graphics are simply getting much more traction — and we still have eight days left in the window to get co-sponsors. Last session, our most popular graphic had 127 likes and 74 shares on Facebook. So far on this post alone, we’ve trounced those numbers: we’ve had 407 likes and 194 shares. Click on the graphic below to share and like to get others to spread the word.
Keep spreading the word
We’ll post more graphics on social media. Share them again in case other people missed them last time. In the meantime, we’ll continue to update you with the list of co-sponsors so you can call your state legislators again in the final days to get them to sign on to support this bill.
Thank you for calling and emailing. Every call and email is the equivalent of 15 constituents to them. So know you’re making a difference in the lives of employees across Massachusetts by advocating for them.
In January and throughout the two-year legislative process, we’ll look to reach you to let you know when it’s go-time to contact your legislators. And in some cases, we’ll only need to let some of you know because we’ll need to urge just your rep or senator. Or you might miss our Facebook posts and miss out on a crucial timeframe for emailing or calling your legislators.
So we ask you to sign up for our email legislative alert system. That way you won’t have to be on the lookout on Facebook to know when it’s time to contact your legislators. The message will show up in your inbox.
And we need as many contacts as possible so we can contact our legislators at key times and get this bill passed this session. So share this message.
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.
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.