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.
We just finished up a full two-year legislative session to get the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill passed in Massachusetts. Some of you longtime advocates may be disappointed that a third session has gone by with no law passed. No law means more suffering, more stress, and even more suicide contemplation for workplace bullying targets.
But legislative change takes time and persistence. It takes education, awareness building, and passion. No social change happened overnight or even in just a couple years. School bullying legislation even took years to pass until the suicide of student Phoebe Prince catapulted the topic to an urgent level. (We’re looking for those stories.)
Where we’ve come
We’ve built huge momentum both inside and outside the State House:
- Nearly 6,000 citizens to contact at each step in the two-year process
- Almost 1/3 of the entire State Legislature as official bill sponsors in the last session, up from 1/5 of the entire State Legislature in the previous session
Five short months
We have five short months until the next legislative session in January. It’s not a time to take a breather. Just the opposite. It’s time to further build up our masses inside and outside the State House. While we’re working on the logistics of a planning meeting this fall to focus on outside the State House, we need to continue working on inside the State House in these three ways:
- Email tool. Here’s the easy part: all you need is about 10 seconds to email your state rep and senator using this incredibly simple tool. If you do nothing else, that’s a huge help.
- Legislator meetings. What would be even better is to meet with your legislators, or even just one of them, locally or at the State House. All legislators have local office hours and State House office hours. Schedule a meeting, share why you want the bill to pass, and know you’ve made a huge step toward making history. (If you can get a group of former or current colleagues or friends to go, even better.)
- Ripple effect. Share the email tool with colleagues and friends. The only thing simpler than using our email tool to write your legislators is to hit Share on this posting. You never know who the message will resonate with. If a friend shares with another friend, you might even take someone out of isolation or suicide contemplation. A little goes a long way.
Stay tuned for information on our planning meeting. In the meantime, think about how you can help pass this bill.
And thank you for your efforts to help make workplace bullying illegal in Massachusetts. You’re already helping to make a difference in people’s lives when they learn the term “workplace bullying,” put a name to what they’re experiencing, and begin to heal.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.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.
Currently producing “The Bully Culture,” documentarian Jay Fedigan just released “Face to Face with Workplace Bullying,” a compilation of reactions of workplace bullying targets who appear in the “Massachusetts: Face Workplace Bullying” photo exhibit. Through the exhibit, advocates hope to raise public awareness of workplace bullying and its effects on individuals.
Now at Worcester’s Union Station
“Massachusetts: Face Workplace Bullying” first appeared in the Massachusetts State House in April. Advocates now bring the display to Worcester’s Union Station and will run the exhibit through Sunday, July 17.
To display the exhibit at another location, contact Torii Bottomley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Photos courtesy of Robbin Miller.)
Make workplace bullying illegal in Massachusetts
We have a little more than one month to pass anti-workplace bullying legislation in Massachusetts. After July 31, when the two-year legislative session ends, we must reintroduce the anti-workplace bullying Healthy Workplace Bill in Massachusetts in January. We need your help to pass this bill this session before time runs out this session.
Our voices are getting louder and stronger, and it’s more important now than ever to keep the momentum going with only 80 days left in the two-year legislative session.
Anti-workplace bullying advocates aren’t stopping.
- We’ve put a label on it. We’re using the same language – “workplace bullying” – to describe the abuse at work.
- There’s more media coverage. Reporters cover more stories, and targets make more comments, validating others and creating a ripple effect for more targets to feel safe speaking out.
- The Healthy Workplace Bill campaign has brought attention to workplace bullying. The opportunity for targets to speak with their legislators brings even more focus on workplace bullying and its harm to targets and businesses.
Where we’re going
It’s taken only ten years to go from almost zero discussion of workplace bullying to where we are today. We have a lot to celebrate. But we’re not stopping. With 80 days remaining in the legislative session, we’re focusing on two main courses of action:
- Urging Speaker of the House DeLeo and Chairman of the Third Reading Committee Speliotis to make a priority of bringing the Healthy Workplace Bill to a floor vote. Face-to-face meetings work best. But you can also call them or touch base with your own state rep to urge him or her to contact Speaker DeLeo (617-722-2500, Robert.DeLeo@mahouse.gov) and Chairman Speliotis (617-722-2410, Theodore.Speliotis@mahouse.gov). You can also urge others to do the same by flyering commuter rail lots and other locations.
- Continuing to bring the term “workplace bullying” to the public’s attention. We’re increasing our number of bloggers to strengthen our social media voice and holding a protest/performance art display in Harvard Square later this month. We’d love to have you there in this live art display where viewers can symbolically tape the mouths of advocates and chain their hands. You’ll feel validated by meeting other advocates and hearing about their experiences.
While we need your help, remember that you can help in any way you see fit (or in any of the ways we’ve listed on your website). You can choose to not go public with your story or otherwise attach your name to the cause but anonymously post comments on online articles. You might also decide that you’re not ready to help at all, and that’s perfectly ok.
But if you’re ready and able, we need all hands on deck in the next 80 days to pass this bill in Massachusetts. Not a single person trying to pass this bill is getting paid for their efforts, meaning that each and every advocate is working out of their sense of personal responsibility for passing the bill. We’re taking initiative to bring our strengths to a greater cause in this newer, growing public topic. Email us with what skills you can bring to the table.
Let’s make 2016 a year for the history books. We’re in a position to be the first state in the nation to have workplace bullying protections for ALL employees – not just public ones. Let’s make it happen.
This two-year legislative session wraps up on July 31, meaning we have less than THREE MONTHS to get this bill passed. And with some legislators potentially reluctant to make themselves liable for bullying at work, we need as many people as possible to tell them we want protections for workplace bullying NOW.
We need your help
Make copies of this flyer, cut them in half, and put them on cars in commuter rail lots or pass them out at T stations or anywhere you see fit (put then on cars in hospital employee lots, pass them out outside supermarkets, etc.).
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.
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 email@example.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