Tagged: State House

Another successful hearing to push anti-workplace bullying legislation in Massachusetts

On Tuesday, I joined with other supporters of the Healthy Workplace Bill (HWB) to testify on its behalf at a hearing before the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development of the Massachusetts legislature, held at the State House in Boston. Getting a favorable decision out of the Committee is the first critical step toward […]

via MA State House hearing for Healthy Workplace Bill — Minding the Workplace

Today is hearing day at the State House to make workplace bullying illegal

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Today’s the day! The Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development will hear our testimony in support of Senate Bill 1013 (the Healthy Workplace Bill) at 1pm in Room A2 of the Massachusetts State House. Keep in mind that the legislators may not get to our bill until late in the afternoon, even as late as 4 or 5pm.
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 8,000. Help become part of history by showing your support and helping to fill the room today.

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.

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 latest on co-sponsors to end workplace bullying, with one week left to get them

Young businesswoman putting adhesive notes on glass wall in office

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

  1. 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, brendan.crighton@mahouse.gov, 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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:

    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.

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.

Where we’re at in getting co-sponsors to end workplace bullying

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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.

What to expect by the end of January for ending workplace bullying in Massachusetts

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It’s the beginning of the two-year legislative session, so within the next two weeks, we’ll introduce the anti-workplace bullying Healthy Workplace Bill in the State House again. Every session, we start from the beginning of the process but with more backing in the State House each session. Here’s how the process works:

  1. We’ll get a docket number.
  2. We’ll have a week to flood our state legislators (reps and senators) with requests to contact the lead sponsors to sign onto that docket number. Data shows that calling your legislators versus emailing them is the most effective way to get them to sign onto the bill since emails often just sit in an inbox. Once we have a docket number, we’ll send out information that will make it incredibly easy for you to do both. Look out for it on or around Monday, January 23rd.
  3. We’ll update you during the week of January 23-27 with who’s on board and who needs a nudge so you can ask colleagues, friends, and family to join in. We’ll try to beat our numbers last session, when we got 58 sponsors on board. That’s nearly one third of the entire State Legislature, growing from 39 sponsors the previous session and 13 the one before that.
  4. We’ll have a brand-new bill number to promote the bill with.

What to remember about this legislative session

If you’re exhausted by how long it’s taking to pass this bill, we get it. But don’t be. It’s a typical timeframe to pass a bill at the state level, and we’ve just about reached that point when bills gain enough momentum to pass. It’s how school bullying legislation passed, and it can happen with workplace bullying legislation, too. But there’s more:

We’re taking advantage of the national political climate to get in front of political activists who can help us build momentum even faster. There are more political rallies going on now than in my lifetime. And they’re full of people who want to create change —and know they have the power to do it. Help us reach out to them by sign holding at a major Boston event in the next week so we can get as many people as possible to contact their legislators to sponsor the bill.

We’re fine-tuning strategy in the State House. We’re getting a new House lead sponsor to replace our champion, retired Rep. Ellen Story. And we’re figuring out the best path for the bill to go through to pass this session.

We have the ears of the media. We’re working on some major media breakthroughs involving the workplace bullying connection with suicide that we hope will put some urgency behind this bill. This story has the potential to be huge. We’ll keep you looped in.
It’s a long process, but we’re not backing down.

No one deserves to go through what we went through. Help us be the voice for those who are suffering and still healing.