Phonebanking is a political strategy to collect data and encourage political action. It’s one of the most effective strategies we can take. So we’re taking on 43,000 phone calls to end workplace bullying in Massachusetts. Here’s why it’s important to help make calls:
- You’ll put a human behind the cause. You’re not a robocaller. You’re a live person who cares about a cause, and you’ll make a human connection, even if you leave a message. Your live voice tells the person receiving the call “this cause is important to me, so I hope you’ll take action.”
- You’ll reach out to those most likely to have been bullied at work. We’re calling liberal voters who are most likely to identify as workplace bullying targets, women ages 30-54, and who’ve taken political action by voting.
- People are suffering now. Imagine if you leave a message for someone who doesn’t know what workplace bullying is and feels isolated. Your phone call will take her out of isolation and give her a sense of relief. She’ll be able to start the healing process because you’ll connect her with action she can take and a network of people she can connect with.
- If people say they’ll call. they will. If someone gives you their word they’ll call, there’s a high chance they’ll actually call.
- You’ll help make it easier to make workplace anti-bullying legislation in your state. If the bill passes in Massachusetts, it will be easier to pass it in other states. So helping pass it here by making phone calls will speed up the process for everyone.
Share this message with others so we can get this bill passed. The suffering needs to end.
We have a goal of making 40,000 phone calls by the end of 2017 — with a big goal of passing workplace anti-bullying legislation by the summer of 2018, when this two-year legislative session ends.
The purpose of these calls is to let these people know what workplace bullying is and that we need them to call their state legislators to make it illegal. It’s really that simple.
We’ll call voters in the yellow towns on the above map. The goal: to get those state legislators for those yellow towns to support the workplace anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill to get enough of a backing in the State House to pass the bill. The gray towns are where we currently have co-sponsors, so our goal is to turn those yellow towns gray.
How we came up with this plan
Because we have limited time and people, we want to be strategic. Campaign managers say time and time again that using voter data to reach out face-to-face or on the phone is the most effective way to get people to act.
If we look at demographics, we know that:
- Women ages 30-54 are most likely to get bullied at work.
- Democrats and voters in state elections are most likely to take political action (since they’ve taken political action before by voting).
- Cities and towns where sick leave pay most overwhelmingly passed in 2014 are the most progressive, so their state legislators will be the most likely to push for workplace anti-bullying legislation.
So we obtained voter data of Democratic women ages 30-54 who took action by voting in the last state election in the most progressive towns of the state where we do not already have official legislative support. Those are the yellow towns on the map above, and the number of phone numbers we have is roughly 40,000.
They’re the group most likely to have experienced workplace bullying and most likely to take action.
We need your help
All you need is an email address, and we’ll share a Google doc with you that outlines instructions, names and numbers, and scripts. It’s incredibly easy, and you can make as many calls in your spare time as you’d like before 9pm. (If you’re not in Massachusetts, you can still help. If one state passes the bill, it will be that much easier for other states to pass it.)
No more trainings. No more Google Hangouts. Nothing’s required except a phone, a computer, and your awareness that you can make a difference in helping to pass this bill and make history.
According to grassroots campaign strategists at a recent weekend-long Mass Alliance workshop we attended, using voter data to reach out face-to-face or on the phone is the most effective way to get people to act.
So we researched towns where sick leave passed most overwhelmingly in the 2014 gubernatorial election to identify those towns where constituents would most likely contact their state legislators about workplace anti-bullying law (in yellow above). We’re working on obtaining voter files to target voters in these areas via door-to-door and phone so we can turn those yellow towns gray (where we currently have a state rep and/or state senator as a co-sponsor).
We need as many people as possible to at least make phone calls to urge people to contact their state legislators. If you’d like to sign up to attend a training for phonebanking and going door-to-door in your area, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll touch base when we have a training location setup.
(If you’re willing to investigate the email addresses of school teachers in the yellow towns above [minus Boston], also email email@example.com and claim a town, then email a list of email addresses to the same address in the next month.)
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:
- We’ll get a docket number.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- Write a letter to the editor of your local paper describing why you support the Healthy Workplace Bill. Read an example »
- Reach out to civil rights groups and unions about their possible support.
- Post a link to this slideshow on Facebook to educate others on the Healthy Workplace Bill: http://prezi.com/i1h9lcalopsx/healthy-workplace-bill/
- Share your personal story on our website. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sign the petition »
- Pass around the Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Bill Fact Sheet or send a link to MAhealthyworkplace.com to those who have experienced or witnessed workplace bullying. Download the flyer »
- Join the Facebook group, Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter for updates on the progress of the bill.
- 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 »
- Sign up for the Massachusetts Workplace Bullying Law e-newsletter. E-mail email@example.com.
- Tell friends and co-workers about the bill.
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.