As the 2009/10 session of the Massachusetts legislature heads down the home stretch, it appears unlikely that the Healthy Workplace Bill (Senate No. 699, Sen. Joan Menard, sponsor) will be moving out of committee and to a floor vote.
That said, this already has been a forward-looking session for advocates of workplace bullying legislation in the Bay State. We have attracted a legislative leader in Senator Menard as our bill sponsor, assembled an expanding group of supporters, and testified in support of the bill before the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development.
Building on progress elsewhere
Our efforts in Massachusetts continue against the backdrop of growing national support for legal protections against workplace bullying. Variations of the Healthy Workplace Bill have been introduced in nearly 20 states. This year, we succeeded in moving the bill through successful floor votes in the state senates of New York and Illinois, and at this writing it is possible that the New York bill will be passed by the Assembly and move to the governor’s desk for his signature. Breakthroughs are in sight.
Legislative advocacy is not for the impatient. New ideas take time to percolate. Rare is the bill of any significance that is enacted the first time it is introduced. I am no cheerleader when it comes to the realities of politics and advocacy, but I say without reservation that we should feel good about the progress we have made so far concerning the Healthy Workplace Bill in Massachusetts.
If you are interested in becoming involved, please sign up at the Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Advocates website and/or join our Facebook page. We’ll continue to plan our strategy over the summer and organize in earnest in the fall.
SEIU/NAGE Local 282 president Greg Sorozan and communications specialist Deb Falzoi, co-coordinators of Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Advocates, deserve special thanks for moving us forward during this legislative session. Greg has marshalled support from his union on behalf of the bill, and Deb has developed much of our Internet presence and social networking outreach. We are fortunate to have their talents and dedication on our side.