LET’s build a national movement
to create psychologically safe workplaces together
Thank you for your interest in joining us to make history to end workplace abuse.
We started this campaign to feel heard around our losses and harms and to make sure no one else goes through what we went through.
We are a community of advocates and experts fighting for our own psychological safety in a culture where employers have created toxicity — each of us wanting the best for not only for ourselves but for our loved ones, our colleagues, all workers, and future workers. When we lock arms, the fight becomes bigger than us.
We can win and need each other to win this fight.
It’s time to hold employers accountable for abuse at work. Together we demand better.
Our goal is to work together to experiment with what strategies work best and share best practices and our own areas of expertise as we all fight for psychological safety, worker dignity, and historic change in our workplaces.
Feel free to use the resources in this toolkit as you see fit. You can also request resources or contribute resources at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many thanks for your time, effort, and voice in fighting for workers across the U.S..
Getting started with your state legislative team
To use any template in this toolkit, request access to the document, make a copy to your Google Drive, and edit.
State Bill Director Job Description
The state bill director is responsible for building up and steering the direction of the state team with the ultimate goal of passing the Workplace Psychological Safety Act. We’ll help and support you every step of the way.
Core responsibilities for state bill directors:
- Direct the bill strategy, including identifying a state legislator(s) to introduce the bill (lead sponsor(s)).
- Keep in touch with lead sponsors’ staffers for strategy and understanding of the legislative process.
- Grow a base of volunteers/supporters through marketing tactics.
- Partner with like-minded organizations.
- Organize actions around the strategy.
We highly suggest a tag-team approach with two co-directors when possible.
There will be regular meetings with state bill directors to help us support each other, share ideas, and learn tools.
Optional responsibilities for state bill directors:
- Organize through email with those who are proactive about helping and responsive. It’s a numbers game in finding committed volunteers. Don’t get discouraged when volunteers come and go. Former targets/victims are at different places of recovery.
- Identify where volunteers fit best and assign simple tasks such as reaching out to their state legislators. (We have template forms but encourage them to doctor it up with their own story. It gives them their voice back and empowers them to fight forward.) We recommend starting with tasks (then projects then roles) so volunteers can get their feet wet first and build camaraderie.
- Run monthly Zoom meetings for volunteers/supporters when you have enough committed and active volunteers.
- Recruit new volunteers and maintain volunteer contact information via Action Network and other means.
Email email@example.com if you are unable to fulfill at least half of this role. It may not be a good fit for you.
What it takes to be a state bill director
Guidance for state and city teams
Issues campaigns (from Network Delaware)
Organizing (from Network Delaware)
Why a state approach vs. federal? (starting at 7:49)
The basic goal is to:
- Get a lead sponsor/bill number.
- Build our base (aka get advocates to sign up through Action Network, especially the petition) so we can get as many people as possible to reach out to their state legislators in support of the bill at key points in the process. See How-tos section.
Here’s the process to get started:
- Access your state data. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get added to Action Network, our database where you can email people in your state.
- Look for a lead sponsor(s). Figure out which state legislators you can approach to introduce the Workplace Psychological Safety Act (either one state senator OR one state senator or one state rep/assemblyperson). Try these state legislators first:
Those who’ve either introduced (and even passed) civil rights or workers’ rights legislation before
Those who head up a labor or workforce committee (if there is one)
Progressive Democrats/those who are from a major city and are likely to be liberal and for workers’ rights/women, Black state legislators, Hispanic state legislators, and LGBTQ state legislators who are most likely to have been abused at work and champion the issue
Those who are recommended by a union
State senators (because they have more power)
Visit your state legislature website and see who the lead sponsors were on bills you search by any of these terms: labor, worker, employee, civil rights, discrimination, wage. Look at the summaries of the bills and see who’s already interested in related issues.
Workers’ rights bills passed in states (as ideas for state legislators to approach)
- Approach state legislators in your order of preference. You could start with a letter, then email, then call — or whatever works for you. Followup multiple times.
- Secure at least one lead sponsor (state senator OR state senator and state rep/assemblyperson). This process may take weeks or months.
- Once you have a lead sponsor, reach out to lead sponsors’ staffers to learn the legislative process, recommended strategy, key committees, and key people to reach out to in your state.
- Continue to build your base until you have a bill number:
- Look at proposed and passed workers’ rights bills in your state to figure out who has the power to either pass a workers’ rights bill or who has the interest to recommend who to approach. A progressive organization in your state may already have this info, and if you also find out who backs these bills, you can develop partnerships with those organizations for lobby days and letter campaigns.
- Compile a list of potential supporters and reach out to them. Find allies in industries where bullying is happening: health care, education, nonprofits, government employees, essential workers (grocery stores, etc.). Connect with people scheduling worker strikes. Link up with Jobs with Justice, Raise Up, Commissions on the Status of Women, League of Women Voters, AFL-CIOs, State Labor Councils, Amazonians United, NAMI, APA, NASW, career coaching associations, unions, university professors who focus on labor and/or sociology, other workers’ rights groups, and progressive groups (you can copy the Potential Partner Ideas list under Research Resources and modify it for your state) and tag them in social media posts (Twitter is especially useful for this approach).
- Contact employment lawyers in your state through NELA and NELP and labor professors to run the bill language by them and/or ask them to testify with you. Filter them through those who focus on discrimination and send them the Lawyer Letter under Research Resources. It will be key to get legal experts and labor professors on board to testify in support of the bill at hearings.
- Contact therapists, psychologists, mental health counselors, law professors who specialize in employment law, discrimination, or civil rights, and labor professors (MA – MIT School of Work, NJ – Rutgers ILR School, AZ State – Social Justice Program, MI – Michigan State ILR School) to see if they will contact their state legislators and testify at hearings.
- Contact workers at specific locations with issues on coworker.org.
- Contact your Attorney General’s office for a list of labor law violations by organizations. Find the bigger offenders by pulling the data into Excel and running a count on each company then ranking them. Flyer outside those companies.
- Google “dignity at work task force” plus the name of your state to see who else might be interested in this issue who you can reach out to.
- Reach out to freelance writers about the bill and talk about the issue when it relates to news stories or major themes in the news.
- Create a list of state government employee and teacher email addresses in your state and email them in chunks of 500 (2,000 max per day). While it is spam, it lets people who may be suffering find support and relief.
- Share data about how your state ranks from the Center for Employment Equity.
- Type the name of your state into the search bar on the Labor Notes website. Labor Notes is an organization that educates on what labor movement action is happening. Look through the articles that come up and reach out to groups starting up unions, holding strikes, and taking other forms of action.
- Read 198 methods of nonviolent action. Escalate tactics.
Use the flyers at the bottom of the Take Action page.
Legislator letter template
Legislator and staff email template when there’s a docket or bill number
Rights on Trial flyer
Comparison chart with discrimination law and other laws
Differences from similar bills
Endorsement letter template
Expert suggestions letter template
City Councilor letter template
How to lobby:
Lobbying means influencing legislators and their staffers to help move legislation. You can track your state’s bill using your state legislature website.
Tips from bill directors:
- Since our bill is non-partisan, contact both Democrats and Republicans. Since workers’ rights are progressive issues, start with Democrats to build momentum.
- Look for labor committee chairpeople, leaders, and/or legislators who introduced bills on bullying or workers’ rights. Contact those legislators for lead sponsorship and co-sponsorship.
- When you visit the state legislators in the State House, prepare in advance a list of whom you will visit. Prepare an elevator speech, business cards, and handouts.
- Go to political AND non-political events and pass out handouts. Network, network, network.
- Contact officials at federal and city levels also.
How to testify:
Potential team roles (recommendations only):
Start with tasks, then projects, then work up to roles in case volunteers do not follow through.
Compiles list of organization contacts in your state and reaches out to them about formally endorsing the bill.
Task 1: Copy the Massachusetts list under Resources > Research > Potential partner ideas of this toolkit.
Task 2: Fill in info for your own state.
Task 3: Reach out to those organizations using the template in this section. Modify as you wish, including your own bill numbers and action.
Researches who’s backing other workers’ rights bills in your state, reaches out to a handful of related, priority organizations to promote each other’s bills, and builds relationships with these contacts.
Task 1: Watch a video about how to power map plus notes.
Task 2: Email a list of contacts at organizations backing other workers’ rights bills in your state (you might reach out to a progressive organization in your state to find out what some of these organizations and contacts are).
Task 3: Setup a time to talk with them about working together (virtual summit, joint lobby days, any other ideas).
Lobby Day director
Plans Lobby Days at the State House. Tracks who’s supported the bill and who hasn’t and organizes volunteers and promotional materials for the events (recommend to run 3x/year).
Task 1: Create a list of all state legislators using your state legislature website.
Task 2: Delete current lead sponsors and co-sponsors.
Task 3: Organize them by floor.
Task 4: Create a direction list and copy it for each floor.
Task 5: Copy flyers for each floor.
Task 6: Schedule a Lobby Day.
Task 7: Recruit volunteers for it.
Task 8: Pick a meeting place at the State House to welcome people and educate them on what to say and how you’ll split up. Explain that they’ll mostly leave info for legislators or explain the bill to staffers.
Keep track of bullying news stories in your state using a Google News alert. Reach out to targets from stories to get involved and pitch reporters.
Task 1: Setup a Google News alert for “workplace bullying” and your state or “workplace abuse” and your state (under the Apps section of your gmail account).
Task 2: Watch a video about earned media.
Task 3: Brainstorm media hooks.
Task 4: Identify reporters to pitch based on other articles they’ve written (jump on new articles that come out in the Google alert).
Task 5: Write a pitch to a reporter (here’s a template).
Regional team directors
Mobilize people by region. Reach out to local organizations to present about the bill and get their endorsement.
Task 1: Pick a date and time.
Task 2: Pick a local restaurant or bar or coffee shop.
Task 3: Let us know so we can get the word out: email@example.com.
Task 4: Meet other targets in your area.
Task 5: Identify organizations in your area that cover labor or civil rights issues.
Task 6: Email them, modifying a template letter we have asking if you can speak at a Zoom meeting.
Task 7: Use this flyer to talk about the basic talking points of the bill at a meeting.
Creative direct action director
Develop creative public ways to pressure the Speaker of the House and build our base (street theater, sign-holding in costumes, etc.).
Task 1: Watch a video about creative direction action.
Task 2: Create and organize an event, inviting people from Action Network.
State team format pros and cons:
Faster than unproductive meetings
Slower than team of go-getters
Team – individual conversations
Faster than unproductive meetings and working solo
Lack of team cohesion
Team – meetings
Fast if team of go-getters adhering to guidelines
Unproductive meetings (potential lack of continuity, personal agendas)
Behavior problems that push away the people who want to do the work (ideas-only, ego, disrespect/re-trauma)
Solo -> Team (individual conversation) -> Team (meetings)
Public records requests:
Make public records requests in your state for data on unemployment, workers’ comp, and discrimination for legislators and reporters and/or public university email addresses to email about your survey or the bill.
Sample state survey to present data to reporters
How to email state employees for your state survey (from previous work)
Find email formulas using a free account with Hunter.io
Sample state survey email text