What is a Citizen Lobbyist?
Healthy Workplace Campaign Citizen Lobbyists work under the direction, and leadership of, State Coordinators to be amateur lobbyists helping educate elected Representatives, Senators, Assemblymembers, and Members of Provincial Parliaments. Coordinators, at appropriate times, will ask Citizen Lobbyists to make calls, send e-mails, attend meetings and prepare to give testimony at pubic hearings for the bill in your state legislature.
Coordinators are trained leaders. Citizen Lobbyists not willing to join the existing team are not invited to assist. You must be willing to support, and not undermine or sabotage, lobbying efforts by Coordinators that, in most states, span years of established relationships and good will.
Citizen Lobbyists are just normal folks who have been affected by Workplace Bullying, whether though direct experience, or through a friend or loved one. For them, politics is not a job. They are different from paid, professional lobbyists who do this work for a living.
Citizen Lobbyists are involved because the topic of Workplace Bullying influences their lives so profoundly they desire to fix it. They must influence elected officials to do the right thing based on the merits of the argument and the power of their personal, anecdotal story.
What Would I Have To Do?
You will need to be able to...
- Make telephone calls, send e-mails, and write letters to your elected representatives on behalf of the Campaign
- Be willing to tell your experience to legislators and the news media
- Understand the Phenomenon of Workplace Bullying and be willing to speak as a representative for the Campaign
- Understand what the Healthy Workplace Bill represents
- Communicate & collaborate with like-minded advocacy groups
- Take criticism and Rejection. Its all a part of the legislative process, you will be told "No" many times
- Encourage and support others who are involved in the campaign
- Be willing to speak or give presentations to legislative officials
- Effectively argue the bill and be able to counter arguments in a calm and professional manner
- Plan ahead. The position often requires traveling at least twice a year to the state capitol
Volunteer lobbying that requires you travel at least twice a year to the state Capitol and to spend several lunch hours and evenings meeting with politicians or attending events you are asked to attend. Make sure that you can balance work and family with volunteering.
I'm Currently Being Bullied, Can I Join?
Take Care of Your Health First
The workplace bullying phenomenon is characterized by different stages. In the earliest stages, it's all about the flooding of emotions, mostly negative combined with behavioral paralysis -- the deer-in-the-headlights feeling. Shortly after you recognize how you have been targeted, the pain of the experience starts to sink in. Depression, doubt, self-blame, shame, guilt, and a host of disturbing physical symptoms often set in. Much, much later, near the time of resolution, you might get angry for what has happened to you, knowing that you did nothing to invite the misery upon yourself.
Sad to say, but true, you cannot help the cause, lobby for the bill, or testify during the early, acute stages. Your wounds are too raw. It would be more damaging for you to be attacked by opponents of the legislation.
Stay home, heal, get treatment, get stronger.
However, if you are justifiably mad, relatively immune from retaliation, and prepared to testify and lobby in public, sign up to help!
Help in Other Ways
Short of testifying is letter writing, telephoning, and e-mailing. Match the stage of your targethood to the tasks demanded of Citizen Lobbyists. Don't ask more of yourself than is physically or psychologically comfortable. You can always help the Coordinator from your state.
We don't want to discourage you from volunteering, we would just like you to put your health first. If you are interested in helping out, but would like to wait until your health improves feel free to sign up for the WBI Newsletter to follow all the action.
I Work for the Government, Can I Join?
If you are a government worker, you must inquire about the ethicality of lobbying for state legislation. There may be rules prohibiting it or limiting political speech.
Sounds Great! How Can I Join?
Now comes the fine print cautionary warning: To be an effective Citizen Lobbyist for the anti-bullying cause, you must be willing to be led by the national team at the Healthy Workplace Campaign, which created this movement and insists on compliance with its methods. Additionally, we require you to honor copyrighted materials (including the text of the Healthy Workplace Bill) and to stay on message to conform with our long-term campaign strategy for legislative reform.
The good news: If you want to join an elite group of volunteer reformers across the country with the shared experience being bullied, join the movement recognized as one of the seven "hottest 2008 legislative topics" for employers to watch, go to your state page for registration form.
Select your state to get started.