The NWBC was founded in 2010 by a small group of individuals with diverse experience and expertise who joined forces to lobby for change in New Jersey.
2010–2014: The Beginning
The NWBC was founded in 2010 by a small group of individuals with diverse experience and expertise who joined forces to lobby for change in New Jersey. As more information was needed, this effort quickly grew into what is now known as the NWBC, and our focus evolved to address dignity in all states.
Under the leadership of President Beverly Peterson, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and associate professor at Montclair State University’s School of Communication & Media (NJ) and Vice President Sue Yang, the first Asian-American appointed to the NJ Workers Compensation Court, we built support for workplace anti-bullying legislation, brought attention to the problem of workplace bullying, and helped create a number of resolutions and proclamations supporting the prevention, detection, and elimination of workplace bullying.
These resolutions and proclamations included resolutions from the NJ Senate and Assembly Joint Legislative Resolution, National Association of Women Judges, and National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts and the City of Newark. During this time, the coalition also submitted a list of proposed amendments to the NJ Healthy Workplace Bill and forged a working relationship with NJ Senator Greenstein.
2014: The First National Conference
By 2014, the NWBC was well established and decided to hold the first NWBC conference bringing together experts and advocates to discuss and address workplace bullying. The 2014 Conference was sponsored by numerous organizations including:
American Bar Foundation; Assoc. of Black Women Lawyers of NJ
Asian Pacific American Lawyers Assoc. of NJ
Council of NJ State College Locals, AFT AFL-CIO
CWA Local 1036
Diversity Committee of the NJ State Bar Assoc.
Harrisburg Central Labor
The Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York
Montclair State University, Federation of Teacher-AFT Local 1904
Montclair State University, Presidents’ Commission on Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity & Diversity
NJ Asian American Law Enforcement Officers
NJ Coalition for Bullying Awareness and Prevention
Rotary International District 7510 representing 42 Rotary Clubs in NJ - Capital District
Rutgers School of Law – Newark
South Asian Bar Assoc.
Working Families United for New Jersey
The conference included a keynote address from US Representative Mike Honda (California) and presentations from NJ Senator Linda Greenstein, expert and consultant Catherine Mattice Zundel, panels of labor experts, union leaders, and leaders, and leading jurists in the area of workers rights.
That same year, the NWBC began a Bullying Awareness pledge campaign urging President Obama to take steps to address workplace bullying. This “Take a Pledge” Campaign garnered 28,000 signatures.
2015: Expanding A National Presence
In 2015, the NWBC organized and hosted their second conference at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, the #Dignity15 Conference. Keynote speakers included TN Rep. Antonio Parkinson and CA Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez. Researchers, advocates, and other experts from across the country presented and discussed paths to prevent, detect, and eliminate workplace bullying.
In 2015, the NWBC was also honored as the charity of choice for Ms. Camay’s Black-Tie Fashion Gala. Together with Ms. Camay International, LLC and NewShine.org, the NWBC raised awareness about workplace bullying and demonstrated the coalition’s relentless dedication to the adoption of multiple approaches that both deter workplace bullying and provide a remedy to targeted individuals.
Board Member Jerry Carbo was invited to serve on the EEOC Select Task Force for the Study of Workplace Harassment. This Task Force brought 17 experts from across the country together to help interview witnesses, experts, and activists to assist the EEOC Commissioners in gathering the needed evidence to develop a plan to help to eliminate unlawful harassment from the American workplace.
2016: Policies and Outreach
Under the leadership of the second President of the NWBC, Catherine Mattice Zundel, the coalition continued to build a national presence. In 2016, the coalition focused its attention on working with the State of Tennessee’s task force as they created a template anti-bullying policy as required by state law. The template includes much verbiage and several components suggested by the NWBC.
In California, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez worked toward passing AB2053, which would require that the already mandatory harassment prevention training include information about abusive conduct (i.e., workplace bullying). To help Gonzalez address the Assembly’s concern that this additional piece in the training would place undue burden on training vendors, and therefore undue burden and cost on employers, the NWBC was asked to provide sample training presentation slides. NWBC helped Gonzalez show the additional information would not place burden on training vendors or employers, and AB2053 passed.
The coalition also formed a working relationship with the Badass Teachers Association. This relationship led to the development of two grant proposals, conference presentations, several Twitter blitzes, and a series of webinars and blogs to help teachers to deal with and to push for policies to eliminate bullying in K12.
2017-18: The Third National Conference and First Book
In 2017, the Coalition hosted a virtual conference that reached out across the country to bring together some of the most prominent national voices addressing workplace bullying and abuse. Keynote speakers included The New York Times Bestseller and Stanford University Professor Bob Sutton and Chairperson of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Jenny Yang. Several authors, professors, and experts delivered presentations.
The coalition followed up this conference with the publication of its first book: Stand up/Speak Out Against Workplace Bullying. This anthology is a collection of 23 real-life stories of finding success in the face of workplace bullying. The stories are in the words of 23 brave survivors of workplace bullying and were compiled to change the conversation around workplace bullying. There is much information online about the damage workplace bullying causes, and many targets of bullying painting a bleak picture of defeat for any other targets seeking advice.
Through this book, we sought to prove there is an alternative end result: power and strength. This project also turned into a research project, and the Board members are in the process of finalizing a paper to submit to a peer reviewed journal. We also presented these stories at the International Association for Workplace Bullying & Harassment, the premier conference for academic research on these topics.
During 2017, the coalition worked with retired teacher John Cznadel in drafting and amending workplace bullying legislation in Virginia. This legislation was passed in 2018 and addresses workplace bullying in K-12.
In 2018, President Mattice Zundel and Board Member Carbo worked together to present a number of webinars to assist employers in addressing and eliminating workplace bullying.
2019-20: A Team-Based Approach
In 2019, the NWBC continued partnering with organizations with the shared mission of the coalition and selected its third President, Dr. Jerry Carbo, Professor of Labor Relations and Business and Society at Shippensburg University. The coalition also formed a partnership with End Workplace Abuse and formalized the relationship with the Badass Teachers Association. The NWBC expanded its board from three to eight members. The board continues to expand to include experts on workplace bullying and abuse.
From 2019-2020, the coalition has worked on expanding its national outreach through several teams: collective bargaining and concerted activity, legislative advocacy, education and outreach, marketing and fundraising, and research. These teams work both collectively and autonomously to look at all avenues and paths to address workplace bullying including strong laws with strong enforcement, collective bargaining and concerted activity, research, employer policies, training, and coping and survival mechanisms for targets. These teams have developed toolkits for grassroots advocates who are interested in addressing workplace bullying through legislation and/or concerted activity. These teams also developed a revamped Dignity at Work Act model bill for legislative advocates, established a social media presence in all 50 states, revitalized the coalition's overall social media presence, and continued to reach out to and work with state, local, and national leaders in the fight for worker rights and dignity. The coalition assists bill directors in dozens of states, works with unions and rank and file caucuses, and continues efforts to educate workers and employees about the perils of workplace bullying, harassment, and abuse.