Jul
15
2019
2

New campaign, new mailing lists and a book promotion

Cambodia: Workers at the West Mebun temple.

New campaign – Cambodia. We launched a new campaign in support of workers restoring the West Mebun temple last week at the request of BWI and the Building and Wood Workers Trade Union Federation of Cambodia. Today it has 4,213 supporters and appears in 16 languages (three of those will go live later today or tomorrow).

Sendy: Claims it will save us 99% of what we were spending on MailChimp.

Mailing lists: We have now completed the migration from MailChimp to Sendy, which will result in a very substantial cost saving. We’ve used the opportunity to create new sign-up pages on LabourStart for the mailing list in many languages, with more being added every day. Links to these new pages feature now on a number of our home pages. Though we still recruit most new subscribers from supporters of our campaigns, this will raise awareness of our mailing lists to a wider audience. We had a number of teething problems with our new host, but these now seem to have been overcome.

The result of our campaign: a 400% increase in the number of readers of this fantastic book.

Book promotion: We offered our book about migrant workers — The Strangers Among Us: Tales from a Global Migrant Worker Movement — for free for five days on Kindle. Previously, over the course of two years, we had only managed to sell 162 copies of this book. But our free campaign this month resulted in 662 more downloads — as well as a few sales of the print edition. This was a massive increase in the number of people who are reading the book, which is great. As expected, a handful of our readers complained that we were using the Amazon Kindle platform, so we located a PDF version and shared this with them as a free download. We will do this for one of our other books in September.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Mailing list,Publications |
Jun
28
2019
1

New campaign, new country – same company, same union-busting

In the last three weeks we launched one new campaign, closed one, and did a lot of other stuff. Keep reading …

Poland campaign: We launched a new campaign in support of a union activist facing victimisation for his trade union activity. The campaign is currently in 14 languages (with more on the way), and has 6,159 supporters. It targets the same company (Hutchison) as another current LabourStart campaign in support of port workers in Karachi.

China campaign: We closed the campaign in all languages after three months online and are waiting to hear back from the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions about the results. The total number of supporters of the campaign was 8,557 and it ran in 18 languages. It was our largest current campaign when we closed it.

ITUC Global Rights Index: Having discussed this with an ITUC staffer in Oslo, we proceeded to give the launch of this report extensive publicity this year, doing a special mailing to our list timed to coincide with the official release of the report, and promoting it widely across social media. A Turkish translation was done, and was sent out to our Turkish list as well.

Arthur Svensson Prize: Eric Lee was invited to represent LabourStart in Oslo for the award ceremony. His speech is available to read here. You can also view the whole panel including Eric in this video.

Correspondents: We recruited 30 new correspondents in the first half of 2019. They come from 20 countries: Australia, Canada, Colombia, Greece, Guyana, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Swaziland, the UK, and the USA. Most of them have not yet been active but we will be making a special effort to reach out to all of them.

New mailing list system: We’ve now migrated nearly all the mailing lists from MailChimp to Sendy, with a potential cost saving of over 90%. There have been some hiccups, but on the whole this works well. The biggest lists (especially English) will be the last to be migrated in the next few days.

Static pages: The static pages on the LabourStart website have been built over more than two decades, with many different designs. From this week, they are all getting a unified design using an ultra-light content management system called Pico, which they call “a stupidly simple, blazing fast, flat file CMS.” For an example of what these pages might look like, see here.

Donations: We received generous donations from unions in Canada, Norway and the UK this month, as well as many individual donations.

Written by admin in: Uncategorized |
Jun
07
2019
0

Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines – we focus on Asia this month

Pictured: LabourStart editor Eric Lee with leaders of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress last week in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia: LabourStart editor Eric Lee spent several days in Malaysia, working together with the Ethical Trading Initiative on a new project they have started on migrant labour. We met with leaders of Malaysian unions, including the Malaysian Trades Union Congress, a number of pro-labour NGOs, a social democratic MP, activists from the Malaysian Socialist Party, and representatives of the global union federations BWI and IndustriALL in the country.

Pakistan campaign: At the request of the ITF, we launched a campaign in supported of 8 sacked dock workers in Karachi. After about a week online, it had just over 5,200 supporters and appeared in 13 languages.

Philippines campaign: At the request of BWI, we launched a campaign against the giant transnational company Holcim. After less than a week online, it had over 4,700 supporters and appeared in 14 languages.

Email service provider: Our current provider is MailChimp and it’s quite expensive. We are currently exploring alternatives, and have migrated some of our lists over to Sendy, a much less costly solution, using a hosting service in Belgium that specialises in this.

Telegram: Following the revelations about hacking that targetted WhatsApp — and specifically targetted activists — we set up a public LabourStart channel on the more secure Telegram platform, a closed private group for members of our Executive, and will soon announce a public discussion group using Telegram as well.

Arthur Svensson prize: LabourStart, which won this prestigious Norwegian trade union award in 2016, has been invited back to Oslo for a ceremony in June to honour the current recipient.

Written by ericlee in: Campaigns,Events,Mailing list,Publicity |
May
20
2019
0

The last 80 days on LabourStart

We are very late with updates to this page, so this one will have to cover the last 80 days — sorry!

In future, we hope to do more frequent updates — starting with one in another two weeks.

Mailing lists:
We begin work on trying to a tool called Sendy to cut down on some of our costs, as MailChimp is quite expensive. This transition to a new system will be a slow process and it is something that we tried several years ago. But if we can get it to work, we will save a lot of money.

May Day & International Womens Day:
We had extensive coverage from all over the world and publicised our coverage widely. Thanks to our volunteer correspondents for their great work on this.

New correspondents:
We have new volunteer correspondents in Italy, Kenya, Pakistan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden and the UK. Welcome on board to all of you.

New design:
A new design for LabourStart’s home page is now being readied and will be released soon.

Campaigns – still active:
BRAZIL – We launched a Portuguese language campaign targetting our supporters in Brazil in early April.
CHINA – On 13 March we launched a campaign at the request of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions and today it appears in 18 languages and has 8,497 supporters.

Campaigns – closed:
GUATEMALA – We closed PSI’s Guatemala campaign, which appeared in 16 languages and had 8.128 supporters.
JORDAN – This campaign was closed at the request of the Solidarity Center and ITUC after the government failed to listen to the calls for an improved labour law. It had about 3,500 supporters and appeared in 10 languages.
PHILIPPINES – We closed down the EI’s Philippines campaign after 3 months; the campaign had 8,130 supporters and appeared in 17 languages.
THAILAND – We closed the ITF Thailand campaign after more than 3 months; it appeared in 18 languages and had 7,494 supporters.

Fundraising:
During the final week of April we launched our annual appeal. Details on how much money we raised and how this compares to previous years — in the next update. If you’ve not yet donated and want to help us out, please visit our donations page.

Internationalisation:
We completed the translation of the interface used by our volunteer correspondents into Spanish.
We also made a significant number of improvements in how our women workers page renders in different languages.

Bangladesh:
We shared the IUF urgent action story on social media and as a top global labour news story.

Brazil:
We launched a campaign at the request of the Brazilian unions – see above.

Canada:
We did a few mailings to our Canadian supporters to encourage them to support some campaigns by national unions there.

China:
We made the IUF story about solidarity with Jasic workers a top global labour news story, and shared widely across social media.
We also launched a major campaign – see above.

Cuba:
We shared widely on LabourStart and across social media the story from BWI about the Cuban unions and the international trade union movement.

Europe:
Derek Blackadder participated in the ETUC congress in Vienna.
We shared news about the ETUC march in Brussels as a top global labour news story, as well as across social media.

Greece:
An ETUC news story about Greek Stalinists attacking a union is our top news story and we shared it widely on social media.

India:
We shared a story from the ITUC – #modimustgo – widely on social media and as a top global labour news story.

Iran:
We made a story about the arrests of women in Iran a top story on social media.
We publicised as a top global story and across social media reports of a nationwide teachers’ strike.

Korea:
We promoted the ITUC story on Korea as a top global labour news story, and across social media.

Mali:
We publicised the ITF Mali hunger strike story as a top global news story and across social media.

Myanmar:
We promoted the IUF Myanmar campaign to our list.

Palestine:
We shared the IFJ story about journalists in Gaza widely on social media and as a top global news story.

Philippines:
We promoted the awarding of the Arthur Svensson prize to a Philippines trade unionist as a top story and to our mailing list. Eric Lee has been invited to attend the awards ceremony in Oslo, and to speak on a panel there.

South Africa:
We shared widely on LabourStart and across social media COSATU’s call on workers to vote for the ANC in the recent elections. And also the story about the AMCU being decertified.

Sri Lanka:
We shared the ITF statement on Sri Lanka terrorist attacks across social media and as a top global news story.

USA:
We shared quite a few news stories about the IAM organising campaign at Delta airlines and posted widely on social media. We have also approached the union about helping with a campaign.
We promoted the UE strike in Erie as a top global news story, and across social media.

Written by admin in: Uncategorized |
May
20
2019
3

Our New Twitter Challenge

Hi comrades. Derek Blackadder of LabourStart Canada here.

I manage a number of our Twitter accounts and help out with a couple of others. Recently Twitter has changed some of the limits it places onĀ  ‘churn’ activities which until recently had allowed us to increase the number of followers of our accounts quite substantially and quickly. For example, on most of our accounts following 20 or so other accounts within a few minutes results in that action being no longer available to us for 25 hours. In the past doing this brought us to the attention of a great many Twitter users with an interest in labour news and resulted in us gaining many followers.

If anyone has any other strategies that might replace the ‘churn’ approach I would be grateful if you would contact me with details either here or at Canada@LabourStart.org.

In Solidarity,

Written by derek in: Uncategorized |
Feb
28
2019
0

February: a victory in Korea, a new campaign in Jordan

Bangladesh: We promoted a story about the Bangladesh Accord (IndustriALL) as a top global labour news story, and across social media.

Belgium: The transport workers union got in touch and interview Eric Lee for their online and print magazine.

Iran: We publicised as a top global news story, and across social media, the arrest of Mokhtar Asadi, a teacher in Iranian Kurdistan. We also shared the IUF’s story about Amnesty International and Iran on social media, and as a top global news story.

Jordan: We launched a campaign at the request of the ITUC and Solidarity Center. After less than two weeks online, the campaign appears in 15 languages, and has 5,270 supporters.

Kazakhstan: We closed one of our campaigns after three months online. We are still waiting for a report from the campaign sponsors.

Namibia: We made the mine strike story a top global news story.

Nigeria: We gave extensive publicity to an ITUC news story about Nigeria.

North Korea: We made a story about 150,000 forced labourers into top global labour news story and shared it widely on social media.

South Korea: Victory in our campaign together with the KPTU, who wrote to thank us. We publicised the victory across social media and with a mailing to our English list (the campaign was only translated into a few languages in the few days it was online).

Thailand: We closed one of our campaigns after three months online. We are still waiting for a report from the campaign sponsors.

Ukraine: We shared the story of the Ukrainian miners’ protest underground as a top global news story and across social media.

USA: We posted a story about a big retail strike in New England across social media.

Venezuela: We promoted the PSI statement as a stop global news story and across social media.

Zimbabwe: We posted widely about the detention of the ITUC Africa secretary general and his subsequent release.

Correspondents: We added new correspondents from Italy, the USA, Russia, and Guyana. We also posted on social media an appeal for people to signup to be correspondent (producing no results). We published online the guidelines for correspondents in Italian. We’ve received a translation of the interface for correspondence in Spanish but it needs some more work.

Mailing lists: We posted an appeal to recruit new subscribers across social media. We added 674 new campaign supporters to the lists; there was considerable growth to our Thai list this time.

Women: We wrote to all correspondents about International Women’s Day – as I did last year, using almost the same text.

Feb
03
2019
0

LabourStart in Numbers – 1 November 2018 – 31 January 2019

Highlights:

  • Thanks to GDPR, almost all the mailing lists are shrinking in size. The only ones to grow in the last quarter are Korean, Russian, Hungarian, and Esperanto.
  • On social media, the big news is the spectacular growth of our revived Twitter feed in Spanish – thanks to Derek’s hard work. LabourStart’s Spanish speaking correspondents, translators and supporters are invited to help keep this growth going.
  • Traffic to the main news site was relatively stable, with just under 400,000 visitors this quarter.

In the list below, the first number is the current total, the second one is our previous total.

Mailing lists

The top 10:

English: 79,891 – 80,850
French: 8,531 – 8,610
German: 6,065 – 6,103
Spanish: 5,228 – 5,356
Turkish: 4,243 – 4,260
Korean: 3,791 – 3,740
Italian: 3,663 – 3,719
Russian: 2,725 – 2,450
Norwegian: 2,553 – 2,603
Dutch: 1,638 – 1,669

The others:

Swedish: 1,098 – 1,179
Chinese: 1,037 – 1,043
Arabic: 957 – 957
Portuguese: 849 – 859
Polish: 713 – 798
Finnish: 538 – 562
Japanese: 446 – 446
Indonesian: 395 – 395
Hebrew: 257 – 262
Ukrainian: 247 – 254
Farsi: 218 – 232
Georgian: 217 – 217
Tagalog: 203 – 203
Esperanto: 179 – 177
Hungarian: 178 – 159
Danish: 83 – 86
Czech: 71 – 72
Thai: 64 – 64
Greek: 57 – 57
Romanian: 41 – 41
Hindi: 37 – 37
Vietnamese: 25 – 25
Bulgarian: 18 – 18
Slovakian: 15 – 15
Creole: 12 – 12
Sinhalese: 1 – 1

Facebook

Like LabourStart.org page (English): 12,835 – 12,698
Members of LabourStart group (Global Labour News and Information): 8,629 – 8,899
Like LabourStart page (Turkish): 2,314 – 2,365
Like LabourStart UK page: 2,075 – 2,088
Like LabourStart page (French): 581 – 575
Like LabourStart page (German): 495 – 493
Friends of LabourStart Brasil: 468 – 450
LabourStart TV: 404 – 405
Like LabourStart page (Hebrew): 157 – 157
Members of LabourStart Vostok (Russian): 111 – 126

Twitter

English: 21,374 – 20,878
Canada English: 9,578 – 9,549
USA: 3,584 – 3,586
Australia: 3,075 – 2,863
Canada French: 1,956 – 1,939
Spanish: 1,200 – 70
Italian: 516 – 525
Swedish: 364 – 366
Indonesia: 354 – 353
Portuguese: 321 – 307
French: 235 – 236
German: 123 – 94
Russian: 34 – 31
Japanese: 19 – 19
Dutch: 12 – 12
Arabic: 7 – 7

Linked In

LabourStart group: 2,119 – 2,088

Flickr

Union group on Flickr: 834 – 831

Website traffic to the main news website

Visitors 391,616 – 399,164

Top countries (by sessions):

USA 39% – 38%
UK 13% – 12%
France 5%
India 5% – 6%
Canada 4% – 4%

Correspondents: 905 – 900

Jan
31
2019
0

New year – new campaigns, with 3 launched in the last 2 weeks

Bangladesh: We shared the story about the garment strikers being sacked widely on a social media, and as a top global news story.

Brazil: We shared the BWI/IndustriALL statement on Vale and the dam disaster on social media and as a top global news story.

Canada: We did a mailing to our Canadian supporters in support of the UFCW.

Germany: We shared widely on social media and as a top global news story the Education International story about a joint German/Polish/Israeli teachers’ event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

Guatemala: We launched a new campaign at the request of PSI.

Iran: At the request of Amnesty International, we shared their campaign as a top global labour news story, and across social media. Earlier, we publicised the re-arrest of Iranian trade unionist Esmail Bakhshi at the request of one of our correspondents in New Zealand.

Korea: We launched a new campaign at the request of PSI.

Philippines: At the request of the Education International, we launched a campaign. It is now live in 15 languages.

South Africa: We shared a COSATU general strike story widely on social media.

Sudan: We publicised a story about Sudanese protests – led by the doctors’ union – as a top global news story and across social media.

Thailand: Noting the low participation rates for the Thai language version of the campaign, we wrote to the ITF and they have contacted the local union to ensure broader support.

Tunisia: We shared our coverage of the general strike widely on social media.

UK: We added a new correspondent.

USA: We shared the Labor Notes story about victory in LA teachers’ strike across social media, and as a top global news story.

Labour Photo of the Year: We began discussing the possibility of reviving this competition.

Mailing lists: We added 211 campaign supporters to our lists.

Coding issues: There was a fairly long to-do list here, but we’ve managed to cross a few of the items off the list.
We managed to fix the repeating text in the left column of country news pages in French — this was a particular problem for the Canadian news page.
We also fixed a problem with the display of labour history items in French on the Canada page.
We fixed our news page to ensure that when clicking on a state or province, you are taken to the new page and the correct language (this was previously hard-coded to English).
We fixed it so that all countries that have directories named after them now point to the correct pages, e.g., www.labourstart.org/cuba.
We fixed the display of country names in the centre column on the Spanish page.
We changed the campaign page to offer a radio button with yes/no options for joining the mailing list. Some campaigning organisations, including Britain’s TUC, have found that this increases the number of people who opt-in to mailing lists.
We fixed the problem which would arise when people adding commas to their names when supporting our campaigns; this breaks the syntax for sending emails, and has lead to some bounces recently.

Jan
16
2019
0

Our first campaign of the new year launched

The first two weeks of the new year have seen a surge of activity, including a new campaign in support of railway workers in Thailand.

Australia: We shared the story about the Australian government documents and the MUA dispute as a top global news story and on social media.

Bangladesh: We promoted UNI’s story on the garment workers strike as a top global news story, and across social media.

Finland: We had a meeting in London with one of our most active and veteran Finnish correspondents, and discussed future collaboration.

Hungary: Following up on our campaign in December, we shared the story about the ongoing protests and upcoming strike in Hungary as a top global news story and on social media.

India: We had exemplary coverage of the general strike, which was possibly the largest strike in human history, both as top global news stories and across social media.

Korea: We promoted a story about the dramatic end of a smokestack sit-in as a top global news story and across social media.

New Zealand: We welcomed a new correspondent.

Thailand: We launched a new campaign at the request of the ITF, our first campaign of 2019. After just six days online, it has over 5,000 supporters and appears in 12 languages with more on the way.

UK: We helped a UK charity promote their annual campaigner prize, asking our supporters to suggest candidates. LabourStart won the prize two years ago.

Ukraine: We promoted a story about women mine workers in Ukraine on hunger strike as a top global news story, and across social media.

USA: We shared the story about Tesla’s unwillingness to buy a GM plant in Youngstown because it’s unionised – as a top priority global news story, and across social media. We also promoted the story about the Florida McDonald’s walkout across social media and as a top global news story. And we gave a lot of coverage to the ongoing Los Angeles teachers’ strike, both as top global story and across social media.

Zimbabwe: The ITUC Zimbabwe story is promoted as a top global story, and shared widely on social media.

Executive: The members of LabourStart’s Executive held their first quarterly videoconference following up three months later on the decisions taken in Barcelona. They discussed, among other things, the addition of new members to the Executive and a global conference in 2019. More details coming soon.

Internationalisation: We focussed on Spanish and began moving toward a translation of the interface for adding news, as well as a signup page for new correspondents in that language. We also fixed the problem of showing country news in Spanish for countries with spaces in the names (e.g., Costa Rica). But we need to fix this for other languages too and will do this shortly.

Mailing lists: We imported 192 new subscribers to our lists in the first two weeks of the new year. We raised the question of how to grow mailing lists in the post-GDPR era to the e-campaigning forum and received some helpful ideas, which we will be implementing in our campaigning platform.

Dec
31
2018
0

Final update for 2018: A setback in Hungary ends a year of activism

I thought I’d get off an update before 2018 ends. Here’s what we’ve been up to for the last 12 days:

Cambodia: We publicised the story about 95 NGOs condemning convictions of union leaders in Cambodia, sharing it widely on social media and as a top global news story on LabourStart.

Canada: Our CUPW campaign got a boost, in part due to the Hungary mailing (see below), picking up 653 new supporters in the last week, and becoming our largest active campaign. It currently has 8,412 supporters and we may be able to push this up to 10,000.

China: A new campaign has been suggested to us; we’re waiting to see if a partner can be found.

Global: Today, we shared the IFJ’s news report about 94 journalists being killed this year both as a top global news story on LabourStart, and across social media.

Hungary: We closed our campaign eight days ago, after the President signed the “slave law”. The campaign was only live for five days, got 7,288 supporters, and appeared in 13 languages. The Hungarian unions gave us a text to use to sum up what happened. We followed this with a mass mailing to all our lists reporting on this setback (because we make a point of being honest and transparent, and we share good news and bad). The mailing encouraged people to support our other active campaigns, to follow us on social media, and to donate — two days before Christmas. Because of that, response rates were low.

India: We shared a story about the 30,000 strong farmers’ “long march” as a top global news story, and on social media, as well as making it our photo of the week. We did the same with a story about a hunger strike by Indian teachers.

Philippines: We shared a story about a protest camp story as a top global news story and across social media.

UK: We supported the TUC’s campaign in support of restaurant workers at TGIF with a mass mailing to our UK list.

Zimbabwe: We promoted our Zimbabwe news page with its stories about the hospital strike as a top global story and across social media.

Correspondents & Translators: We wrote an end of year message to all correspondents and translators – especially to encourage inactive correspondents to contribute again, and to encourage inactive translators for specific languages to get involved again. In that message I was able to point out some interesting (to me) numbers:

As of today, our correspondents have posted over 45,000 news stories this year on LabourStart. That’s 124 stories every day, on average.

There were a total of 107 active correspondents this year, posting about 421 stories each, more than one every day.

LabourStart’s news is read by tens of thousands of trade unionists. This year we had 791,732 visitors to the web site. Many trade unionists depend on LabourStart to keep them up to date with what is in happening in the international trade union movement.

Internationalisation: We fixed the home page in French to work like the one in English, which means that Canadian stories no longer dominate the top of the page.

Mailing lists: In an end of year boost, we added 672 new subscribers to our lists – most in English and Russian.

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