The last 10 days: campaigns open and close, Euro-training, a unionized online book shop, and more

Training:
I’m currently in Hattingen, Germany, helping to teach an ETUI course to 22 European trade unionists on online campaigning.  Five of the 25 people in the room attended our conference in Berlin last year.

Campaigns:
We launched a new campaign today in support of forestry workers in Malaysia, at the request of BWI.
The China campaign is growing slowly; it was at 10,000 ten days ago and is today at just 10,184.
Unions in Turkey, Italy and Mauritius have asked for our support for campaigns as well.
The ITF’s Kenya campaign has now been closed; we have not heard back from them about the results.
The Portuguese interface for campaigns has been improved.
We’re live with one campaign in Sinhalese now.

Books & other publications:
I’m probably going to resume marketing books for trade unionists through Powells.com — we still have a partner deal with them and they’re still the unionized alternative to Amazon.

Social networks:
We have an inexpensive ad campaign going now on Facebook again as we race to reach 10,000 likes. We’re up to 9,643 likes today, up 244 this week.

China campaign has broken the 10,000 barrier and more news from the 2nd week in June

Campaigns:
The China campaign now tops 10,000 messages sent and is our largest active campaign.
A followup mailing was sent to the English list, and this generated 1,600 new supporters from the 5,500 people who opened this message (but didn’t open the first one we sent).  We should consider doing this for our other large language lists.
The Hindi version of this campaign went live this week.
I discussed the possibility of a LabourStart campaign in support of jailed journalists in Turkey with a former president of the National Union of Journalists (UK) — we’d want to do this as a campaign together with the European or International Federation of Journalists.

Internationalization:
We’re still working to get the Portuguese interface working properly for adding news — nearly there. We also now have a transation of the welcome message for new correspondents. Euan has made contact with all our translators and correspondents in Brazil.
We now seem to have a working interface in Sinhalese for our campaigns and have just received the first translation of a campaign — I hope to go live with this very soon.

Books & other publications:
Derek and I have begun looking into printers for the 2016 calendar. Once we know we can do this, and afford this, we’ll begin the work on a photo competition.
With the agreement of my co-author, Jeremy Green, we’ll make our book Firefox OS for Activists, free on the Kindle.  And maybe other books later as well.

Office:
I’m exploring the possibility of re-opening a LabourStart office in London; we’ve had an offer of (free) space. More details next week.

Mailing lists:
This week, I added 558 new subscribers to 16 mailing lists – 401 of them in English.

London Labour Film Festival:
Once again, we’ll be involved in supporting this and promoting it to our supporters in the UK. The festival will take place in the fall.

Donations:
We received a generous donation from the PSEU, a union in Ireland.
I’ve written individually to half a dozen unions in the USA that we have worked with asking for donations.

China campaign launched, and much more

Campaigns:

We launched the China campaign at the request of the HKCTU early last week. It’s now been translated into 16 languages and has nearly 8,500 supporters, making it our second most popular campaign at the moment.

With the agreement of the ITF, we closed the Jimena Lopez campaign today.

Brazil:

We’ve begun efforts to grow LabourStart in Brazil, and are being helped by Euan Gibb who works for one of the unions there. Euan’s translated our news interface into Portuguese, as well as our China campaign and mailing. We had a long and detailed discussion about next steps.

Other languages:

We’re having problems with the Sinhalese interface for campaigns but hope to have this sorted in the next few days. We’re gotten the German interface for adding news working properly again, having converted it to Unicode.

London Hackathon:

This is taking place on Friday; I’ve prepared a “shopping list” of tech things we need done but I haven’t had the time or skill to do.

Fundraising:

I’ve sent appeals to a number of US unions we have worked with in the recent past. Two Canadian unions made donations.

Palestine:

At the request of the editor, I submitted an article to International Union Rights on the investigation conducted by the Israeli Police into the campaign we did in support of Palestinian garage workers. I conducted an email interview with Assaf Adiv of WAC Maan to do this.

2016 conference, new China campaign, and much more – a busy week

Global Solidarity Conference 2016:

We have a date and a venue, which I hope to announce in the next day or two.

Campaigns:

The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions has given us a campaign which will go live in the next day or two.
We’ve been in touch with a group that works to support Iranian political prisoners.
I did a followup mailing to build support for our current Iran campaign after it turned out that two of the prisoners have been released on bail.
Our campaigns interface has now been translated into Sinhala, a language spoken by about 16 million people.
We helped BWI with their FIFA/Qatar Thunderclap, boosting it substantially.
The link to show more campaigns on the Swedish campaign page was broken; I have now fixed it.
Our Berlin group now has access to add campaigns directly to our database.

News:

I have begun fixing the redirect when you key in the URLs for languages like this: http://www.labourstart.org/no — they now go to the ‘news’ directory rather than the ‘2013’ directory, part of a long-term project to migrate everything over.
Small changes made to the Norwegian home page, at Espen’s request.
We’ve had a problem with the German interface to add news; I’ll be helping Gisela to sort this out.
We have a new search engine which I’ll deploy next week; it was set up in response to a request from a Canadian academic doing research on lockouts and works better than our current one.

London Hackathon:

On 12 June we’ve been invited to participate in this event, mentioned earlier (see my post from 14 May). I’ve done a short ‘shopping list’ of some of the many tech things we need help on. If any of you have any suggestions or things to add to that list, please let me know.

Books & Publications:

I’ll resume work on the 2016 Global Labour Calendar next week after a few months of inactivity.
20 copies of Dan Gallin’s Solidarity have been ordered for sale at Northern College in the UK this summer.
I’ll prepare a detailed report on sales in recent months in an upcoming report.

Donations:

We’ve had another donation from a Norwegian union, and PSI has pledged £3,090.
I’ve begun contacting US unions one by one to get their support for the next year.
Our donations page is now translated in Spanish, and we did a mailing to our Spanish list (but with very poor results).

Newswires:

The British TUC has asked us to look into making our newswires secure (using SSL) so we’ve ordered this from our ISP. This will allow the newswire to appear again on some popular TUC sites, such as unionreps.org.uk.

Mailing lists:

We picked up 123 new subscribers this week, and 928 last week.

A quiet 10 days

As I was travelling for the last week, it’s been a relatively quiet couple of weeks for LabourStart so far.

At the request of the British Trades Union Congress (TUC), I’ve done a mailing today to our English list only promoting their Qatar campaign.

Our mailing lists continue to grow.  Today I added 928 new supporters — 729 of them to our English list, and 199 to the other lists.  Our Hungarian list grew by 50% thanks to our campaign.

We’ve had an offer to begin translating our campaigns and news page into Sinhalese (for Sri Lanka) and will be working on this.

We did a mailing to our Canadian list promoting various Canada-only campaigns.

Our campaigns server was done for a few hours, but our provider, a workers coop in Sheffield, was on the case quickly and got us up and running.

In the next few days I’ve got an extensive to-do list (including answering dozens of emails that came in while I was away), and will update you in a week or so with much more news.

Another week supporting workers in Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, etc.

Campaigns:

  • We’ve done most of the mass mailings for the two campaigns launched last week, and gotten them translated into 11 languages, and the results so far are 5,079 supporters for the Iran campaign and 5,037 for the Hungary campaign. A reminder mailing to more than 70,000 on the English list went out yesterday.
  • After 4 months online, we closed the Holcim Lafarge campaign, which had 8,580 supporters — IndustriALL says: “Clearly the campaign made its impact and was noted by the management of Lafarge and Holcim. Thanks to workers’ mobilisations both on site and through LabourStart we hope there will be more readiness on the side of the management to our demands now.”
  • A possible Indonesia campaign was to go live today, but is on hold for now.
  • I’ve posted information on movements.org both about our existing Iran campaign and offering help — so far, no takers.

Online campaigning course: Just 4 days left to register — for European trade unionists only: http://www.labourstart.org/go/etui

Activating correspondents: The number of active correspondents increase by 63% following my mailing to all correspondents. In addition, we’ve picked up a few new correspondents.

Facebook Group: Our group continues to expand with many new participants (8,436 members today) and quite a high level of activity. There’s been a problem of spammers, but our team of volunteer admins is on the case.

London Hackathon: There’s an event taking place on 12 June at the Mozilla Foundation offices in London at which people with programming skills will work on pro-labour tools — and we’ll be there and are part of the planning.  I met with the organizer this week.  On the event website they write: “The aim is to provide a forum where people can meet, share ideas and start building some apps that will help workers to organise.”  This could result in getting some things done for LabourStart which have long been on our collective to-do list.

Followup on the police complaint in Israel regarding the LabourStart campaign: We’ve been asked by International Union Rights to do an article on this for next month.

What a week! Police investigate, a correspondent is arrested, new campaigns and solidarity cookies

cookies

New campaigns launched:  We’re launching two new campaigns today — one in defense of jailed trade union activists in Iran, the other in support of workers in Hungary dealing with a union-busting Austrian multinational.

Online campaigning course: There are just 11 days left to register for the ETUI / LabourStart course on online campaigning – for European trade unionists only.  Details are here.

LabourStart campaign subject of police investigation: Asaf Adiv of the Workers Advice Center in Israel reports that a police complaint was filed regarding our campaign in support of Palestinian workers at the Zarfaty garage.  Asaf writes:

The Israeli Police are finding it difficult to deal with Ethiopian immigrants who demonstrate in Tel Aviv against their discrimination, but yesterday they found the time to interrogate me on charges that I was responsible for the LabourStart email campaign last summer to support the struggle of Palestinian workers in the Zarfaty Garage. The complaint of the Garage owner to the police against me as the leader of WAC MAAN union that organizes the workers, came after their previous complaint against the chair of the workers committee in the Garage Hatem Abuzeadeh was canceled and proved to be fake. On May 12 WAC MAAN and Hatem’s lawyers will be in court to fight to reinstate the leader of the workers to his job in the last 17 years.

LabourStart correspondent arrested: One of our correspondents, Sergei Ilcenko, has apparently been arrested by the KGB (yes, the KGB) of Transnistria, back in March.  We’re trying to get more information about this and there may be a need for a campaign.

Survey of correspondents: At the beginning of the year we did a survey of LabourStart correspondents (most of the work done, I think, by Gisela).  Martina has now done a full report of what we learned, available to download in English or German.

Correspondents: I did a mailing yesterday to all our correspondents to encourage them to get active.  As a result, we had a 25% increase in the number of correspondents active in May, and several wrote to me asking for their passwords, or promising to get more active.

Annual survey of trade union use of the net: We missed the one in 2014, but are ready to go with a new version, probably later this week.

Fundraising: We raised a few hundred dollars more this week, and two global union federations promised to repeat their donations from 2014, which could amount to another £5,000.

stall

May Day in Berlin: Here’s a report from Martina — this should help explain the cookies, above:

“How many people worldwide are in LabourStart’s mailing list?” That was one of the questions from our wheel of fortune at our LabourStart stall in Berlin. The right answer: about 130,000. The share of Germans is 5,000. One more reason to become active in Germany and promote LabourStarts unique digital platform for the international trade union movement and workers’ solidarity.

We had a busy and nice day at our stall. We’ve talked to a lot of people about LabourStart, offered our nice self-made cookies. The wheel of fortune was always running and gave us a good opportunity to explain what LabourStart is about and that online campaigns make a difference in organising union power internationally. Those we could convince to join LabourStart mailing list were able to register online at our stall.

Reiner Hoffmann (DGB General Secretary) visited our LabourStart stall, too. There he met and had a chat with volunteers from LabourStart Network Berlin and some students of the Global Labour University.

Thanks to Heiko (DGB Berlin) for his amazing support. Thanks to the bakers. Thanks to all visitors at the stall.

May Day 2015: Focus on fundraising for LabourStart

First of all, happy May Day to all of you.

Second, here’s a report on the last 10 days activity on LabourStart:

Much of our work in the last week has focussed on fundraising. Our mailing went out in English (twice) and Czech, Danish, Esperanto, Dutch, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Russian, Swedish, and Turkish. Thanks so much to all our volunteer translators, and to several of you for helping me to draft the text of the appeal.

The total amount raised in the first week is £2,602 (PayPal); £25 (cheque); and £5 (bank transfer) – for a total of £2,632.

We’ve had no new campaigns recently, though we’ve been approached now by unions in Hungary to launch one, and in China – to support an existing one. We’ve finally closed down the Turkish hospital campaign, which had been reopened at the request of our German comrades.

Other than that, much of the time has been spent working on our upcoming retreat, on a research project that some of you will be involved in, and a possible joint project with the New Unionism Network. More on all that soon.

Spring begins at LabourStart …

It was my intention to update the blog weekly, but that hasn’t happened for the last few weeks, so here are short reports on the first month of spring …

Apps

  • English: Andromo has made the fix we requested which will stop closed campaigns from showing in the app.  I need to test this fully the next time we close a campaign, which will be next week, and once I’m satisfied that this works, the new version of the app will go live in the Google Play store.
  • Norwegian: I did a lot of work on the Norwegian language Android app, which will serve as a model for our apps in other languages.  It’s very nearly done.

Campaigns

  • Even though the Rio Tinto campaign has been closed down, I’ve helped IndustriALL keep up the pressure by publicizing and participating in their recent protest in London at the Rio Tinto AGM.
  • The closed Turkish hospital campaign was reopened for a couple of weeks at Gisela’s request, as Ver.di was going to help publicize the campaign. Unfortunately, after a full week online, only 6 additional supporters have signed up to the campaign.
  • At the request of IndustriALL, I’ll let the Holcim campaign run for another few weeks.
  • PSI has helpfully offered to publicize the Swaziland campaign which we launched at the request of the ITUC on 24 March.  That campaign is growing slowly and has just 6,733 supporters today.

Courses

  • European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) course on online campaigning in June: This is a course we helped developed and run, and for the first time we’ve been given the green light to publicize it.  I’ve done this with emails and through social media, repeatedly, in the last few weeks.  LabourStart correspondents who are based in Europe should apply to attend.
  • I also publicized the Global Labour University course at their request.

Fundraising

  • We’ll do our annual fundraising appeal next week; I’ve sent around a request for thoughts to a few senior correspondents and will shortly be circulating a draft appeal.

Mailing list

  • This has been growing slowly as we’ve only had one new campaign in this period.  New campaign supporters continue to be added on a weekly basis.

News

  • I don’t normally report on this, but we should never forget how much work is being done every day by our volunteer correspondents.  So far in April (first 20 days), 65 of our 775 volunteer correspondents have posted 4,002 news stories to LabourStart — averaging 200 stories per day, or 61 per correspondent so far this month.  Leading the pack are some very active correspondents including Andrew Casey (809), Olivier Delbeke (718), Derek Blackadder (517), Roy Nitzberg (392) and Ginger Goodwin (203).

Outreach

  • Europe: Thanks to Silvana’s initiative, I’ve now met with senior figures in the European Economic and Social Committee Workers’ Group, and have been invited to address the group — which consists of trade unionists from across Europe — in July.  Two EESC staffers are now LabourStart correspondents.
  • Italy: Silvana has done some excellent work reaching out to Italian trade unions – a more detailed report is coming soon.

Retreat

  • We’ve done a lot of work to prepare for the LabourStart retreat in Brussels in September, working closely with ETUI on this.

Union Made

  • This is a possible new project we might help with – especially with publicity.  We’re working closely with the New Unionism Project on this.  More details soon.

LabourStart in Numbers – Q1 2015

Some highlights of this, our first quarterly report for 2015:

For the first time in a while, we have some fairly accurate statistics from Google Analytics, which answers the question – how many people look at LabourStart? The short answer seems to be — about 42,000. That’s the number of unique visitors to our campaigns in the first three months of the year. Of those, about 35,000 have also visited our main (news) website.

There are some significant differences in how LabourStart is used in different countries.  For example, while Australians are big consumers of our news, providing us with one in six viewers of our news, they only provide one in twenty supporters of our campaigns.

Our mailing lists total over 125,000 — our top 11 lists, all of which have 1,000 subscribers or more — total 124,382. So the number of people who visit our campaigns are only about a third of the size of our mailing list.

Our presence on social media continues to grow, with our biggest growth being on Twitter. We’re also experiencing good growth on Facebook as well.

Mailing lists with 200 or more subscribers – the second number is from the previous quarter

Where the numbers are unchanged, it’s likely that we did no mailings to that list during this period – these are therefore the dormant lists. Of our largest lists, the dormant ones are therefore Korean, Chinese, Polish, Finish and Japanese. Were we to find volunteer translators to regularly mail to those lists, we’d instantly reach 6,109 people, which would generate 300 – 600 new supporters for every campaign.

English: 86,077 – 85,230
French: 8,238 – 8,202
German: 5,708 – 5,568
Spanish: 5,446 – 5,414
Italian: 4,059 – 4,088
Turkish: 3,684 – 3,668
Korean: 3,080 – 3,080
Norwegian: 2,803 – 2,801
Russian: 2,418 – 2,466
Dutch: 1,762 – 1,695

Chinese: 1,107 – 1,106
Polish: 752 – 752
Finnish: 687 – 687
Japanese: 483 – 483
Arabic: 463 – 463
Portuguese: 353 – 353
Indonesian: 346 – 344
Swedish: 345 – 236
Hebrew: 277 – 270
Tagalog: 254 – 254
Farsi: 242 – 242

Other ways to count …

Social networks

Twitter followers

Note the spectacular growth of the new Italian feed. Also very good growth for the main English and Canadian and US feeds, as well as our Indonesia feed.

English: 14,134 – 13,646
Canada English: 4,073 – 3,800
Canada French: 666 – 624
USA: 492 – 442
Italian: 255 – 14
Indonesia: 230 – 179
French: 221 – 218
Spanish: 75 – 73
German: 73 – 71
Japanese: 21 – 22
Russian: 19 – 18
Portuguese: 7 – 7

Facebook

Our Group – where people can post their own material – continues to grow much faster than our page, picking up 80 new members this quarter, while the page only grew by half that amount. The fastest growing page of ours on Facebook is the Hebrew one, growing by 20% this quarter.

Like LabourStart.org page (English): 9,153 – 9,112
Members of LabourStart group: 8,338 – 8,258
Like LabourStart page (French): 463 – 463
Like LabourStart page (German): 407 – 391
Like LabourStart page (Turkish): 149 – 144
Like LabourStart page (Hebrew): 135 – 112

UnionBook

Members: 5,862 – 5,846

LinkedIn

LabourStart group: 1,892 – 1,835

Flickr

Union group on Flickr: 787 – 786

Website

Correspondents: 773 – 762

LabourStart.org (news)

Unique users – 35,252 – 7,869

Top countries (by sessions):

USA 25%
Australia 16%
Canada 14%
UK 7%
India 5%

Most popular pages – page views:

Home page – English 54,062
USA – English 15,024
Canada – English 8,049
Home page – Norwegian – 3,515
India – 3,284

LabourStartCampaigns.net (campaigns)

Unique users – 41,682 – 10,810

Top countries (by sessions):

USA 17%
UK 14%
Canada 12%
Germany 7%
Australia 5%

Most popular pages – page views:

Don’t tarnish your love with Rio Tinto’s dirty diamonds and gold! – 11,390
Turkey: 98 health care workers sacked for joining a union – 10,212
Lafarge Holcim: No merger without workers’ rights! – 9,416
Kenya: Truckers held at gunpoint for protesting over 24 hour shifts – 8,360
Ecuador: Reinstate Jimena Lopez this International Women’s Day – 7,882