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

New campaigns, improved tools and an instructional video

I was travelling for most of the last two weeks, but here are some updates anyway.

Campaigns:

  • We launched a new campaign in support of Kenyan truckers at the request of the International Transport Workers Federation.  Over 5,300 people have already signed up to support the campaign.
  • We closed down the Rio Tinto Valentine’s Day campaign at the request of IndustriALL and the Peru campaign given to us by Public Services International.  The campaign got over 9,000 messages sent to the company and definitely got their attention.
  • We did a followup mailing and additional publicity in support of sacked Ecuadorian union activist Jimena Lopez, adding another 1,110 new supporters to the campaign. Increasingly we do followup mailings to people who didn’t open the first message and this produces good results.  That campaign has just over 8,000 supporters.
  • We now have a new template for our mass mailings which includes some good links not just to forward the mail but to post to Facebook, Twitter, etc.

International Women’s Day:

  • We sent all correspondents a link to short instructional video on how to tag working women’s news stories on LabourStart. (We’ll be making more videos like this – let me know what you’d like done.)

New campaign, working women’s news, online forum, 2015 retreat, new address – another 6 days at LabourStart …

Campaigns:

We launched a new campaign yesterday in support of the ITF’s fight to get Ecuadorian trade unionist Jimena Lopez reinstated. The campaign is linked to International Women’s Day. In less than 24 hours, the campaign was live in three languages and had just under 3,000 supporters.

We did a special mailing on Monday in support of forestry workers in Gabon. They approached us for help, we turned to BWI and BWI have done their own online campaign which we’re supporting.  As a result of our effort, over 5,000 people visited their campaign page.

We’re about to close another Latin American campaign – this one was launched on the eve of the climate change summit in Peru. It was a somewhat small campaign for us, getting fewer than 6,000 supporters. I’ve asked PSI to update us on the results.

The fight with Rio Tinto has heated up. Tonight there’s a conference call with all the partners, led by IndustriALL — I’ll let you all know what’s happened. That campaign has already sent over 9,000 messages of protest, and the company is rather upset about all this.

Our largest current campaign remains the Turkish health care workers, with 10,639 supporters, a gain of 99 in the last 6 days. Some comrades in the UK have begun an effort to do a paper version of this campaign, and will be inputting the signatures manually.

IndustriALL have decided to use a different campaigning platform for their upcoming Turkey campaign which looks likely to be a big one.

Working Women’s News Page:

This has been updated and promoted, and we’ve gotten several more volunteer correspondents as a result. The page is here: http://www.labourstart.org/women The next step, I think, is to create pages in languages other than English. Any suggestions for pages we should be linking to are most welcome.

Correspondents’ forum:

I’ve downloaded some forum software we haven’t used before and will begin setting it up in order to test it. Update coming soon.

Solidarity Retreat 2015:

I’ve arranged a meeting with the European Trade Union Institute on 7 April in Brussels; I hope to be able to nail down dates before then if possible.

New contact details:

We have a new generic inbox for LabourStart — [email protected]. Expect to see more and more of this address being used.

We also have a new mailing address:

LabourStart
Suite 504
394 Muswell Hill Broadway
London N10 1DJ
U.K.

UnionBook:

We’ve sent a long list of issues to Ning, which is the platform we use for UnionBook, and have gotten a detailed response today. One of our more enthusiastic UnionBook members has been working on this, but the site remains largely dormant, though it has 5,857 members.

The last 8 days: campaigns, survey, Berlin group, Swedish home page

Campaigns:

We’re closing the WizzAir campaign after 3 months and nearly 10,000 signatures. It was our first campaign ever with a Romanian version. According to the European Transport Workers Federation, “The workers have not been reinstated (yet), but the campaign helped a lot in terms of building confidence of the local union and getting public attention. There is a court case pending and we should have the final ruling somewhere in April/March – of course, we hope that it will be in our favour.”
Algeria – repression of unemployed activists. We’ve shared this with the IUF and are waiting for their decision; they may run a campaign themselves which of course we will support.
Turkey campaign – we’ve been approached about the possibility of another Turkey campaign, this one targetting a well-known consumer brand; more details when we have them.

Here are our current campaigns in order of popularity:

  • Turkey – Maltepe – 10,540 supporters
  • Rio Tinto – 8,997 supporters
  • Lafarge Holcim – 8,413 supporters
  • Peru – 5,962 supporters – campaign due to close next week

Survey of LabourStart correspondents:

Martina will be reviewing all the responses and writing up a report. We’ve received a small grant from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation to do a study of our work, and this is part of it.

Berlin Group:

They now have a (blank) website and a joint email address, as they requested. They’ve drafted a founding statement which will go on to the site.

Swedish LabourStart:

I’ve improved the home page and we’re working on including an RSS and Twitter feed as well.

The last 20 days

Sorry for the delay in getting this report out, but I spent a full week away from London doing research for my upcoming book.  Nevertheless, it’s been a busy 20 days — and for want of a better idea, here are the main stories in alphabetical order:

Campaign initiatives: We’ve asked BWI about possibly supporting striking forestry workers in Gabon; Andy passed this one on and we’re waiting to hear back.  We asked the ITF if there’s any Iranian campaigns coming up, as some comrades in the UK have been keen to get us involved in that issue again.  We approached Unite in the UK to try to get a campaign going in support of their effort to block the docking in the UK of a ship named for a Nazi war criminal; Shell eventually backed down and there was no need for a campaign.

Donations: We’ve gotten substantial commitments from unions in Norway and Canada; thanks very much to Derek and Espen for making the push.   We received a generous donation from IndustriALL.

Greece: We did a mass mailing several languages in support of the German trade union leaders’ appeal.  Several thousand people responded but many had difficulties both with the language (much of the appeal was not translated from the German) and the software, which was unreliable.  Nevertheless, our effort was appreciated and thanks to Andrea, Silvana, Gisela and the comrades in Berlin for encouraging us to do this.

Mailing lists: We picked up a fairly large number of new subscribers to our English list thanks to the Rio Tinto campaign, and we now have 86,705 subscribers to that list.    The French list, our second largest, is up to 8,224.  In the last year, the English list has had a net gain of about 1,500 and the French one has gained 800.

New correspondents: Among new correspondents we’ve added recently is a Norwegian trade unionist based in Palestine; I hope this will help improve our coverage of Palestinian trade union news.

Right to strike: We were asked by a Canadian union to do a special mailing to support their campaign on the right to strike, and did so yesterday.  We’ve also been providing news coverage of actions around the world.

Rio Tinto campaign: We launched this two weeks ago and had an immediate reaction from the company.  Working together with our partners in IndustriALL and two NGOs, we’ve sent the company a very short letter in response.  More details coming soon.  At the moment, the campaign has 8,822 supporters and appears in 12 languages.

Support for existing GUF campaigns: We publicized both a BWI and IUF campaign in a recent mailing.  The IUF campaign focusses on Sheraton and highlights the struggle in Addis Ababa — the local union leader there will be familiar to some of you as he attended our conference in Berlin last May; we have been passing on details of their fight to the IUF and are delighted to have helped support them.

Week 4 of 2015: Deepening cooperation with the European Trade Union Institute

I’ve just come back from two days in Brussels where I had meetings at the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) and also with Silvio Gonzato, Director of Human Rights and Democracy at the European External Action Service.

ETUI will be holding a course which I proposed at the DGB (German national trade union centre) education center in Hattingen from 24-26 June 2015 which will focus primarily on LabourStart campaigns — and which will culminate in the live launch of an actual campaign. Invitations will go out in the next month or two.

Also ETUI has offered extensive cooperation with us in the holding of our 2015 Strategic Retreat — more details soon.  A big thanks to Silvana for all her help setting up these important meetings and deepening our cooperation with European trade union institutions.

In other news this week, we picked up nearly 300 new subscribers to our mailing lists. Our Lafarge Holcim campaign has now grown to over 8,000 messages; our Turkish health care workers campaign is one of our largest with 10,340 supporters; and we’ll shortly be closing our USA Zara campaign which only got 7,769 supporters in the three months it was online.

We’re making slow progress on publications — we have a Flickr group set up to receive candidate photos for our Global Labour Calendar; work continues on the migrant labour book; I’m waiting for some more documents before we can progress on our Global Crisis, Global Solidarity book.

We published links to an average of 193 news stories per day, every day in January so far, for a total of over 5,400 news stories.  74 of our correspondents have been active posting news in January — out of 763 correspondents.  In other words, over 90% of the correspondents did not post news in January.  Of those who did, 12 posted 100 or more stories.  If you’re reading this and are an inactive LabourStart correspondent and need help (don’t remember your password, or have forgotten how to add news), please don’t hesitate to write to me – [email protected].

Berlin LabourStart Group speaks out on the Greek elections

Gisela writes:

On the eve of the Greek elections, which brought a huge victory for the decidedly left-wing Syriza and will – hopefully – challenge and change the austerity discussion in Europe a good deal, 285 German individuals and organisations published an open letter to the Greek public in a Greek newspaper, EFSYN. In the letter, they spoke out in defense of the freedom of the Greek people to decide themselves on their government, and against the interference particularly by German politicians and media in the pre-election debate. It condemns the threats and bullying, and expresses solidarity with the social forces that want to change the political and economic course in Greece, pointing out that their victory could change whole political debate in Europe.

The LabourStart Berlin offline group, founded after last May’s LS conference in Berlin, decided unanimously that we’d support the initiative. Our signature appeared, together with the others, on two different days in the week before the election and was seen by tens of thousands of readers. We don’t claim, of course, we’ve won the elections – that was the Greeks choice, in the end! – but we hope to have contributed a little bit to balance out the power play of the European neoliberal camp, and to building transnational worker solidarity against neoliberal austerity policies and the onslaught on social and political rights in Europe.

Retreat postponed, campaign launched, work begins on our calendar – a review of week 3 of 2015

2015 Retreat: The Tunis retreat planned for March has been postponed. More details soon.

Campaigns

Holcim Lafarge: This campaign, launched last week, only had 5,000 supporters after the first 7 days, so I did a followup mailing to nearly 82,000 people on the English list who hadn’t yet signed up, according to MailChimp. As a result, we increased the number of supporters by more than a third, and are now just under 6,800. This number will rise as we get the campaign active in both German and Italian, two of our largest languages.

Istanbul Maltepe Hospital: This campaign is one of our largest, and now has just under 10,000 supporters, as we pick up another 700 this week.

Publications

Global Labour Calendar: A group of 7 of us have begun discussions of how to do this, focussing on how to print it, select the photos, and add the contents (labour history dates).

Global Crisis, Global Solidarity: I’m trying to move forward on publishing the papers presented at our 2014 conference, but we received very few of them and am now looking to find the workshop summaries which might give us more content.

Annual survey of trade union use of the net: I’ve written to our entire mailing list to try to get some help with volunteers to do this again.

Three campaigns, three publications, two surveys, one conference – week 2 of 2015 on LabourStart

2015 has gotten off to a brisk start.  Here’s my report on week 2:

Campaigns:

  • We launched one in support of sacked hospital workers in Turkey — our first campaign of 2015.  It’s already had 9,348 supporters in the last seven days and is likely to pass 10,000 shortly, making it our largest currently active campaign.  The campaign appears in 18 languages, including Chinese for the first time in a very long time. PSI and EPSU added themselves as supporters after a few days. The campaign can be found here: http://www.labourstart.org/go/maltepe
  • Today we’re launching another campaign in cooperation with IndustriALL, BWI and EFBWW, demanding that the merger of Holcim and Lafarge take workers’ rights into account.  That campaign is here: http://www.labourstart.org/go/nomerger
  • I closed the WIPO campaign after 3 months and 6,254 messages sent, but have not yet heard back from the union; we don’t know what effect, if any, the campaign had.  It is unfortunate that sometimes our partners do this, and neglect to keep us and our supporters informed.

Surveys:

  • We’ve gotten some volunteers and some ideas for our (almost) annual survey of trade union use of the net.  More details next week.
  • I’ll soon be publishing a detailed report on the results of our survey of LabourStart correspondents.

Publications:

  • A number of people have volunteered to help with our Global Labour Calendar for 2016.  People have stepped up with ideas on how to print it, to help add labour history content to it, and to translate it — well done! More details coming soon.
  • We’ve now exchanged contracts with Prof. Joe Atkins for The Strangers Among Us: Tales from a Global Migrant Labor Movement, a collection of essays which we will publish at the very end of this year.
  • I’ve resumed work on getting out Global Crisis, Global Solidarity — our book of conference papers, long overdue.

Retreat 2015:

  • We’ve had some discussions about this; more details next week when I know them.

Internationalization:

  • We now have a Swedish-language Twitter feed and Facebook page which we’ll publicize next week.
  • I had a full day with our senior correspondent in the Caribbean, Dave Smith, and we discussed a number of issues relating to LabourStart’s activities in that region.

Apps:

  • Dave pointed out a problem with the display of regional news on the Android app which I will fix.
  • I have had an ongoing discussion with Como support about how the RSS feeds are displayed on our app.  A similar discussion with Andromo support led them to make a change in how they handle RSS feeds which should take effect soon.  Como and Andromo are two online tools we use (and pay for) to build our apps.