Category: Newswires

The weeks in review – 1-10.1.14


  • We’ve closed the Korean teachers’ campaign and will soon be receiving a report back on the results.
  • The Cambodia campaign, launched yesterday, is taking off very quickly — already considerably larger than the Carnival (Crown Holdings) campaign launched a week earlier.
  • We’re now running our first campaign ever in Ukrainian.

Berlin 2014:

  • I’m off to Berlin tomorrow with Tom to meet with the organizing committee.
  • At the moment we have 260 registrants for the conference, 54 of them from Germany, 40 from the UK.
  • We’ve updated the database adding a number of new fields to begin recording where people will stay, their flight details, contact phone numbers, etc. This information will be added by the conference organizers.


We’ve just heard from Dan Gallin that he’s assembled the texts for our next book, which we can now begin to produce and sell.  This will be LabourStart’s fourth book.

Mailing lists:

We had a problem with Sendy, trying to resolve it with help from them.

French edition:

Derek and Andy have made several suggestions for improvements which we’ve begun to implement.


  • We’re about to do the quarterly fundraising mailing to people who regularly support our online campaigns.
  • I’ve also written to all our correspondents about the Svensson prize (having already told our entire list about it) and fingers crossed maybe this year LabourStart will be considered for this.


We now have a Vietnamese English-language newswire at the request of our comrades in Australia, and it appears on the website of the committee to protect Vietnamese workers.

News database:

We’re adding additional languages to allow new correspondents to post news without having to deal with an English interface. The Finnish one is now ready and others are on their way.

The week(s) in review: 10 – 22 October 2013

firefoxosbookcover200Book 3: Now completed, published, and waiting for the first paper copy to arrive before we officially announce it.  A draft web page is already live — — and will be improved before launch, probably tomorrow.

Intern: We have a shortlist of five intern candidates and will interview them this Friday.

Berlin 2014: I’ll be visiting Berlin next week, meeting with our organizing committee there plus others.  We should be able to launch the conference website by then, and begin online registrations.

This is how you promote LabourStart: See below for the table Derek set up at the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) convention where he’s been selling our calendars and books and making great connections for LabourStart.

Colombia campaign: After just 8 days, this is our second largest campaign ever, with just over 10,100 messages sent — over 100 of them from Colombia.

Calendar sales: Continue to be disappointing, but growing slowly.  In October, we sold just 30 copies of the calendar; in September, we sold more than four times that number — 134 copies.  I continue with weekly reminders via social media, and we mentioned it in a recent mass mailing.  We’ll continue with this in the hope that as 2014 approaches, people will begin to buy their calendars …

Blog action day: I used this to help promote some of our campaigns — but there’s no evidence it helped at all.

Donations: We received once again a large donation from LO Norway.

Newswires: I checked to see if there was a problem with one of our French newswires — there wasn’t, and with one of our Finnish newswire — there was, and I’ve not yet been able to solve the problem.

A busy Thursday update

Some quick highlights …

  1. We’ll be launching a new campaign sometime today or tomorrow in support of the Turkish trade unionists who were arrested this week.  We’re waiting on PSI and EI to agree a text.
  2. Our book on online campaigning has been translated into French. Thank you Andy!  We’ll try to make it available as soon as possible.
  3. We’ve done a mailing to our Canadian list to promote a Canada-specific campaign, and earlier this week mailed to our UK list to promote a UK-only campaign.  A third of our current campaigns are now country-specific.
  4. We closed down the Cameroon musicians campaign today after three months.  Still waiting to hear from FIM about the results.
  5. We launched our first campaign ever in Esperanto this afternoon.  We have a small Google Group for volunteer translators who did the work on this – much appreciated.
  6. We had comprehensive coverage of the massive strike in India thanks to several correspondents – including Mahesh and Edd.
  7. We wrote this week to hundreds of state labour federations and city central labour councils across the USA to promote our new newswires for each of the 50 states.
  8. We’re up to 452 responses to our annual survey — nearly half of them this time in French.


Weekly review – 13-19 February 2013

Annual survey of trade union use of the net: This went live in English and French editions about 24 hours ago.  So far, there have been 271 responses.  Last year we got 2,954 over the course of a month, and the year before that, 1,336.

Site re-design: Work has resumed on this and significant progress made.  We’ll have a more attractive site to show in a few days.  For those of you desperate to see the work-in-progress, email me and I’ll tell you where to look.


  • New campaigns: We’re launching two new campaigns this week specifically for Canada (on behalf of COPE) and the UK (on behalf of RMT).
  • Viewing campaign supporters: Some time ago we made it so that you needed a password to view the list of campaign supporters.  The problem was, you needed to embed that password in the URL.  This is now user-friendly; you can key in the password directly onto the page, in a form.
  • Campaigns landing page: This now works in French – modeled on the English version.  We’ll eventually have this working for all languages.
  • New languages for campaigns and mailing lists: We now have a significant mailing list for Tagalog (191 addresses).  Our Czech friends have completed translations so we now have a couple of campaigns and have done a mailing in Czech (95 subscribers).  We  have three volunteers signed up to help coordinate translations of our campaigns into Esperanto; they’ve formed a Google Group to share the effort.


  • Book 1: The Kindle edition of our book (Campaigning Online and Winning)  is now live and has been promoted.  Sales of the paperback edition are now well above 500.  We’re waiting for the French and German translations.  We’ve essentially run out of the 100 copies we bought for the office, and have ordered – and received – 100 more. A review is appearing in the next edition of Labor Notes, in the USA.
  • Book 2: Edd and I are in the advanced stages of planning for this one — more details very soon.
  • Book 3: I completed and submitted my manuscript to UCS 12 days ago — waiting to hear from them what else they need, and a schedule.  The working title is Making Unions Stronger – Using the Internet Better, but this will change.

News database:

  • Countries list for news database: There were several versions of this — you could, for example, add a story for a new country such as “South Sudan”, and that country was one of the options, but that name didn’t appear in the list of countries on the front page of LabourStart.  This has now been fixed — both scripts are now reading from the same file.
  • Languages for posting news: While it was possible to post to LabourStart in some 50 languages, we have only about 30 translated front pages — so if you posted a news story in, say, Urdu, it entered the database and would have appeared if you searched for news in all languages — but was not tagged in our database with any specific language.  This has now been fixed, and every story in the database from now on is tagged with a language code.
  • Newswires for all 50 US states: We now have this — previously we had for fewer than a dozen.  Now we have to think about how to publicize this – it could be useful for local unions, state federations, and so on.


  • Fundraising: I wrote to every global union federation last week; only two have responded, one with a promise to donate more than last year.
  • Fundraising evening in London: We’re making plans to hold this on 27 April – details coming soon.


Weekly review – 29 January – 6 February 2013


  • Korea campaign: Still growing, but not yet at 10,000.  We’ll be writing to every PSI affiliate in the next few days to get them on board.
  • Mexico campaign: We’ll be doing our bit as part of the IndustriALL-sponsored Week of Action; our campaign should be launched on Monday the 11th in support of Los Mineros; we have the full backing of the United Steelworkers in the USA and Canada on this one.
  • UK campaign: We launched our biggest-ever UK-only campaign, in cooperation with the RMT.  They emailed and texted all their members about it, producing a sudden sharp increase in the number of supporters.  This is now up to almost 2,600 supporters.  UK campaigns will now show on the UK news page.
  • Australia campaign: Expect a campaign in the next day or two in support of Bob Carnegie.


  • Tagalog: We’ve had our first two campaigns translated into this Filipino language; we’ll now begin creating newswires and publicizing this.
  • Polish: We have now had a couple of campaigns translated and a mailing done to our list.  Six of the 20 Polish people who signed up to our most recent English campaign volunteered to translate campaigns in future — so it looks like we’re reviving our project.
  • Czech: Following up on the Polish model, I contacted the small number of Czechs who had signed up for the most recent campaign in English; several of them have volunteered to help get campaigns up in their language.  We have a mailing list of 65 Czech trade unionists, so this can probably grow fairly easily into 100 or more.
  • Chinese: We’ve now added the campaigns to the home page in Chinese and Lennon has suggested a number of changes to improve the page.  The number of Chinese supporters for our most recent campaign has grown considerably thanks to Lennon’s efforts.
  • Korean: Our first campaign to get more than a handful of Korean responses has meant that we finally have a small, but growing, Korean mailing list.
  • Vietnamese: It’s been a while since we’ve had a campaign appear in Vietnamese, but we’ve gotten the latest one translated and hope to begin growing a base of supporters in this language.
  • Japanese: Mac has resumed translations — and publicity — so the Korea campaign is available in this language and has had some significant support in Japan.
  • Indonesian: We’ve now added the campaigns to the home page in this language too.  All our campaigns are now showing on their appropriate home pages — if we have campaigns in that language.  Otherwise, the English campaigns are usually shown.
  • Portuguese: We were able to get the latest campaign up and mailing out thanks to the PSI staffer in South Africa who has volunteered to help with this very important global language.
  • Finnish: We’ll have our first Finnish language campaign next week – the Mexico campaign, which targets a Finnish employer.

Annual survey on trade union use of the net: We’re going to launch this one soon, have collected some very good suggestions from senior correspondents and others.

Mailing lists: We continue the transition from MailChimp (very expensive) to Sendy (very cheap).  All lists except for English and French have been moved over.  We need to work on issues like templates and segmentation, but are on the case.

Inactive correspondents: We’ve seen a large drop in the number of correspondents we’re showing because we have one-by-one been contacting, and then dropping, those who are inactive.  We may be down to 450 by the time we’re done.

LabourStart in Numbers: See my report this week — we haven’t seen spectacular growth anywhere, but all our Asian language lists have grown in recent days.

Security: Some of the pages on our campaigns site were exposing some email addresses of supporters – these are now password-protected or in the process of becoming password-protected.

Book [1]: We now have a Kindle edition of our campaigns book — we’ll begin publicizing this shortly.  Sales of the book remain strong; we’ve sold just under 500 copies in 5 weeks.

Book [2]: I completed the first draft of a book for Union Communication Services entitled “Making Unions Stronger – Using the Internet Better”.  A second draft is being sent off tomorrow.  Thanks to Edd and Derek for reading the whole thing through.

Fundraising: Not a great response from the GUFs and others we approached recently.  Today I’ll do a mailing to our “power users” — people who support our campaigns all the time, and will know how to value our work.  I need the help of all of you to raise funds to sustain our ever-growing campaigning.


Weekly review – 21-28 January 2013

New campaign: We launched a new campaign in support of Korean government workers, whose president is on hunger strike.  This is the first campaign we’ve ever done that’s picked up any supporters at all in Korea, and was quickly translated into that language (among many others).  We’re already over the 5,000 mark and hope for this to turn into a large campaign.

New mailing list system: I have experimenting with Sendy and have to say that so far, am very pleased. It works, it’s cheap, and the tech support has been great.  (This is taking a lot of time, but as it will save us something like £5,000 this year, it will be worth it.)

Book 1: I’m completing the writing this week of Making Unions Stronger – Using the Internet Better, which will be published by UCS this year.

Book 2: Sales continue to go well for Campaigning Online and Winning (473 sold so far) and we’ve had offers to translate into French and German.  We have a Kindle edition of the English version ready, but it needs some tweaking.

New language: Our friends at the KMU in the Philippines have given us a translation of our campaigns framework into Tagalog – spoken by an estimated 28 million people.

Newswires: All the regional newswires are now working.

Coming soon: The third annual survey of trade union use of the net.



Weekly summary – 15-21 January 2013

Campaigns book: Andy is working on a translation into French.  The Kindle edition should go live today.  Sales are now well over 400.  Two parts of the book are about to be reprinted in Social Policy magazine whose editor, Wade Rathke, the founder of ACORN, loved the book.

Campaigns: We launched new campaigns in support of workers in the Philippines and El Salvador.  We closed down the Mexico and China campaigns.

ActNOW DIY: Made a lot of progress on this – hopefully will have something to show before the month is up.

Newswires: We have working newswires in RSS format now for all regions – Europe, Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Central America, the Caribbean, South America and the Middle East.  A number of new unions have signed up to use the newswires – we’ve been writing to local and branch unions, especially in the UK.

Correspondents: Some – a small number – of the inactive ones are coming back asking for passwords.  We’ve now written individually to every inactive correspondent and will gradually begin deleting those who are inactive and don’t respond.  A couple of new correspondents have come on board, from Finland and Canada this week.

Talks: Eric spoke to Southend-on-Sea Labour Party on Saturday; this week, on Thursday, Edd speaks at the Unions 21 event in London.


Fortnightly update – 1-15 January 2013

Public appearances in the UK: We’ll be represented at three upcoming UK-based events.  On 19.1, I’ll be speaking at the Southend Labour Party. On 24.1, Edd will speak at the Unions 21 tech seminar. And on 13-14 March, we’re organizing a panel at the E-Campaigning Forum in Oxford.

Campaigns: We’re about to launch two new ones today – on El Salvador and the Philippines.  These are our first new campaigns in nearly 6 weeks — it has been a very quiet season.  As reported below, we now have the campaigns newswire working correctly in 19 languages, in both JavaScript and RSS versions – please make sure to promote this in your country.

Book: Sales have reached 377.  Let’s all push hard to get that number up to 500 over the next few days.  We were briefly an best-seller, hitting the top 1,000 books they were selling, and reaching number 2 in our category.  A Kindle edition is coming soon, and we’re starting to think about doing another book.  Meanwhile, I expect to complete my book for UCS by the end of January – the working title is  Making Unions Stronger – Using The Internet Better.

Labour Newswire: We’ve pushed our newswires aggressively to UK unions, and it’s bearing fruit.  We had 40 UK sites listed, that dropped down to 20 after Edd removed all the dead wood, and now we’re back up to 28. You can see the up-to-date list of all 302 sites using our newswire here.

Today in Labour History: We now have 11 people adding content to this; almost every day, there is something on our front page in English.   (And more things coming soon.)

Inactive correspondents: Edd has gone through the 500 or so correspondents who’ve not been active, writing individually to each one, and giving support (such as new passwords) where needed.  In a few weeks, we’ll be deleting those who are showing no interest in continuing.

Upcoming global solidarity conferences: I’ve finally heard (today) from a colleague in Germany about the possibility of a conference in Berlin in May 2014; I’ll be following up.  Derek has been in discussions with people in Vancouver about a conference there in late 2014.

Fund-raising: We’ve gotten generous donations from two unions in the USA (United Steelworkers and the Amalgamated Transportation Union) and hoping for more.  We’ve sent out a few copies of the campaigns book to donors who have given £1,000 or more in the last couple of years.


Fortnightly update – 18.12 – 31.12.12

bookcoverBook: We completed our campaigns book and published it, and publicized it today.

Campaigns: We closed the Guatemala campaign two weeks ago – still waiting for a report on how things turned out.  The Zimbabwe campaign was closed ten days ago.  The Histadrut has asked us about doing a campaign in support of striking Pelephone workers in Israel.

Newswires: We located the RSS version of the health & safety newswire for Australia which the ACTU had requested.

ActNOW DIY: Did some work on writing the code for this – moving slowly …

Site overhaul: Did a considerable amount of work on the new-look website for 2013.  Coming soon.

International Union Rights: Sales of subs to this were disappointing – we sold just 34 of them (as of 10 days ago).

Today in Labour History: This is now working fairly well, and displaying on our home page.  We have 4 or so people adding content and will soon go public in an attempt to get more correspondents.

Twitter: We are working to get our Spanish language Twitter feed working again and we’re exploring ways to get all our languages working.

Inactive correspondents: We’re building up a list of all those correspondents who are inactive and are beginning to write to each one individually.