Thousands more signup to support our Indonesia campaign

Indonesia campaign: This is turning into one of our very largest, with 14,307 supporters this morning (u from 12,000 a week ago). Yesterday we went live with a Korean version, the 17th language into which this campaign has been translated, with more to come. Because we now have a very large Indonesian language mailing list (6,809 subscribers), I’ve written to the comrade who used to diligently translate all our campaigns and mailings into Indonesian to see if he can be persuaded to come back and help again with translations.

Facebook: Our new UK page picked up hundreds of new likes this week and was at 1,168 this morning. (It was 741 a week ago.) This is largely due to a low-cost advertising campaigning targeting UK residents. Warren is doing an outstanding job updating it throughout the day, every day. I’ve taken steps to revive this, including looking into seeing if we can get the “.tv” domain name back, which we lost some years ago. One of the first things I’ve done is clearly tag video stories on our home page — they appear with the word “video” in bold and red. I have some more tasks to complete to get this ready for prime time, before we tell our supporters about it

Mailing lists: In spite of everything, an update to 21 of our lists this week added a net of just 47 subscribers (the Indonesians having been added last week). People continue to sign up to support our campaigns without inviting others to join them — despite repeated requests to do this. We need to find ways to encourage people to get their fellow workers to join them.

Arthur Svennson Prize: A video I prepared for last Friday’s ceremony in Oslo was shown, and we were thanked for it.

Weekly roundup, 21-28 May

Could you all have a look at the blog postings for the last week (see below)?  I’ve asked for help and advice on a few things (Zendesk, Wikipedia, translations), but got no response. Thanks.

Meanwhile, some highlights of the last week …

LabourStart TV: I posted our first original content for a very long time, an interview with Teamster official Tim Beaty.  There have been over 300 views and 4 comments posted.


  • I added a line of text updating the Bahrain campaign to a number of languages, at the request of the Education International.
  • I asked PSI and UNISON about continuing with the Colombia campaign after two months – UNISON is keen to do so, but we’re waiting for an answer from PSI.  The campaign has gotten a healthy 7,845 messages sent.
  • We launched a campaign in support of workers’ rights activists in Mexico; in the first week online it got 5,550 supporters.
  • The Matteo Parlati campaign in Italy was closed; the first day in court was on Friday.  Matteo now no longer needs to report every day to a police station, and his actual trial has been pushed back to November.  A total of 8,357 messages were sent.
  • A lot more work done on the move of our campaigns to the new server in Iceland; see below for full details.  The move will take place tomorrow (Tuesday).
  • Spent a lot of time trying to stop people from being able to send off multiple messages for the same campaign using the same email address, with only limited success.  We will aim to have this working properly on the new server.

Wikipedia: I attempted the monthly update of our page there, but stopped.  See blog post below.

Thursday morning updates: survey, campaigns, UnionBook, backups,, DDoS attacks, Maghreb, etc

  • I plan to stop allowing participation in our online survey once we have 1,000 responses.  We currently have 978.  Please help by spreading the word.  By the way, the largest groups of survey participants come from the following countries so far: UK, USA, Canada, Australia and Norway.
  • UnionBook has now reached over 3,000 members following the push yesterday.  In fact, we’ve picked up 120 new members in the last 9 days.
  • We’ll be closing the Vietnam campaign in the next few days.  This will bring us down to only two active campaigns.
  • We’ve had a formal request for a campaign from Bangladesh.
  • We are expecting additional requests for campaigns in the next few days from Turkey, Japan and Korea.
  • I’ll be setting up a French language newswire for the Maghreb countries, as Andy has long proposed.
  • I’ve read the Berkman Center (Harvard) report on denial of service attacks on independent media and human rights websites and plan to implement some of their suggestions for improved security in the next few days.  I’ve also written up a short article for the British weekly Solidarity about this.
  • I’ve changed the way we backup the site now.  There is now a full weekly backup of our MySQL databases (we didn’t do this before) and instead of packing (zipping) all our other files and backing that up, we’re now backing up all the files on the site on a weekly basis using FTP.
  • I have written once again to the domain registrar for the “.tv” domain requesting that they reinstate our domain.

News briefs

I haven’t been able to update this blog for some 4 weeks and lots has happened in that time. Here are some highlights:

New campaigns: We launched three new campaigns – India: Over 500 workers jailed in dispute with Foxconn (4,036 messages sent so far), Thailand: Migrant workers have the right to workers’ compensation (1,703 messages), and Colombia: Free jailed university lecturer and trade unionist (1,707 messages). We’ve closed down one campaign last Friday — PSI’s campaign in support of jailed workers in Turkey. The domain registrar closed our account in late September — we’re now making efforts to get it reopened. Meanwhile, I’ve changed the link on our front page to point to which works.

Labour and Technology podcasts: I’ve done two of these in the last month – Spammers and online communities: The challenge for trade unions (50 listeners) and Activist apps (258 listeners).

Labour photo of the year: Derek and I have agreed to begin work on this in another couple of weeks.

UnionBook: The old site has been completely shut down and and now both point to the new site.

Upcoming conferences: I have been invited to speak at a conference of the International Metalworkers Federation in Geneva next week — it’s called “IMF global trade union networks in TNC’s as a tool to organising and promoting solidarity”. I’ve also been invited to Istanbul to speak at a conference on trade unions new media on 27 November.

2011 LabourStart global solidarity conference: Andrew has made some progress on this and we’ll be talking about it and beginning planning within the next few days.

Labour’s online bookstore: We’re ready to use the new version of UCS’s software, and this should be live in a day or two. We continue to promote about one book per month.  Authors and publishers continue to contact us regularly asking us to promote books.

Labour films and videos: Raising the profile

In the last two days I’ve done two mass mailings to our list in English, both focussing on a single topic: labour films and videos.  (The second mailing is going out now.)

In the first, I pointed out our co-sponsorship with the Washington DC Metro Labor Council of the online database of union films plus the list of labour film festivals.  I encouraged people who had things to add to this list to contact Chris Garlock at the DC Metro Labor Council and I passed on several emails which I received to him.  The response was overwhelmingly favorable, and people want to know more.

Today’s mailing focussed on a book by Tom Zaniello — an encyclopedia of labour films.  Hopefully we’ll be able to sell a bunch of these.

The next and final step is the launch of our Labour Video of the Year competition — but that may have to wait until my return from the USA in another 10 days.

Labour videos

I’ve just written to several people following up on the discussion we had in Washington.  Basically here are the issues I raised:

1. Databases

I see that Chris Garlock has set up two online databases using Dabble for both labour films and film festivals.  If he’s happy with these, I think he should continue to maintain them (perhaps with some volunteer help) but that LabourStart should promote them.  We would do so with permanent links on our main pages and on, as well as our usual channels (email, Twitter, Facebook, UnionBook).

The databases are here:

Films –

Festivals –

2. Labour films channel on YouTube

Does one exist?  Should we create one?  This could be branded by LabourStart or co-branded with DC Labor Council, IMF, ITF, or others.

3. Labour video/film of the year

LabourStart can do this competition and model it on the labour photo competition.  We would begin in November and aim to complete it by year’s end.  Readers would nominate films, a panel of judges would create a shortlist, readers would then vote, and we’d aim to have the winner shown at major union events such as the ITUC world congress in Vancouver in 2010.

Presumably we’d have to limit entries to films which are viewable online, so that everyone can see them.

I look forward to reading your suggestions and to working with you on this exciting project.

Pre-Christmas updates …

We now once again have a JavaScript and RSS feed for — these are highlighted on the page.  I’ve also added the story’s source to the list.

I’ve finally gotten around to testing the Vietnamese language interface for our ActNOW campaigns – it seems to work.

We may be very near the end of the DESA campaign in Turkey — we generated over 5,000 messages.  It seems like the union has won a big victory – more tomorrow.

I’ve fixed our old subscribe-me page — it was still directing some people (hopefully, not many) to our old iContact mailing list.

In the new year, we’ll be selling copies of the TUC-produced book, Hadi Never Died.  This is an opportunity to show our support for our Iraqi comrades and to raise a small amount of money for LabourStart.  I’ve done up the first page promoting this on UnionBook.  In January – on the 4th anniverary of Hadi Saleh’s murder – we’ll promote this to our entire list.

LabourStart’s Wal-Mart page and our newswire have now been fixed and work well with the new database.

We’ve had some problems posting French-language news stories from the ICEM – and the issue may have been solved by changing the URL field in our news links database to Unicode.  Fingers crossed.  Thanks to both Andy and Tom for pointing this out.

The daily counter for our campaigns is now fixed – thanks to Derek for spotting that it wasn’t working.

We’ve done some work on fixing the character encoding for our ActNOW newswire in Norwegian – the problem for the moment is deciding which character encoding most Norwegian union websites use.  Thanks to Espen for spotting the problem.

There was a problem if you clicked on a state/province name on our front page that included a space — e.g., New York.  This has now been fixed.

The form which allows readers to submit a news story didn’t have enough space for long URLs – this has now been fixed.