Category: Publications

We publish our first book since 2014 – and it’s a great one

We’re reviving our publications programme with four new books in the pipeline, and that will just take us through the winter.  This is an ambitious plan and we’re starting off with a great one, with huge potential interest from the labour movement and others.

The first book of this new season is The Strangers Among Us: Tales from a Global Migrant Workers Movement, edited by Joseph B. Atkins.  This 136 page book offers readers compelling insight from 10 writers around the world (including LabourStart’s Eric Lee) about migrant workers’ rising consciousness of their rights and ability to assert those rights in a global economy that seems to place all power in the hands of mega-corporations. From tobacco workers in North Carolina to Vietnamese domestic workers in Taiwan and the network of organizations that support them, a movement is emerging that will pose a growing challenge to neoliberal rule.  The book costs just $9.99 and is available from Amazon and most bookshops.

Order your copies here: http://www.labourstart.org/go/strangers  And please – post reviews of the book on Amazon and elsewhere.

Spread the word!

Our next book, new campaign, donations, and more

Books

Work is being done on our book on migrant labour which we hope to launch in Toronto. We have a cover and the inside pages are nearly done.

Campaigns

I’ve asked the KCTU and HKCTU for permission to close down the Korea and China campaigns, both of which have been running for a long time.
A new campaign in support of Turkish union GIDA-IS is about to go live.
The campaign submission page has a new field for videos so these can be incorporated into future campaigns.
I did the monthly review of translations into our major languages and identified some problems, especially with German campaigns.

Correspondents

Weekly mailings to all correspondents continue. One focussed on the use of states and regions in news stories; the other encouraged the 90% who’ve been inactive to get active.

Donations

We received a large donation from a branch of Unite the Union in the UK. The Education International and UNI have also made substantial donations to us.

News

Mahesh pointed out a problem with tweeting a news story with a apostrophe in the title.

Radio

I have submitted weekly programmes to WINS on the terrorist attacks in Brussels and the new crackdown on independent unions in Egypt.

Upcoming

On Thursday, I’ll be speaking on a panel with a leader of Unite the Union and Amnesty International’s Shane Enright on corporate campaigning, in London.

The last 37 days – a lot to report …

I had wanted these to be fortnightly reports — but it’s hard to keep that going with so much happening. So, apologies for the delay. Here’s what’s happened in the last five weeks:

CAMPAIGNS

  • We asked KCTU if we can close down their 3-month-old campaign; they’ve asked us to keep it going and we will.
  • Launched two new campaigns on one day (Iran and Morocco), both concerning individuals we’d already campaigned for in the past.
  • We closed three campaigns — Mastepan (Estonia), Nermin (Libya) and Ewado (Djibouti); we reported on both in the mass mailing that went out today.  We also heard very positive news about a campaign we did with WAC in defense of a Palestinian trade union activist.
  • We launched a very large campaign demanding justice for Giulio Regeni. This came at the suggestion of our Italian comrades, and was quickly followed by support from the IUF and a positive statement also from the ITUC.  This campaign soared to 10,000 messages very quickly and continues to grow.
  • We continued to support the ITUC’s Ratify the Protocol campaign.

RADIO

We’re now submitting weekly 2 1/2 minute reports to the Workers Independent News Service (WINS) in the US. This is in addition to our ongoing cooperation with Radio Labour, based in Canada.

FINANCES

We received a generous donation from Building and Woodworkers International.

EVENTS

I spoke at a meeting of communications staffers of European unions in Gdansk, Poland last week.

CORRESPONDENTS

We’ve resumed regular mailings to correspondents, which will take place every week — after a gap of nearly 10 months.

BOOKS

The complete manuscript for the next LabourStart book, The Strangers Among Us, has been received and we’re currently formatting it. We hope to have a book launch event at our conference in Toronto.

CONFERENCE

Speaking of which — we have a large number of workshop proposals and 371 people signed up to attend; there’s an organizing committee and an intern hired, and we’ll soon have an agenda.

PUBLICITY

At the suggestion of the British TUC, we submitted a nomination form for the SMK Campaigners Awards; they will decide by the end of February and their ceremony in the House of Lords will take place on 13 April.

TRANSLATIONS

We need a new Spanish translator as our comrade David has fallen ill; we got several dozen volunteers for the job.

Campaigns, conference, donations, mailing list growth – and much more

Campaigns:
We’ve asked the ITF for permission to close the Estonia campaign after 3 months. The campaign had over 8,900 supporters and appeared in 15 languages. Once this closes, we’ll only have 3 active global campaigns running.
As our Spanish translator has been ill, we need to find a new one urgently. I’m working on this today. None of our recent campaigns have appeared in Spanish, unfortunately.
We closed the Kyrgyzstan campaign after more than 4 months. The campaign had 7,752 supporters and appeared in 15 languages.
We posted translations our China campaign in several more languages. The campaign currently has just over 7,000 supporters and appears in 16 languages.
We publicized an IUF campaign (on Turkey) to our list, and used the opportunity to explain why we’d closed our recent Iran and China/Israel campaigns (with victories in both cases.)

Conference:
The conference opens in 108 days. We have 256 people registered from dozens of countries. In the next week or two we’ll have some details about workshops, topics and speakers and will do more publicity.

Donations:
UNISON in the UK has decided to donate £1,000 to LabourStart.
We’ve also been in discussions with the FNV in the Netherlands about joint work, possibly including a donation.
I will be following up with GUFs which have not donated recently.

Mailing list:
We picked up 624 new subscribers this month, mostly to the English list.

Publications:
Everything is coming together for our next book, edited by Joe Atkins, on migrant workers. We should have all we need by the end of this month, and the book should be available sometime in February (and of course for sale at our conference in Toronto).
I wrote to colleagues at the International Institute for Social History (where I participated in an all-day workshop in December) about collaborating on various projects, including a Global Labour Calendar.

Radio:
We’ve been asked by WINS (the Workers Independent News Service, based in the US) to contribute a 2.5 minute program every week and will do so. They’ve partnered with National Public Radio in the US and believe that their show will now reach an audience of 750,000 to 1,000,000. In addition to this, we continue to work closely with, and provide a weekly show for, RadioLabour based in Canada.

Ratify the Protocol:
We promoted this ITUC campaign to our mailing lists in English, Swedish and French, managing to crash their server in the process. Our efforts have more than doubled the number of people who’ve signed up. We also arranged translation of the campaign into several additional languages for them.

Twitter:
We had an exchange with a couple of senior staff at Twitter about a possible LabourStart involvement in their new Moments project; at the moment, this won’t happen but may down the road.

LabourStart’s first-ever strategic retreat

On 18-20 September, about 25 LabourStart senior correspondents and translators, together with partners from the global union federations, met at the offices of the German national trade union centre in Brussels for our first-ever strategic retreat.

It was a meeting with few speeches and lots of discussion and resulted in a long action plan, including the creation of a very small Executive and a number of working groups.

The Executive members (pictured below) are Espen Løken, Andrew Casey, Kirill Buketov, Silvana Pennella, Eric Lee (editor), Gisela Neunhöffer, and Derek Blackadder.

executive

More details to follow in the next few weeks.

Here are some other highlights of the last two weeks (in alphabetical order by subject) …

Bank: Our bank, the trade-union-owned Unity Trust, has changed its sort code. If you need to make transfers to our account, write to ericlee@labourstart.org and I’ll send you the new details.

Books: I have ordered, and will be distributing, 60 copies of our red book on online campaigning at the upcoming FES event on online campaigning in Berlin, early next month.

Campaigns:

  • We launched a new campaign in support of workers in Kyrgyzstan, working together with IndustriAll.
  • Mulberry, the target of our current Turkey campaign, has written to everyone who sent a message laying out their side of the story. IndustriALL will be giving us a response.
  • We are in discussions with FIM, the musicians’ GUF, about a possible campaign in support of their affiliate in Cameroon.
  • We sent out a mass mailing in English to promote our victory in Aeroflot — and to encourage people to sign up to all our current campaigns.
  • Though not a formal campaign, we gave extensive publicity on the site and on social media to the death in custody of an Iranian trade union activist, Shahrokh Zamani.

Conference: Our Global Solidarity Conference will be held in Toronto in May 2016. More details coming soon.

Inside LS (this blog): I’ve tried to fix the automated mailings of new posts from here so that the subject line isn’t always “Breaking News” — we’ll know in a moment if that worked.

Mailing lists: We added 193 new subscribers this week, 245 last week, and 580 the week before that, for total of 1,018 — mostly to the English list.

Portuguese/Brazilian LS: We’ve gotten our Facebook and Twitter feeds going now. We also now have a ‘What is LS?’ page there in Portuguese.

Outreach:

  • The German national trade union centre DGB has a major article on LabourStart in their magazine, both the print and online versions.
  • I completed the text of an interview about LS for an Italian language magazine published in Luxemburg.
  • I was invited to speak at two meetings of Waltham Forest UNISON in North London, and publicized our campaigns, giving out our flyers to a few dozen members.
  • Several of us met in Brussels with the head of communications of the European Trade Union Confederation and discussed cooperation.

UnionBook: We’ve had to migrate control of the domain name (unionbook.org) from our previous provider, and managed to get this to work, though the site was offline for several hours. We’ve removed all references to LabourStart from its front page as we consider next steps for this social network.

Summer’s over – and LabourStart gets busy again

It’s not been much of summer here in London, but then again, it never is.

Here’s how we’ve spent the last 3 weeks:

Campaigns

We launched one in support of port workers in Gdansk, together with Solidarnosc and the ITF. As today, it has 7,045 supporters and appears in 14 languages, including Polish.

We also launched a new campaign in support of striking workers at the National Gallery in London, together with PSI and the PCS union in Britain. After just a week, the campaign has 6,140 supporters and appears in 9 languages.

We closed down the China campaign, launched in June. It had 10,373 supporters. The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions told us that the campaign helped “to spread out the message and to draw attention to the imprisoned labour activists” and “although we did not hear any feedback from the Chinese government, there is one [piece of] legislation which was mentioned in this statement restricting the operation and international connection of NGOs in mainland was postponed.”

After closing the recent Hungary campaign, we receive this from the union: “Tamás Járási, president of MCDSz, thanks all those who supported this campaign. The company was upset by it, and told workers it was not a ‘true’ campaign but ‘only a spam driven from London’, and apparently complained to the Dutch ambassador about it. The union judged the campaign to be a success, and said it strengthened morale among the workers. Meanwhile, the struggle continues.”

We have been asked for help by a union in Congo and have passed this on to UNI, who are looking into it.

We’ve agreed to help BWI with a campaign in the Gulf region later this month.

An Iran solidarity group is keen to have us help with a particular prisoner; we’ve raised this with friends at Amnesty International.  It is not clear which GUF could be called upon to support this particular prisoner.

We had a request for a campaign from the Colombia Solidarity Campaign, but have not heard anything back from them after we asked some questions.

We also had a request for a campaign from Zimbabwe that stalled, and we await answers.

Mailing lists

We’ve improved the layout of mailings to our English list to give readers the chance to sign up to campaigns they missed, to donate to LabourStart, and more.

There was an attempt to add over 100 fake addresses to one of our lists, but we spotted it and spent some time dealing with the problem. We’ll need to tighten up security on our campaigns form to prevent this happening in future.

Books

We’ve resumed our partnership with unionized bookshop Powells.com with a low-key publicity campaign for a ‘book of the month’. This has led to a bit of an overhaul of our state news pages, with the country news pages coming next. (See the US states to see what I mean, for example Kentucky.)

Our Global Labour Movements book is currently being translated into Burmese (by the ILO office in Burma), into Portuguese (by Euan, our correspondent in Brazil) and Canadian (well, a Canadian edition) by Derek. The book is already available in English and French.

Events

Our events module wasn’t working on some pages (e.g., Canada, Portuguese) but is now, having been fixed.

Talks & other publicity

I have been invited to speak about LabourStart campaigns to UNISON Waltham Forest, in North London.

I will also be interviewed by an Italian-language magazine based in Luxemburg, about LabourStart, thanks to Silvana.

Apps

Andy has done the translation so that our next Android app will appear in French – in addition to the versions we have in English, Norwegian and Esperanto.

Global Solidarity Conference 2016

We’re still planning on this happening next spring in Toronto, and are waiting to confirm a final date.

Retreat

A lot of work was done by myself and others to prepare for next week’s Strategic Retreat in Brussels. More here when the Retreat is over.

Iran, Turkey, Morocco, Malaysia, Norway, Burma and Transnistria – another week goes by at LabourStart

esmailCampaigns:

We launched a new campaign demanding the release of a jailed Iranian teacher trade union leader, Esmail Abdi, which instantly became one of our largest. The campaign has 6,700 supporters after less than two days online. Canadian teachers unions have launched a Thunderclap to help build support for this.  If you have a Twitter or Facebook account, please sign up to support this and spread the word about it.

We’ve also been asked to support a campaign in Turkey and Morocco this week as well. We’re waiting to hear from the IFJ and EFJ about a possible campaign in defense of a journalist in Transnistria who is a LabourStart correspondent.

I did a followup mailing on the Malaysia forestry workers campaign in English. That campaign is well over 8,000 messages sent, making it our second largest current campaign.  But I expect the Iran campaign to overtake it in a day or two.  Followup emails sent a week after we do the initial mailing are important, and I always do them in English.  If the translators for our other large lists (French, German, Spanish) want to do the same, it might help get several hundred additional supporters for our campaigns.

Mailing lists:

We picked up 974 new subscribers this week following the launch of our Iran campaign. We’re now have 132,173 subscribers to our various lists.

Social networks:

Our Facebook page now has 10,021 likes. I’ve stopped paying for advertising and growth from today will be organic. That ad campaign cost us $95.29 and generated 583 new page likes.

Apps:

Our Android app in Norwegian is now nearly done — just a couple more tweaks and it will go live on Google Play. We’ll begin work on other languages, using this as the template.

Books:

The ILO office in Burma needed a Word version of our global labour movement book; this has been found and sent to them.

Breakthrough in Europe, and more …

eescYesterday, thanks to the initiative of Silvana, I was invited to address the regular meeting of the Workers Group of the European Economic and Social Committee, a gathering of nearly 100 trade union leaders from all over Europe.  LabourStart was given 30 minutes on the agenda and we followed their adoption of a statement on Greece.  I spoke and showed a PowerPoint presentation (see it here as a PDF), and we distributed LabourStart flyers to all delegates.  There was a lively discussion, and some were quite familiar with our work and praised it.  Others were introduced to LabourStart for the first time and are keen to work with us, including the Lithuanian delegation.

Following the online campaigning course last week in Hattingen, Germany, we’ve heard from two participants — one from Malta who has begun translating our campaigns into Maltese, and one from the European Federation of Journalists who will be working with us on our next campaign.

Our Malaysia campaign continues to grow and is up to 6,459 supporters as of mid-day today.

Thanks to our ongoing ad campaign, we’re nearly up to 10,000 fans on Facebook — we have picked up 247 new fans in the last 8 days, and have just 110 to go.

We’ll be able to revive the Labour Video of the Year competition thanks to our ongoing partnership with the London Labour Film Festival, which takes place this year in September.  More details soon.

The ILO office in Burma has asked permission to translate our book on the Global Labour Movement into Burmese and publish it there.  We’ve agreed.

Finally, I visited this week with a London-based web design company which organized the recent Hack Day at Mozilla which had a trade union theme and at which we made a presentation.  They’re keep to help with with technological issues and have some very interesting ideas (and a wealth of experience).  We’re considering sharing office space with them, so this could be the beginning of a kind of partnership which could help us enormously.

 

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.

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.