Category: Publications

Weekly Roundup: Massive growth in the number of Asian languages for our campaigns

Asbestos campaign: This is now live in more languages than any other recent campaign we’ve done, thanks to APHEDA’s helping getting translations of the campaign and mailing in Indonesian, Japanese, Hindi, Vietnamese, etc. We expect to add even more Asian languages as a result, including Urdu. Some of these lists are being mailed to for the first time in years. A number of global unions, including IndustriALL and the ITUC, have publicly called for a global asbestos ban this week. As of this morning, the campaign has 5,728 supporters and is running in 18 languages.

Kazakhstan campaign: This too went live in a big way this week. We have the full support of the ITUC and IndustriALL, and the IUF did a mailing to its Russian language list to promote the campaign. This morning the campaign had 4,469 supporters and appears in 6 languages so far with more translations on the way.

Madagascar campaign: This campaign is already running on the ITF site, but they have begun publicising the version on LabourStart. We’ll begin our publicity shortly.

Somalia campaign: The journalists’ union has asked for our help; expect a new campaign in the next few days.

UK: We went live with our new UK LabourStart Facebook page, publicising it on the social network itself for now; as of this morning it has 74 likes. One of the things we’ve been able to publicise there is a new podcast done by former LabourStart intern Edd Mustill. We’ll soon do a mailing to our UK list to promote this.

Mailing lists: I did two imports this week, adding people who support our campaigns, with a total of 304 new subscribers, mostly to the English list.

Publications: I’ve begun work to complete the new edition of Campaigning Online and Winning.

Publicity: We’ve begun work on a new flyer — it will be based on our 2014 flyer, with an updated text, to be distributed at union conferences this year. We’re looking into the possibility of creating versions in multiple languages.

Arthur Svensson prize: We’ve been invited to participate in this year’s ceremony in Oslo in June.

Fundraising: BWI has made a generous donation to LabourStart which arrived this week.

Weekly roundup: 1 new campaign, 3 old ones closed, and much more

I haven’t been doing regular updates to Inside LabourStart — but from this week, I want to start. Here’s a roundup of the last 7 days at LabourStart:

CAMPAIGNS

  • We had a problem – for the second time in 4 months – with McAfee blocking access to our campaigns site. After sending them an email (again), they removed the block within 24 hours. I shared the news of this block on social media and to all those (7 subscribers) who complained to me about it.
  • We’ve had a proposal from the Australian unions for a campaign on asbestos. It will go live today or tomorrow.
  • In one of our shortest campaigns here, we protested against the jailing (again) of leaders of Djibouti’s teachers’ union; they were freed on Monday night.
  • With the agreement of our partners in Ukraine, we closed down the campaign in support of Kyiv’s transport workers, which got 8,272 messages sent.
  • After 3 months online, we closed down the Brazilian campaign in support of workers at the University of Sao Paulo.
  • We did a mini-campaign in the UK to build support for the trade union education programme at Ruskin College in Oxford, at the request of the staffers there who have been made redundant. It’s not hosted on our site, which means it’s not the best way to do it, but we got a large number of people to show their support for Ruskin.
  • We helped the IUF promote its campaign in support of Coca-Cola workers in Indonesia – both with a mailing to our list and publicity on the website and on social media.
  • I made a small tweak to the campaigns page so that you are now required to choose a country, and you can’t choose the first choice, which is ‘country’. You must choose an actual country.
  • I’ve begun regularly weekly reviews of our campaigns and mailings, to see if we’re missing any translations in our most popular languages. The only one which is a persistent problem is German and I’ve written to our friends in Berlin in the hope that we can sort this out.

MAILING LISTS

  • We picked up 652 new subscribers this week.
  • Because we had almost 137,000 subscribers on our mailings we pay a lot of money every month to MailChimp. We can save some money by not keeping lists there which we no longer need, so I attempted to bring us below the 135,000 threshhold, which would have saved us $300 a year – but unfortunately could not.

NEWS

  • We now have the “external ActNOW” working – meaning any correspondent can add a link to an online campaign that’s related to a news story. As of this morning, this has been tested and works everywhere.
  • I wrote to all our correspondents telling them about our state/province field, asking them use it where it exists (USA, UK, Australia, South Africa, India, Canada) and if we don’t have it for their country, to let us know and we can add it. We recently learned that in Canada in particular, this is a very popular feature on LabourStart.
  • In addition to that, on all our country news pages for those countries named above, there’s now a drop-down menu for the first time listing states, provinces and regions. This should help raise awareness that we have this feature.

PROMOTING LABOURSTART

  • The British unions BECTU and USDAW offered to let us have a stall at their upcoming conferences and if we can’t attend, to distribute printed material for us.

BOOKS

  • I wrote to all members of the LabourStart executive committee urging people to help get our books, especially the newest one on migrant workers, reviewed on Amazon. This will help boost sales and I encourage everyone reading this to help out.

DONATIONS

  • Finally, we received pledges of donations from TUAC, UNI and BWI. I am sending out reminders to all global union bodies which regularly donate to us, and so far they are all responding affirmatively.

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.