Category: Campaigns

A quiet 10 days

As I was travelling for the last week, it’s been a relatively quiet couple of weeks for LabourStart so far.

At the request of the British Trades Union Congress (TUC), I’ve done a mailing today to our English list only promoting their Qatar campaign.

Our mailing lists continue to grow.  Today I added 928 new supporters — 729 of them to our English list, and 199 to the other lists.  Our Hungarian list grew by 50% thanks to our campaign.

We’ve had an offer to begin translating our campaigns and news page into Sinhalese (for Sri Lanka) and will be working on this.

We did a mailing to our Canadian list promoting various Canada-only campaigns.

Our campaigns server was done for a few hours, but our provider, a workers coop in Sheffield, was on the case quickly and got us up and running.

In the next few days I’ve got an extensive to-do list (including answering dozens of emails that came in while I was away), and will update you in a week or so with much more news.

Another week supporting workers in Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, etc.

Campaigns:

  • We’ve done most of the mass mailings for the two campaigns launched last week, and gotten them translated into 11 languages, and the results so far are 5,079 supporters for the Iran campaign and 5,037 for the Hungary campaign. A reminder mailing to more than 70,000 on the English list went out yesterday.
  • After 4 months online, we closed the Holcim Lafarge campaign, which had 8,580 supporters — IndustriALL says: “Clearly the campaign made its impact and was noted by the management of Lafarge and Holcim. Thanks to workers’ mobilisations both on site and through LabourStart we hope there will be more readiness on the side of the management to our demands now.”
  • A possible Indonesia campaign was to go live today, but is on hold for now.
  • I’ve posted information on movements.org both about our existing Iran campaign and offering help — so far, no takers.

Online campaigning course: Just 4 days left to register — for European trade unionists only: http://www.labourstart.org/go/etui

Activating correspondents: The number of active correspondents increase by 63% following my mailing to all correspondents. In addition, we’ve picked up a few new correspondents.

Facebook Group: Our group continues to expand with many new participants (8,436 members today) and quite a high level of activity. There’s been a problem of spammers, but our team of volunteer admins is on the case.

London Hackathon: There’s an event taking place on 12 June at the Mozilla Foundation offices in London at which people with programming skills will work on pro-labour tools — and we’ll be there and are part of the planning.  I met with the organizer this week.  On the event website they write: “The aim is to provide a forum where people can meet, share ideas and start building some apps that will help workers to organise.”  This could result in getting some things done for LabourStart which have long been on our collective to-do list.

Followup on the police complaint in Israel regarding the LabourStart campaign: We’ve been asked by International Union Rights to do an article on this for next month.

What a week! Police investigate, a correspondent is arrested, new campaigns and solidarity cookies

cookies

New campaigns launched:  We’re launching two new campaigns today — one in defense of jailed trade union activists in Iran, the other in support of workers in Hungary dealing with a union-busting Austrian multinational.

Online campaigning course: There are just 11 days left to register for the ETUI / LabourStart course on online campaigning – for European trade unionists only.  Details are here.

LabourStart campaign subject of police investigation: Asaf Adiv of the Workers Advice Center in Israel reports that a police complaint was filed regarding our campaign in support of Palestinian workers at the Zarfaty garage.  Asaf writes:

The Israeli Police are finding it difficult to deal with Ethiopian immigrants who demonstrate in Tel Aviv against their discrimination, but yesterday they found the time to interrogate me on charges that I was responsible for the LabourStart email campaign last summer to support the struggle of Palestinian workers in the Zarfaty Garage. The complaint of the Garage owner to the police against me as the leader of WAC MAAN union that organizes the workers, came after their previous complaint against the chair of the workers committee in the Garage Hatem Abuzeadeh was canceled and proved to be fake. On May 12 WAC MAAN and Hatem’s lawyers will be in court to fight to reinstate the leader of the workers to his job in the last 17 years.

LabourStart correspondent arrested: One of our correspondents, Sergei Ilcenko, has apparently been arrested by the KGB (yes, the KGB) of Transnistria, back in March.  We’re trying to get more information about this and there may be a need for a campaign.

Survey of correspondents: At the beginning of the year we did a survey of LabourStart correspondents (most of the work done, I think, by Gisela).  Martina has now done a full report of what we learned, available to download in English or German.

Correspondents: I did a mailing yesterday to all our correspondents to encourage them to get active.  As a result, we had a 25% increase in the number of correspondents active in May, and several wrote to me asking for their passwords, or promising to get more active.

Annual survey of trade union use of the net: We missed the one in 2014, but are ready to go with a new version, probably later this week.

Fundraising: We raised a few hundred dollars more this week, and two global union federations promised to repeat their donations from 2014, which could amount to another £5,000.

stall

May Day in Berlin: Here’s a report from Martina — this should help explain the cookies, above:

“How many people worldwide are in LabourStart’s mailing list?” That was one of the questions from our wheel of fortune at our LabourStart stall in Berlin. The right answer: about 130,000. The share of Germans is 5,000. One more reason to become active in Germany and promote LabourStarts unique digital platform for the international trade union movement and workers’ solidarity.

We had a busy and nice day at our stall. We’ve talked to a lot of people about LabourStart, offered our nice self-made cookies. The wheel of fortune was always running and gave us a good opportunity to explain what LabourStart is about and that online campaigns make a difference in organising union power internationally. Those we could convince to join LabourStart mailing list were able to register online at our stall.

Reiner Hoffmann (DGB General Secretary) visited our LabourStart stall, too. There he met and had a chat with volunteers from LabourStart Network Berlin and some students of the Global Labour University.

Thanks to Heiko (DGB Berlin) for his amazing support. Thanks to the bakers. Thanks to all visitors at the stall.

May Day 2015: Focus on fundraising for LabourStart

First of all, happy May Day to all of you.

Second, here’s a report on the last 10 days activity on LabourStart:

Much of our work in the last week has focussed on fundraising. Our mailing went out in English (twice) and Czech, Danish, Esperanto, Dutch, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Russian, Swedish, and Turkish. Thanks so much to all our volunteer translators, and to several of you for helping me to draft the text of the appeal.

The total amount raised in the first week is £2,602 (PayPal); £25 (cheque); and £5 (bank transfer) – for a total of £2,632.

We’ve had no new campaigns recently, though we’ve been approached now by unions in Hungary to launch one, and in China – to support an existing one. We’ve finally closed down the Turkish hospital campaign, which had been reopened at the request of our German comrades.

Other than that, much of the time has been spent working on our upcoming retreat, on a research project that some of you will be involved in, and a possible joint project with the New Unionism Network. More on all that soon.

Spring begins at LabourStart …

It was my intention to update the blog weekly, but that hasn’t happened for the last few weeks, so here are short reports on the first month of spring …

Apps

  • English: Andromo has made the fix we requested which will stop closed campaigns from showing in the app.  I need to test this fully the next time we close a campaign, which will be next week, and once I’m satisfied that this works, the new version of the app will go live in the Google Play store.
  • Norwegian: I did a lot of work on the Norwegian language Android app, which will serve as a model for our apps in other languages.  It’s very nearly done.

Campaigns

  • Even though the Rio Tinto campaign has been closed down, I’ve helped IndustriALL keep up the pressure by publicizing and participating in their recent protest in London at the Rio Tinto AGM.
  • The closed Turkish hospital campaign was reopened for a couple of weeks at Gisela’s request, as Ver.di was going to help publicize the campaign. Unfortunately, after a full week online, only 6 additional supporters have signed up to the campaign.
  • At the request of IndustriALL, I’ll let the Holcim campaign run for another few weeks.
  • PSI has helpfully offered to publicize the Swaziland campaign which we launched at the request of the ITUC on 24 March.  That campaign is growing slowly and has just 6,733 supporters today.

Courses

  • European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) course on online campaigning in June: This is a course we helped developed and run, and for the first time we’ve been given the green light to publicize it.  I’ve done this with emails and through social media, repeatedly, in the last few weeks.  LabourStart correspondents who are based in Europe should apply to attend.
  • I also publicized the Global Labour University course at their request.

Fundraising

  • We’ll do our annual fundraising appeal next week; I’ve sent around a request for thoughts to a few senior correspondents and will shortly be circulating a draft appeal.

Mailing list

  • This has been growing slowly as we’ve only had one new campaign in this period.  New campaign supporters continue to be added on a weekly basis.

News

  • I don’t normally report on this, but we should never forget how much work is being done every day by our volunteer correspondents.  So far in April (first 20 days), 65 of our 775 volunteer correspondents have posted 4,002 news stories to LabourStart — averaging 200 stories per day, or 61 per correspondent so far this month.  Leading the pack are some very active correspondents including Andrew Casey (809), Olivier Delbeke (718), Derek Blackadder (517), Roy Nitzberg (392) and Ginger Goodwin (203).

Outreach

  • Europe: Thanks to Silvana’s initiative, I’ve now met with senior figures in the European Economic and Social Committee Workers’ Group, and have been invited to address the group — which consists of trade unionists from across Europe — in July.  Two EESC staffers are now LabourStart correspondents.
  • Italy: Silvana has done some excellent work reaching out to Italian trade unions – a more detailed report is coming soon.

Retreat

  • We’ve done a lot of work to prepare for the LabourStart retreat in Brussels in September, working closely with ETUI on this.

Union Made

  • This is a possible new project we might help with – especially with publicity.  We’re working closely with the New Unionism Project on this.  More details soon.

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.