Category: Campaigns

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.

The last two weeks of 2015

Arthur Svensson prize: At the very last minute, LabourStart got nominated for this prestigious prize sponsored by a Norwegian union. Nominations came in from Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Sweden the UK, and at least three global union federations.

Campaigns:

  • Annual report – I’ve written a draft annual report and shared it with members of the LabourStart Executive and am waiting for their responses before releasing a public version.
  • Egypt – we’ve had a campaign request from the CTUWS; they need to edit their text further and we can then launch it.
  • China – we launched a major new campaign at the request of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions.
  • Iran – at the request of the Education International, this campaign was suspended.
  • Kyrgyzstan – I’ve once again asked IndustriALL for permission to close this campaign after 4 months; they had earlier asked for an extension.

Fundraising: We received an additional donation from the FDHT in Geneva, and have submitted a detailed proposal to UNISON in the UK. We’re also following up with GUFs which have not donated for more than a year.

Global solidarity conference: See above.

International Institute for Social History (Amsterdam): I was one of three external “experts” brought in last month to discuss with archivists there the IISH’s collection of labour and socialist archives. Ways LabourStart and the IISH can work together were also discussed.

Twitter: The company has launched a new initiative called Moments which aims to reproduce something like the Facebook news stream; they are looking for content providers to act as partners. I made contact with a senior Twitter executive about this and we’ve exchanged a couple of emails about possibilities.

Wikipedia: LabourStart’s page is under threat. I’ve reported this to members of our Executive and hope that we can take the necessary steps to prevent its deletion.

Campaign updates from Iran, Israel, China, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Turkey – and more …

The first two weeks of December were a busy time for us, especially regarding campaigns.

2016 conference:

Updates will appear on top of Inside LabourStart as we get them.

Campaigns:

At the suggestion of Andy, I’ll be drawing up a short report on how we did with campaigns in 2015, and we can circulate this early in the new year to our lists.

Iran: At the request of the Education International we launched a campaign 3 days ago demanding the release of a jailed teacher trade unionist. But within 1 day, we received reports that he’d ended his hunger strike and was released. We are now waiting for confirmation of this and will then close the campaign.

Israel/China: The deal to import tens of thousands of workers from China to Israel as bonded labour has fallen through, and as a result we’ve been asked to close the campaign. The campaign had 6,263 supporters in 14 languages despite having been online for little more than one week. We’ll be releasing a statement shortly.

Korea: The campaign continues to grow, and as of this morning has over 10,200 supporters, 1,359 of whom supported the Korean-language version.

Kyrgyzstan: I have asked IndustriALL for permission to close this, as more than three months have passed. We’re still waiting for a green light to do this.

Poland: We closed the ITF Poland campaign after three months. The campaign had 7,910 supporters; we don’t have a final message from the ITF about results of our efforts, despite having asked for such a report.

Turkey: We closed down the SF Leather/Mulberry campaign after more than four months with the agreement of IndustriALL. It was a large campaign with 11,571 supporters.

Outreach:

I have been invited next week to participation in a small workshop at the International Institute for Social History in Amsterdam; they are keen to discuss their relationship with the global labour movement and the question of archives.

In February, I’ve been invited to speak in Gdansk at a meeting of European trade union communications officers, organized by the European Trade Union Confederation and the European Trade Union Institute.

Facebook & Twitter:

Our group (not page) is increasingly dominated by a handful of individuals some of whom seem to think that we are connected somehow to the British Labour Party. I have written a sticky post on top of the group for all to see encouraging people to post items about the labour movement. It has had limited success.

Meanwhile, our Canadian feed on Twitter continues to thrive, with over 5,000 followers. (See Derek’s post below.)

Campaigns supporting workers in Estonia, Turkey, India, Yemen, Israel, etc.

Most of the work in the last 13 days has focussed on campaigns:

  • We launched a new campaign at the request of the ITF, in support of workers in Estonia.
  • We’re keeping our Turkey/Mulberry campaign live at the moment at the request of IndustriALL pending some developments there.
  • I wrote to Sharan Burrow at the ITUC offering our help in growing the joint campaign with the ILO “50 for Freedom”. She replied and is happy to have our help.
  • We gave extensive publicity to the IUF’s new PepsiCo campaign on our home page, to our mailing lists, and on social media.
  • We received a campaign request from WAC Ma’an in Israel; this is on hold pending developments in the region and we also await a reply from the Histadrut.
  • We gave publicity to an IFJ campaign in support of kidnapped media workers in Yemen on social media.
  • I completed work on the new Translations Dashboard which is being used by our volunteer translators. It shows who is translating our campaigns, and prevents duplication of effort.

In other news … Continue reading

Thunderclap Results (or lack thereof)

by Derek Blackadder

The following is a section of my regular column (Webwork) in the Canadian labour magazine Our Times. Eric thought it might be of interest and so…

ON HIS WAY TO THE EDUCATION International World Congress in Ottawa in July, Iranian teachers’ union leader Esmail Abdi was arrested by the Iranian police; detained without charge; likely tortured; and almost certainly thinking about the fate of his predecessor, Farzad Kamangar, who was executed after a trial lasting seven minutes. Continue reading

Berlin conference on transnational campaigning by unions

I’ve just returned from a three-day visit to Berlin, where I was invited to represent LabourStart (together with Gisela) at a conference on transnational campaigning for trade unions organized by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES).

bwiberlinOn the final day of the conference, the FES sponsored an event to commemorate the World Day for Decent Work, focussing on the various campaigns conducted by the ITUC and global unions on mega sport events, like the football World Cup and the Olympics.  Tos Anonuevo from BWI, the global union for construction workers, gave a major presentation, and one of his slides (pictured to the left) entitled “Generating support, creating alliances” featured LabourStart right in the center.

We were not in the center of the conference, however, but that didn’t mean that LabourStart didn’t come up again and again.  For example: Continue reading

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 [email protected] 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.