Category: 2014 conference

The last 3 weeks in review: 8-29 July 2014

Summer is NOT a quiet time at LabourStart …

Campaigns:

  • We launched our Gaza Ceasefire campaign on 22 July; it is already our second largest active campaign.
  • We launched a campaign in defense of jailed Iranian trade unionist Reza Shahabi on 10 July.
  • The Ecuador campaign was closed after 3 months.
  • I’ve followed up with the translators for our top 15 languages, trying to make sure that as many campaigns as possible appear in as many languages as possible.
  • We did very well with the recent Turkish Georg Fischer campaign and promoted news of our victory to our list, as did with the victory at LATAM in South America.  That’s two victories this month that we contributed to.
  • Using a voucher we had from Google for some free advertising, we ran ads supporting out Polish LIDL campaign; they were seen by nearly 24,000 people, but only 103 clicked on the link.

Fund-raising:

  • We received a generous donation from Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) and from the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC).
  • We’ve had an offer from a well-known comrade to run a Marathon in Wales in October to raise funds for LS; more details soon.

Events:

  • Our under-utilized Events module just got better — now you can tag an event not only by country, but by state/province as well. You can see the results by checking out our UK/England news page.

News:

  • People noticed that visiting our home page took you to a URL that included ’2013′. This has now been fixed and instead of ’2013′ it says ‘news’. Most people will not have noticed.

Office:

  • I’ve been given warning that we’re to be kicked out of our offices very soon. I visited possible alternatives in Finsbury Park, Bethnal Green and Muswell Hill. I’m leaning towards working from home for a few months, which will save us several thousand pounds.

Speeches:

  • LS has been invited to provide a speaker for a Unifor event in Canada.  Derek will probably do it.
  • Eric has also been invited by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) to help teach a course in Germany in September.

New contacts:

  • A comrade from a group in France called ReACT came to our offices for a meeting; we discussed many ways of cooperating.
  • I had a long meeting in London with the Morocco-based representative of the Solidarity Center; we discussed among other things the possibility of a correspondents’ meeting in the region, maybe in Tunis.
  • I followed up with all those who attended the IndustriALL communicators event last month in Italy, at which I spoke, and invited them to cooperate. Two replied, and we picked up a new correspondent in Cambodia as a result.

 

Books:

  • I’ve been encouraging comrades to post reviews of the Dan Gallin book on Amazon; some have already done so.
  • Even though book sales haven’t been amazing, for the first two months of our current financial year (June-July), book sales have made up about 10% of LabourStart’s income, though this is unlikely to continue.
  • I’ve begun adding reviews to the Gallin book to our page promoting the book — so far, only two.
  • I wrote to everyone who requested a review copy (PDF) and asked them to let me know when their reviews appear.
  • Thanks to Matt Heaney, the book is now on sale at ver.di’s bookshop, both off- and online.
  • I wrote to all 130 people who spoke at our Berlin conference reminding them that we want all their texts for our next book by the end of July.

Photo of the day:

  • For those who post these photos (mostly Derek) there’s now an explanation of how to post country-specific ones. If anyone wants to do this, email me and I’ll explain how it’s done.
  • The photo of the day is also now available on our mobile edition for the first time.

Enough for now … and now back to work …

 

The month in review – 28 May – 8 July

Well, it’s been more than a month — but as I was away on holiday from 22-30 June, I wasn’t able to get this done in late June. In future, I’ll try to have this done monthly. Here are just some highlights …

Campaigns: We launched five campaigns in the last six weeks. These were in support of Korean workers (Samsung), Turkish workers (M&T Reklam), and Peruvian and Argentinian workers (LATAM) – which we won. This week we added two more campaigns in support of workers in Poland. We’ve also closed four campaigns in the same period — Georg Fischer (Turkey), Colombia, Aeroflot (Russia), and Total Call (Morocco).

Conference & finances: We had a bit of followup including media coverage, which is documented elsewhere on Inside LabourStart. I’ve now completed all payments relating to the event — and can tell you that the conference was great, but also costly. We need to raise quite a bit to refill our coffers.

Books & other publications: We’ve now sold well over 3,000 books. As Google offered us a very big prize if we started running ads again, we’ve launched a modest campaign to promote our most recent book. I’m working on producing the conference book, Global Crisis, Global Solidarity. It should be ready by late summer. We won’t be doing a 2015 Global Labour Calendar (it’s too late in the year now to get it right, and on time), but we are discussing doing a 2016 version.

Correspondents: We added a number of new ones from the USA, Spain, Israel, Germany, and Poland. One or two complained that they submitted applications which we never saw. I’ve not been able to figure out how that could happen, but instead have put in a warning to people applying to become correspondents that if they don’t hear from us shortly, to email me directly.

About LabourStart: This page hadn’t been updated for years — I gave it a quick refresh last week.

First of the month problem: The French news page, which is now modelled on the English one, was behaving badly, not showing news, on the first of every month. This has now been fixed.

Staff: Our second intern, Tom, is no longer working for us. Gisela, who was on the payroll for a few months building the Berlin conference, is now happily unemployed (for a while at least).

Office: We’ll need to move by the end of October. I’m looking into alternatives now.

Actual press coverage of a LabourStart conference

Every day we’re learning about new media coverage of our Berlin conference — and there’s probably more out there that we don’t know about.  Here’s what I’ve come across so far — if you know of any others, please pass them on!

20 stories and videos so far …

English

Solidarity.  A very positive account under the headline “Forging global solidarity.”

Talking Union.  Ran this video showing Dan Gallin launching his book at our conference.

LabourStart.  Our own brief account.

WAC-Ma’an Israel.  A translation of the Hebrew account of our conference.

 

Hebrew

WAC Ma’an.  The English translation of this appears below.

 

German

ver.di News.  This was seen by activists in the 2 million plus member union; in addition, our conference demo was written up for the union’s membership magazine, which is seen by all members.

ver.di publik 1 – June 2014. Mainly about our demonstration in support of workers at Edeka and in their supply chain.

ver.di publik 2 – July 2014. A whole page about the conference.

Junge Welt. Had a couple of articles about our conference.

Jungle World. You can see the full article here.

Neues Deutschland.  You can see the full article here.

Labournet Germany.  A collection of materials including links to other press coverage.

AK – Analyse und Kritik. An article in the print issue of No. 595.

http://www.ipg-journal.de. A short mentioning in an article about the series  of Labour conferences in Berlin in May 2014.

Sozialistische Zeitung, SoZ. An article online and in the print issue of No. 6/2014

Sprachrohr, the journal of verdi’s media and communications sector in Berlin/Brandenburg. An interview in No. 3/2014,  see page 7.

 

 

Norwegian

LO-Media (trade union news service) According to the Google Translate service, which for some reason works really well with this article, the sub-title says it all: “Anyone can come, everyone can speak, no votes and nothing is approved: Labour Start Conference is the opposite of a normal convention.”

 

Videos

„Wütende Orangen“ fordern Verantwortung, by verdi.tv, 28.5.2014

Dan Gallin on the international labor movement, on Talking Union, 10.6.2014,

Various videos from the conference on the  LabourStart-Youtube-Kanal

 

Post-conference followup … in Addis Ababa

addis

 

More than 40 hotel workers from Sheraton and Hilton Hotels in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia met and learned about LabourStart from Dawit, our new correspondent there — who attended our conference in Berlin.  Here’s his report:

The objective was to introduce labourstart to Sheraton and Hilton Addis Ababa employees and if possible to other people in another organization.  During the meeting the participants were from Sheraton Addis trade union and councils 9 and 30 members respectively.  In addition we also include 2 members of Hilton Addis trade union members whom they have total members of 500 employee in their organization.  In Sheraton we have 650 members. During the training and introduction the participant were surprised when they heard about labourstart global efforts for the right of worker.  Each of 40 participants took the web site of labourstart and to disseminate it into their email friends, members and to announce on the employees notice board.”

 

 

Berlin: The good news keeps coming …

Here are some preliminary numbers from the conference that Gisela has correlated for us:

  • 360 people signed the participants lists, of which 46% women. Not too bad a quota although 4% short of ideal :).  (slightly cheating because voluntary interpreters signed up as well and they were overwhelmingly female. But a) they were interested as well b) it doesn’t make a huge difference). Great job!
  • We had 163 contributions in the programme (speakers/facilitators). Some people who spoke in several sessions are counted several times here. Of these 163, 71 or 44% were women. Again not bad, but a bit short of our goal :).  
  • People came from 48 countries. 

We’re currently working on a lot more conference followup including:

  1. Getting reports from all the workshops and getting these up on the web
  2. Getting feedback forms from a far greater number of participants — only 29 so far, so we’ll need to send out reminders.  I think a reasonable target is 20%, or 72 feedback forms back.
  3. Getting as many of those 163 contributions up on the web — and getting the best of them ready for publication in our next book — Global Crisis, Global Solidarity (publication date: September 2014)
  4. Continuing to thank everyone, to pay outstanding bills, and to followup with all the great ideas we got at the conference and aftewards

The month in review – 25 April – 28 May

lsberlinpanel

Conference:

The most important thing that happened this month was, of course, the LabourStart Global Solidarity Conference that took place last weekend in Berlin.  We’re preparing a report on that right now, so nothing further to say here.

Books:

We published our 6th book — Solidarity, the Selected Essays of Dan Gallin. Sales are approaching 300 copies after little more than two weeks. A Kindle edition will go live later this week.

Work has already begun on our next book — Global Crisis, Global Solidarity — a collection of articles and speeches from our conference.

Campaigns:

We launched four campaigns in the last month:

  • Germany: Solidarity with strikers at Autogrill – now closed
  • Philippines: Stop union-busting at NXP Semiconductors – still active
  • Indonesia: Support strikers at one of the world’s largest paper mills – still active
  • Turkey: For the right to celebrate May Day in Taksim Square – now closed

There is now a live running total showing for active campaigns — there is no need to do anything to show this.

The mycampaigns.cgi script — which is what we link to at the bottom of our mass mailings in English — was broken, but has now been fixed. It’s an important way to encourage people to support our other campaigns.

Finally, the display of news stories on campaign pages has also now been fixed.

Office:

As we anticipate the closure of the Lee Valley Technopark, we are currently looking for new, inexpensive offices in London.

Labour News Network:

This has now been revived. See here for details.

Publicity:

We have a new and growing list of 239 media contacts and have been doing regular mailings to them. We mailed 6 times to them in the last month. Every campaign launch now includes a press release from us.

Before the Berlin conference we printed out full-colour flyers advertising LabourStart in English, German and Russian. These were distributed at May Day events in London and Berlin, and many copies were taken away from our Berlin conference.  We also printed and distributed widely postcards advertising Dan Gallin’s new book.

We had stalls displaying our books and other publications at the 3rd World Congress of the International Trade Union Confederation in Berlin earlier this month, at the DGB (German national trade union centre) congress, and at May Day in Berlin.

The month in review – 28 March – 25 April 2014

Berlin conference: We’re now just 4 weeks away from the conference opening on Friday, 23 May. The number of people registered since I last reported 4 weeks ago has gone up by 85 — we now have 579 registrants. It is very likely that this will pass 600 in the next week.

The majority of registrants (300) come from just 11 countries — Germany (129), the UK (61), USA (20), Russia (18), Canada (16), the Netherlands (15), Switzerland (12), and Ukraine (11). There are 17 coming from three Nordic countries. More than 30% of all registrants in the last month came from Germany.

There are some large delegations registered from developing countries, though we’re not certain how many of these people will actually be able to attend. These include: Nigeria (31), Liberia (25), Bangladesh (20), Pakistan (20), and Cameroon (17).

In total, we have delegations registered from 70 countries.

The 61 coming from the UK is larger than the total number of participants in our London conference in 2008, and the 36 coming from North America probably exceeds the total number who attended our Washington conference in 2009.

LabourStart will have a stall at the ITUC World Congress which is happening in Berlin just before our event. In addition, a number of LabourStart correspondents will be attending the ITUC as journalists. If you can be at the ITUC event, please let me know. We’ll need help staffing that stall and raising LabourStart’s profile there in general.

Publicity: We now have a global media list with over 200 addresses on it. We’ve now sent out our first three press releases to that list. If you have any suggestions for journalists who should be added to the list, please send them on.

We’ve now prepared a new LabourStart flyer which will be published initially in English, German and Russian. Thanks to Gisela and Derek who helped write the text and to Masha who did the graphic design. If you’re coming to Berlin, please make sure to leave room in your luggage to take copies of the flyer home with you.

For the second time, LabourStart is a sponsor of the London Labour Film Festival which takes place next week. We have a large ad in the festival programme, and we did two mailings to our UK list urging people to attend.

Books: We’re nearly ready with Book 4 (Dan Gallin) — this will be ready for sale at the book launch in Berlin.

Campaigns: We’ve launched just two new campaigns in the last six weeks — supporting Georg Fischer workers in Turkey and union leaders sentenced to jail in Ecuador, launched this week. Both campaigns are growing well and quickly.

We closed down the Crown Holdings (Canada) campaign after some 4 months online. We are keeping a couple of older campaigns going at the request of their initiators — Aeroflot and Cambodia. Both have very large numbers of supporters (+12K).

In addition, we’ve helped give extensive publicity to campaigns launched by our friends. We just did a mass mailing yesterday to support the IUF campaign for North Carolina tobacco workers. We also gave extensive publicity to the Amnesty International campaign in support of jailed union leaders in Bahrain.

Finally, we launched a Canada-only campaign last month — also in support of the Crown Holdings workers, but targetting the premier of Ontario.

News: As I reported earlier this month, there’s now a new, quick way for correspondents to add news links to LabourStart. The number of active correspondents has grown; in mid-March we only had 76 actives and today that number is 92. We need to continue working to ensure that many more LabourStart correspondents post news regularly.

Fundraising: April is one of the months that we tend to do a fundraising appeal and our totals this time were disappointing. The total donations for this month are nearly £6,400 — more than £1,000 less than the average we get for the months we do such appeals (though considerably better than we did in July 2013). I discussed these issues in a post below, and have decided to move toward annual, rather than quarterly, appeals.

In addition to that money, we have received a pledge of yet another donation from Unite Here (in the USA). And we’ve received substantial support from German trade unions and foundations for our Berlin conference. Finally, we don’t appear to have won any of the three competitions we were entered into (see my post from 19 March). Darn.

The weeks in review – 17-28 March

Technical innovations: This week we made two technical steps forward. The first is a web app for smartphones and tablets that’s now been tested on iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry smartphones and seems to work. The second is our own URL shortening system (like tinyurl.com or bit.ly) that allows us to create addresses like www.labourstart.org/go/peru.

Berlin conference: The number of registrations continues to grow — we’re now up to 494, up 46 in the last 11 days. The number of German participants (crucial if the conference is to be a success) is up to 103, a gain of 12 in this period. We’re currently working on sending visa invitation letters to several dozen registrants who requested it, sorting out solidarity housing for those who can’t afford the hotel or hostel, building the nearly 50 workshops that are planned, getting speakers for all 3 plenaries, organizing the Saturday night party, raising the money to do all this, and much more. The organizing committee in Berlin is growing and meeting regularly. There’s an international Skype conference call each week that Eric, Tom, Gisela and Derek have been holding as well. We have less than 8 weeks to go …

Campaigns: We haven’t launched any new campaigns in the last couple of weeks, but our Casablanca campaign is going quite well and we think we’ll get one of the five sacked call centre workers to come to speak in Berlin. We had a big surge in supporters for our Rana Plaza campaign yesterday after announcing that a couple of companies had agreed to pay compensation. We promoted — for the first time — our new social media links on the campaign page, and this has generated a number of Facebook likes (1,187) and Tweets (185) for that campaign. Not surprisingly, the links to promote campaigns on Google+ and LinkedIn are proving far less popular. We closed our Kazakhstan campaign a few days ago as well (see report by Kirill below).

News: A couple of weeks ago we had only 76 active correspondents (out of some 700); following my appeal to them to get more active, we now have 99 active ones, who have posted 5,003 news stories in March — an average of 179 news stories every day this month, with each correspondent contributing an average of 51 stories, or nearly two per day. The most active correspondents in March were (in order): Derek Blackadder (Canada), Andrew Casey (Australia), Andy Funnell (France), Roy Nitzberg (USA), Patrick Craven (South Africa), S. G??bi?ski (Poland), Efraim Davidi (Israel), and our intern, Tom Harris (UK).

Prizes and competitions: LabourStart has been entered into three international competitions the results of which we will know within a month. See below for details.