Sep
22
2017
0

A very busy season for online campaigning as we launch 3 new ones

This is the first update in more than two weeks — this was due to my week-long visit to Georgia to launch my book, The Experiment: Georgia’s Forgotten Revolution, 1918-21.

Campaigns:
We have just launched a new campaign at the request of PSI, in support of a trade union leader in Colombia.

We expect to shortly launch two more campaigns at the request of unions in Egypt and Canada.

We closed one campaign — Freeport Indonesia — that ran for more than three months. This was one of our largest campaigns ever, with nearly 15,000 supporters, many of them from Indonesia.

Our translators are struggling to cope with the load of many simultaneous campaigns and for some of our key languages — the ones with large mailing lists — we are falling behind. I have noted that some of our translators always come through on time, even when we are given four campaigns in as many weeks, and written to those to thank them for their effort.

Mailing list:
We added just 70 new campaign supporters in the last two weeks.

Website redesign:
Our friends at Outlandish, the north London web design workers’ coop, have been doing some work for us (on a pro bono basis) and we expect to hear shortly what they have done so far.

Burma/Myanmar:
We’ve begun the process of changing the country name, first in English. At the moment, both names work and soon searching for one will also show results for the other (in a few days).

Georgia:
I was invited to address the congress of the Georgian Trade Union Confederation and did so last week.

India:
We’re working to build closer links with one of our correspondents who’s created a Facebook page for Indian labour news that has 12,000 followers.

USA:
Derek has been making a huge effort to grow our Twitter feed here.  We’re up to 1,145 followers.

LabourStart TV:
We fixed our home page to highlight when a story is a video — even when it’s a top global news story. There is no longer a need for correspondents to include the word ‘video’ in headlines; but do make sure to tag such stories as videos (on the second screen, when adding news).

UnionBook:
Finally, we are done with this, no longer paying for the domain name.

Jul
21
2017
0

Somalia campaign closes; we support Iranian sugar workers

Campaigns:
We closed the Somalia campaign after three months and 5,920 supporters. We’re waiting to hear what effect, if any, our campaign had.
We also did a mass mailing to promote the IUF’s campaign in support of Haft Tapeh sugar workers in Iran, as well as promoting extensively on social media.

Site redesign:
I’m pleased to report that we’re moving forward with a web design cooperative in London, and have discussed a number of changes they will make to modernise and refresh LabourStart. They’ve done some outstanding websites for progressive groups and unions, and are offering their services on a pro bono basis.

Outreach:
I had a long meeting at the TUC with their head of digital, John Wood, and we discussed ongoing cooperation.
I contacted the union official tasked with organising Uber drivers in the UK to see how we can help with their campaign.

Facebook:
We’ve picked up 510 new likes for our Turkish page (a tripling of the number) in just a few days this week thanks to our new ad campaign. We’ve informed 34,960 Turkish Facebook users about LabourStart at minimal cost. The campaign will run for a full month and it looks like after we’re done, our page will have several thousand likes.
Our ad campaign to promote LabourStart TV’s page ended after we picked up 151 new likes, having shown the ad to 4,767 Facebook users in the USA. We’ll probably resume this later this year.

Indonesian language:
We urgently need someone to translate our campaigns and mailings, and fortunately someone has now stepped forward. Indonesian is now one of our largest mailing lists.

Correspondents:
We added one new correspondent, from Canada.

Mailing lists:
Due to a lack of new campaigns, we’ve added only 1 new person to our lists this week.

Jul
15
2017
1

We try to support farm workers in North Carolina, but too little, too late

North Carolina: We were approached by FLOC for help with a campaign, but we approached the IUF and they did the campaign — with our support. Unfortunately, the campaign request came quite late and while we were able to mobilise a few thousand messages of protest (in English only), we were defeated in this fight. FLOC will let us know about next steps.

Mailing lists: We added just 21 new subscribers this week, the result of having no new campaigns.

Finances: The IUF has pledged a donation of £5,000.

Site redesign: We have a meeting set up for next week with a workers’ coop here in London that has been offering us help in redesigning the site.

LabourStart TV: We started an ad campaign on Facebook; the ads were seen this week by 3,810 people, 124 of whom have liked our new page. These are all trade unionists in the USA between the ages of 18-40, the target group for the current campaign.  The page currently has 356 likes.

LabourStart’s Turkish Facebook page: We’re going to be investing in an ad campaign to promote this as well. We currently have 254 followers and the page is being updated regularly.

LabourStart’s UK Facebook page: We’ve stopped the Facebook ad campaign, having shown the ad to 17,338 trade unionists in the UK, 1,477 of whom liked our page.  The page currently has 2,037 likes.

Brazil: We’ve given FTP access to our Brazilian editor and hope to begin showing rotating photos of the day on this page.

WINS: The Workers Independent News Service in the USA reached out to us and we’re discussing ways of improving our join work.

Jul
01
2017
0

LabourStart TV revived

LabourStart TV:
We now have a Facebook page  to help promote our videos (and the web page itself); at the moment Derek and I are the administrators and we can add videos, but others are welcome to join us. The page has 146 likes at the moment, but this will grow quickly.
The page on LabourStart itself has been turned into a live feed of all news stories using video — in English only, but with a plan to roll this out for all other languages shortly. A lot of old stuff has now been removed from that redesigned page.

Campaigns:
We have been approached about a possible campaign in support of Chinese workers in Saipan.
I’ve also had to do a slight design of how we use campaign images on the LabourStart home page; for some languages, that had meant a blank left column — this is now fixed.
We’ve been offered a chance to try out something called PostBug which will allow some campaign supporters to send a paper version of their protest message by snail mail, through a website.

UnionBook: At their request, we have transferred the entire archive to the International Institute for Social History in Amsterdam.

Indonesian: I continue to pursue translators to ensure that we can regularly translate our campaigns and mail to our Indonesian language list — our third largest list.

Esperanto: The magazine of SAT, the global left-wing Esperanto movement, has sent me some interview questions. They will shortly be running an article about LabourStart.

Correspondents: We’ve added another new correspondent from India.

Mailing lists: We added 199 addresses this — 66 of those to the English list, 22 to the Dutch, and 111 to other lists. This is four times as many people as we added to our lists last week.

Site redesign: We have a meeting scheduled with our friends at a workers’ coop in London which has offered to help us out with this. More details soon.

Apr
07
2017
0

Weekly roundup: Asbestos campaign, Facebook UK, site redesign, and more

Campaigns: We launched three new ones – on asbestos (a global campaign), Madagascar, and Kazakhstan. Only the first has gone live with full publicity and translations as there are some issues still to be resolved with the latter two; we’ve gotten over 2,600 messages sent since yesterday evening in support of the asbestos ban. I closed a UK-only campaign launched on behalf of BFAWU (the bakers) — I’m pleased to report that we won this. The previous Kazakhstan campaign was also closed this week.

Mailing list: Without a new campaign, the list barely grows — we picked up just 78 new subscribers this week, most of them for the French list. Matt and Mark in Berlin have offered to join the team posting messages, so our German language mailings should go out quicker.

News: We added one new correspondent from Yemen and one from Brazil.

UK: We’ve set up a LabourStart UK Facebook page and will start promoting it next week; Warren is helping by posting news stories to it. After getting a few complaints about the mailing we did last week in support of Ruskin College, I received a clarification from the person who asked us to do it and shared that with everyone who wrote in.

Website redesign: I followed up with a London-based worker coop which has offered to help us with this; we’ll probably meet up in May to discuss next steps.

Outreach: I reached out to a major Irish trade and we had a phone call to discuss ways we can help them and work together. I also had a long conversation with a US based campaigning group and we’re looking for ways we can work together.

Social media: We used Facebook and Twitter this week to highlight a number of important issues including the ITUC’s condemnation of Assad’s chemical attack on his own people, a call for a global ban on modern slavery, and an expose of the use of North Korean slaves in Russia — all this in addition to ongoing Facebook posts and tweets which Derek has been coordinating.

Sep
17
2013
1

The week in review – 11-17 September

Calendar: Sale of our LabourStart Calendar for 2014 have stalled — we only sold 18 in the last 6 days (of those, 8 were in Canada, 5 in Australia, 3 in the UK and 2 in the USA).  I’ve already done two rounds of publicity and today will be mailing to nearly 500 state federations of labor and central labor councils in the USA in an attempt to boost sales there.

Campaigns:

  • August was an exceptionally slow month for us, so 5 days ago I wrote to all our campaign partners — GUFs and others — asking if anyone needed help.  We got answers from a number of them an expect to launch several new campaigns in the next couple of weeks.
  • Edd and I met with a leader of the UN staff union and they have been facing a brutal attack on workers’ rights from the Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and will probably be needing a campaign from us in the next few days.
  • We closed down the Philippines campaign one month early (see below) and the GE Erie campaign one month late (at the request of the union).
  • We did a special mailing to our Canadian subscribers boosting a number of campaigns there (not all of these were hosted by LabourStart).

Intern: As I reported below, Edd is leaving us at the end of this month (though will continue working one day a week for LabourStart) and we’ve begun the process of recruiting a replacement.

News:

  • The biggest improvement, described below, is that now you can get beyond the first 50 news stories on any of our country pages.   (This will soon work on our home pages in the different languages as well.)
  • I’ve also fixed a problem with links to the country names that were appearing on the home page in English — the first time the name appeared, the link would take you to our new, correct country news page, but the second appearance of the country name still took you to an old page.
  • With so much coverage of the British TUC conference last week, we did a special mailing to our UK list promoting the news page.  It’s very important that we continue to draw attention to our news service, as many of the people on our mailing list are familiar with our campaigns — but not with the news we provide.

Correspondents: 

  • As reported below, a correspondent can now change their default language and country — either temporarily or permanently.  This caused a small problem for senior correspondents, as Derek discovered, but this has now been fixed.
  • We’ve been struggling to make sure that we have current email addresses for all the correspondents and Edd has nearly completed this task.
  • This week, I resumed weekly mailings to correspondents and I intend to keep doing this.

Internationalization:

  • Our failure to sustain LabourStart news in any Nordic language except Norwegian has been with us for some time.  This week, I wrote to all our subscribers on the English list from Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden and have received responses from 10 of them — at least one has volunteered to be a correspondent, others have already contact their national trade union centres in the hope of growing interest in LabourStart.
  • Our French home page was the last one to be converted to our new format and this is now complete.

Kiev 2013: There will be a meeting of LabourStart correspondents from Russia, Ukraine and Georgia (and other countries?) in Kiev at the beginning of November.  Masha has drafted an invitation letter which I’ve read and approved, and Edd has found email addresses for all our correspondents from the region who have been invited.  I will be attending myself.

Berlin 2014: I’ve fixed a meeting at the ITUC in Brussels for two weeks from today to discuss how our conference ties in with theirs.  They’ve been exceptionally cooperative and this is hugely important for the success of our global solidarity conference.

Small screen version of LabourStart: Edd’s been working on a version of the site that will automatically appear when you view it on a smartphone, as we’ve done with campaigns.  This is nearly ready.

Daily tech tips for trade unionists: I  wrote ten of these which appeared over the last couple of weeks and got some nice and interesting feedback.  Would be interested to know if comrades would like this to continue.  Meanwhile, I’m pausing the effort.

Aug
16
2013
1

Odds and ends …

  1. I’ve tweaked our front page in English yet again, getting rid of the Firefox ad, creating a new and more prominent ad for all our books (not just the most recent) and with a link to our new publications page.  This has resulted in today’s labour news being much closer to the top of the page (less scrolling).
  2. I completed work publicizing our Peru campaign, which is lagging somewhat as it’s August.  Please do what you can to help build this.
  3. Our popular Canadian edition has gotten a makeover in its French version, which now features French language Canada-only campaigns, French language events and some small corrections to province names.
  4. We’ve made some good progress on our LabourStart calendar — lots of great events added, and Edd working hard to find 13 great photos.
  5. Found a solution to a small problem we were having with the caption to our photo of the day feature.
  6. On our campaign pages, we’re now showing news in the local language first, so if you’re looking at our Peru campaign in French, in the latest news box, you’ll see the French news before the English news.
  7. We also had a problem with the campaign counter in the unusual situation where we may continue running a campaign in one language having shut it down in English.  Now fixed, sort of.
  8. Edd has given me a lesson in how to prepare a book for publication in CreateSpace — we hope to have our third book ready in early September.
  9. Our conference organizing committee met in Berlin yesterday — we’re told it was a productive meeting and they have another one scheduled in two weeks.
  10. The UE has given us permission to close down its campaign on August 20th – so this is your last chance to build support …
  11. I’ve reviewed our “dormant languages” – the ones we set up, but which haven’t been showing any news recently.  After a major push by us, we managed to revive the Italian and Portuguese editions, and there are even some signs of life in our Serbian edition.  But disappointment in the Nordic countries — only the Norwegian edition is alive, and despite our best efforts, we’ve not been able to revive our once-lively Finnish edition or the Danish and Swedish editions.  Will continue trying.
  12. Our campaigns employ a version of “responsive design” now and render better than ever on mobile phones (test this and compare what you see to what’s on the desktop). This is hugely important as a growing number of people get email messages from us on their phones and they need to see the campaigns correctly without needing to scroll horizontally.  Many campaigning organizations still get this wrong, unfortunately.
  13. Oh, and Twitter cards is now working for us.  Have a look at some of my recent tweets.  You may need to click on View Summary under the tweet to see what I’ve done.
Jul
23
2013
1

The week in review – 20-23 July

This will be my last update for a while — I will be back at my desk on 12 August for a week and a half, and then back to work after the summer break on 28 August.

Mailing lists: I fixed the link on the English and new French home pages to ensure that anyone signing up to mailing lists there is added to our old MailChimp lists.  I migrated some who had subscribed (prematurely) to the new Sendy lists.  We’re not yet using Sendy for English or French, but we will.

Campaigns: I’ve sent out monthly reminders to our partners in general, and specific ones to our friends at the 3 Cosas campaign in London and GE workers in Erie, Pennsylvania campaign at the two-month mark.  We’ve promoted the Maruti Suzuki campaign in Hindi to more than 300 Indians who are on our English language mailing list.  We’re beginning to grow a small mailing list in Hindi as a result.

Books: I’ve followed up with CreateSpace and our bank about missing royalty payments totalling over £500.  We’ve been asked to ship 60 copies of our Global Labour Movement book to the founding congress of the International Domestic Workers Network in Montevideo in October.

Asia: I’ve followed up with the 15 trade union communicators I met at the recent ILO course in Turin, asking them to support, publicize, and translate our campaigns, and to signup as volunteer correspondents.

Publicity: I was interviewed this morning for an article to appear in Labour Research.

Kiev conference in November: Edd and I have been invited to participate in an event linking together trade unionists and democratic socialists from across the former Soviet Union.  One of the days will be devoted to a meeting of LabourStart correspondents from across the region.

Brussels course in October: I’ll be teaching trade unions from across Europe about campaigning in a course organized by the European Trade Union Institute.  I did this last year by Skype; this year, they’re bringing me over to Brussels.

LabourStart home page in French: Edd has done a lot more work on this and we are nearly ready for launch.  We’ll be meeting Andy in London in August and can finalize then.

Jul
05
2013
0

The week in review – 27 June – 5 July

Campaigns

Bangladesh: The ITUC is proposing a new campaign in support of changes to the labour laws; it could be launched today.

India: We’ve been asked to do a campaign in support of Suzuki workers.  We’re waiting for an answer from IndustriALL on this.

Turkey: We’re up to 21,634 supporters for this, our largest-ever campaign.

Canada: Our campaign in support of brewery workers is rapidly approaching the 5,000 mark, which is exceptionaly good for a campaign in just one language, targetting only one country.  It was helped by the IUF promoting it in a mailing.

PepsiCo India: We helped the IUF promote this important campaign on their site, which is now up to well over 9,400 supporters.

Thailand: Our campaign in support of Andy Hall was closed, and we await news from BWI and UNI about the results.

International Training Centre of the ILO – Turin, Italy

I spoke yesterday at a seminar for trade union communicators from Asia.  There were 15 participants from a wide range of countries and for most of them it was their first exposure to LabourStart.  Each of them left with copies of both of our books.  I’ll be following up with all of them as individuals.

LabourStart books

Our total sales for Campaigning online and winning is 904 (78 in French, 826 in English), and for the Global labour movement it’s 427 (English only).  Of those 1,253 books, 92 were Kindle editions and all the rest, paperbacks.  We’re working hard on books 3 and 4 now, and will have more details very soon.

Fundraising

We did the quarterly fundraising mailing on Monday to our 19,692 core supporters (people who’ve supported at least 3 LabourStart campaigns in the last 12 months).  There were some issues with the payment system (until today, it only accepted one currency) and some people were confused about how to change the default country it was showing. Nevertheless, we’ve received a considerable number of donations, totalling £1,523 (US$2,283).

Labour history calendar

We’re now getting closer to publishing this and today are writing to a number of key LabourStart correspondents and translators in different countries to get the best 13 illustrations we can for this.

New home page

Edd has been working together with Espen and Andy to finalize the migration of our last two remaining language editions of LabourStart to the new format introduced some time ago in Englsh.  The Norwegian version is now live and the French one is coming soon.

Jun
26
2013
1

The week in review – 19 – 26 June

Campaigns

The Turkey campaign has now reached an unprecedented level of support, with over 21,250 messages sent.  For the first time, German is the second language with 1,076 messages sent — a new record.  (This will be very helpful in raising our profile in Germany prior to our conference in Berlin next year.)

We launched a new Canadian campaign in support of beer workers in Newfoundland and Labrador.  It’s gotten over 1,530 messages sent in the first few days online – making it larger already than the UK-only campaign in support of University of London cleaners.

It’s been more than 3 weeks since we launched a global campaign, and as we expect to soon shut down the Thailand campaign (this week) and the USA Vancouver lockout campaign (in about 20 days), we may soon have just two live global campaigns running.

Next global solidarity conference – Berlin, May 2014

Eric, Edd and Gisela met in London on Monday in the first face-to-face discussion about the conference.  It was a very productive meeting and has been followed up with the creation of a shared Evernote notebook in which members of the organizing committee in Berlin and London are sharing ideas and information.

Publicity

Our list of press contacts continues to grow, and we now have over 80 journalists we’ll be writing to regularly.  If anyone reading this has email addresses of journalists who cover labour news, please share those addresses with us.  Thanks.

I’ve been invited to speak next week at the ILO International Training Centre in Turin, Italy to a group of 15 trade union communicators from 9 countries in Asia.  There will be people from unions in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.  One of the subjects I’m expected to cover is LabourStart campaigns.  I’ll be giving each of the participants copies of the two LabourStart books and will attempt to awaken their interest in our project with a view toward recruiting more correspondents, translators, etc.

LabourStart books

Sales at last weekend’s Ideas for Freedom in London were disappointing.

The total sales CreateSpace reports on the Global Labour Movement book since its publication two months ago is 364 plus 27 Kindle editions, for a total of 391.  This doesn’t include sales from our office.

As for the Campaigning Online book, CreateSpace reports sales of 630 copies sold, plus 65 Kindle editions, for a total of 695.  In addition, we sold over 62 copies from our office and gave away at least 44, including review copies, so the total distribution of this book is over 800.  In addition,  the French edition of the Campaigning book has sold 78 copies through CreateSpace.

Fundraising

We just heard that a large British union has contributed £1,000.  Next week I’ll do the quarterly mailing to our 15,923 19,692 “power users” — the people who tend to support all our online campaigns.  The last mailing raised several thousand pounds, so I hope that this time we’ll do as well — or better.

Today in Labour History

We’ve made some progress in identifying a supplier and costing for the print calendar.  And we’ve made sure that for the next few weeks (until the end of July), there will be history items every day on our home page.

New home page

We’ve come up with draft home pages in the new format for the last two remaining languages — French and Norwegian.

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