Campaigns: We launched two new campaigns this week, both focussing on Asia. One is in defense of labour rights activist Andy Hall, threatened with jail and a multi-million dollar fine in Thailand. The other is in support of Hong Kong’s dockworkers, on strike for more than a week. We added a graphical link to Reddit which you can see on the Hong Kong campaign — we’ll be working to make this more useful in the next few days.
Helping our friends: We devoted one of our mass mailings in English last week to promoting — for a second time — the IUF’s current campaign targetting Mondelez (Kraft) for its violations of workers rights in Tunisia and Egypt. As a result of that extra push, we helped this turn into the largest online campaign the IUF has ever run. We also gave a special push to Radio Labour last week, timing the launch of the Andy Hall campaign to coincide with an interview they did with him. The result was a record 4,000 listeners to the interview. We also helped three GUFs (ITF, UNI and IndustriALL) as well as our correspondents by sharing with them (the correspondents) details of three new jobs at the GUFs in campaigns and communications.
Our home page: The photo of day/week is no longer a fixed height, as Derek requested. And I’ve publicized the 9 logos Masha prepared for us to correspondents by email, getting a lot of comments. We’ll make a decision soon.
Our second book: A first draft is now ready and we hope to have the book in hand in time for our May Day party in London.
Internationalization: We now have a mailing list in Thai (46 names) and will soon begin mailing to it. We have the beginnings of a LabourStart Facebook page in Hebrew as well.
Fundraising: We did a mailing last Wednesday to 12,867 “power campaigners” — people who have supported at least 5 of our campaigns in the last year. We asked each person to donate $50 to LabourStart and I set myself the fairly randomly-chosen goal of hoping that we’d get 1% of that list to give an average of $50 each — for a total of £4,271. We reached over 95% of that target by this morning, less than five days after the fundraising campaign began. We are also continuing to build for the LabourStart May Day party/fundraiser in London on May 4th. 162 people have said they are either coming (80) or thinking of coming (82).
Publicity: We had a very complimentary article appear in the German newspaper Woz (see details below).
Survey: We sent out a summary of the results of our annual survey of trade union use of the net to all our readers.
Mailing list migration: We’ve nearly completed the migration of our mailing lists from MailChimp to Sendy. Still working on the issue of templates, and for the moment, French and English lists remain on MailChimp, costing us a small fortune every month.
Public appearances in the UK: We’ll be represented at three upcoming UK-based events. On 19.1, I’ll be speaking at the Southend Labour Party. On 24.1, Edd will speak at the Unions 21 tech seminar. And on 13-14 March, we’re organizing a panel at the E-Campaigning Forum in Oxford.
Book: Sales have reached 377. Let’s all push hard to get that number up to 500 over the next few days. We were briefly an Amazon.co.uk best-seller, hitting the top 1,000 books they were selling, and reaching number 2 in our category. A Kindle edition is coming soon, and we’re starting to think about doing another book. Meanwhile, I expect to complete my book for UCS by the end of January – the working title is Making Unions Stronger – Using The Internet Better.
Labour Newswire: We’ve pushed our newswires aggressively to UK unions, and it’s bearing fruit. We had 40 UK sites listed, that dropped down to 20 after Edd removed all the dead wood, and now we’re back up to 28. You can see the up-to-date list of all 302 sites using our newswire here.
Inactive correspondents: Edd has gone through the 500 or so correspondents who’ve not been active, writing individually to each one, and giving support (such as new passwords) where needed. In a few weeks, we’ll be deleting those who are showing no interest in continuing.
Upcoming global solidarity conferences: I’ve finally heard (today) from a colleague in Germany about the possibility of a conference in Berlin in May 2014; I’ll be following up. Derek has been in discussions with people in Vancouver about a conference there in late 2014.
Fund-raising: We’ve gotten generous donations from two unions in the USA (United Steelworkers and the Amalgamated Transportation Union) and hoping for more. We’ve sent out a few copies of the campaigns book to donors who have given £1,000 or more in the last couple of years.
This is almost certainly going to be the last weekly summary before December — on Thursday I’m off to Sydney for the third annual LabourStart Global Solidarity Conference and will not be back before 2 December. Some highlights from the last week:
Conference – going well, lots of last minute work dealing with people coming, cancelling, the programme, lunches, etc. The Facebook Event page had to be cleaned up a bit as we were getting spammed. Today – with only a week to go – we have 193 people registered to attend, of those 145 from Australia and 5 from New Zealand.
Campaigns – we got permission to close down the Pakistan campaign. On Friday we got our first campaign request ever from the International Federation of Musicians — we’ll launch this later today. The Guatemala campaign is two months old; I asked the sponsor what they wanted to do. Meanwhile, the Bahrain campaign is well over 10,000 names making it one of the largest we’ve ever done.
Book of the month – we did our second one last Monday, and by Wednesday I was growing concerned that 98% of those who were clicking through to learn more about the book were not ordering it. I then did a survey on Survey Monkey to find out why. We got a very large number of responses (482 and counting) and I’ll close the survey tomorrow and will publish a summary here. We’ve learned a lot, I think, from this experience.
Publicity – on Monday I was interviewed by a journalist from a Swiss-German left-wing magazine called Woz. They did a similar interview more than a decade ago – this was the follow-up. He strongly suggested that we work closely with LaborNet Germany – I followed up by sending a message to all three leading figures, but have not yet gotten a response.
Regional RSS feeds – I was able to fix the Caribbean region, meaning that now I should be able to get all of them working again. But this may not happen before December, unfortunately.
Course – on Wednesday, I did a 45 minute session for the European Trade Union Institute in Brussels — they had a dozen or so trade union officials from across the continent and using Skype video, I introduced them to online campaigning.
Fundraising – we’ve now mailed our brochure and a cover letter to every president of every union in the USA.
Global Solidarity Conference: I had five individual calls with Australians last week, one each day. I spoke with 4 members of the organizing committee plus Peter Lewis from Essential Media. We took a decision to make this a free conference and to drastically streamline the registration procedure. As a result, we’ve jumped from 5 Australians attending to 33, and a total of just under 50 registrants. We expect many more in the days to come as we finalize the conference agenda and begin to highlight who the guest speakers from overseas will be. I’ve begun weekly mailings the complete Australia / New Zealand list (just under 6,000 addresses) and to all those who’ve registered. In addition, I’ve been doing daily mailings to the 25 or so people on the organizing committee list. We have less than 35 days to go …
Interns: Today is interview day; I will be interviewing all 4 of the shortlisted candidates as well as giving them a written assignment.
Office: Now largely unpacked, office is looking like a place one can actually work in.
Campaigns: I closed down the RMT campaign. I sent off the biweekly message to all our partners updating them on the status of all campaigns and asking for their help. I also did the monthly reminder to all translators about what they may have missed. I cleared the backlog of translated campaigns and mass mailings. There was a problem with campaign ID numbers, which someone managed to reset to 0, but I fixed this. I also made a small techie change – we had a problem if someone chose to opt out from the mailing list signup in that they wouldn’t be included in the count; this is now fixed. We have been asked to help UNI promote a campaign in support of ING workers in Korea and will do so this week.
UnionBook: The link to UnionJobs, which showed the most recent jobs, has broken so I’ve changed it and moved it to a more prominent location.
Publicity: I and two volunteers distributed 400 LabourStart brochures at the 20 October TUC march and rally in London. This is the first time we have intervened in this way and it went well.
Hebrew edition: My message – in Hebrew – to our list got us one new correspondent. I’ve continued to push our Israeli correspondents to be more involved and to try to feature more news from Palestine and other countries.
To be fair, I was away for more than a week …
Intern: We had 12 applicants. Derek Blackadder (Canada) and John Wood (UK) helped me prepare a shortlist of 4, who will be interviewed on Monday, 22 October. Roger Darlington has volunteered to assist with the interviews.
Conference: We’re working hard to build this — it’s only 6 weeks away. We did a mailing on 24.9 to our lists in Australia and New Zealand. I’ve provided the organizers with a list of who to invite from the region, and have been in touch with several others from outside the region whose flights we are subsidizing.
New campaigns: We launched a campaign in support of workers in Guatemala; we ran a short and sharp campaign in support of jailed Turkish trade unionists; we launched a campaign in support of labour NGOs in China facing repression.
Closed campaigns: I closed down five campaigns – China (Li Wang Yang), UK (RMT Olympics), Turkey (Togo), Morocco and Kazakhstan.
Labour book of the month: I’ve revived this, and in the first 4 days, we sold over $600 worth of books.
Facebook: I tested the promotion of one of the posts on our page. This was the post – “Over 300 dead textile workers in Pakistan – demand justice! Support the online campaign!” It was seen by 63,151 people, 713 of them liked it, 23 commented on it, and 150 shared it. A typical post on Facebook is seen by a tiny fraction of that — usually around 5,000 people. The cost was $100.
Sponsorship of LabourStart UK: UIA, which provides insurance cover for union members here, now has a banner on our UK website, for which they are paying us.
Ukrainian: We have a new newswire in Ukrainian, following a request. I’ve also provided them with a list of country names for translation.
Urdu: We had an offer to translate our Pakistan campaign, but there’s been no translation yet.
Swedish & Danish: We’ve done a mailing to our small lists in these two languages to try to recruit new correspondents and translators.
South Africa: I’ve written both to all our existing correspondents and to hundreds of our readers there in an effort to get more active correspondents.
Brochure distribution: I’ve recruited three volunteers to help me distribute LabourStart brochures at Saturday’s giant demonstration and march organized by the Trades Union Congress in London.
New campaigns launched –
Pakistan textile fire (IndustriALL). After just four days online, just under 8,000 (actually, 7,959 as I write this) messages sent making this our biggest campaign for some time. The campaign appears in 8 languages already.
Morocco – free jailed dockers union leader (ITF). After 6 days online, appearing in 9 languages, this is considerably smaller with only half the number as the Pakistan campaign (3,980).
Campaigns closed -
As reported earlier, we lost the vote at Siemens in Maryland, and the campaign was closed.
In the next day or two, we’re closing two more campaigns – China and Peru. Details to follow.
New office -
In the last week we moved all remaining bits, including 10 sets of bookshelves and many hundreds of books.
LabourStart offline –
Last week I attended the TUC in Brighton, beginning the day by distributing over 150 LabourStart brochures to delegates. On Thursday, I and a volunteer leafletted a film at the first-ever London Labour Film Festival, handing out about 80 brochures. On the weekend, I was the (sole) speaker at a small Unison Wales event in Cardiff, and distributed some leaflets there as well.
It’s been more than a week because I spent all of last week in Geneva, attending the IUF’s 26th congress.
At the request of the North West Playfair group in the UK, I answered a half dozen interview questions about LabourStart for their new publication.
And it’s been a busy time for campaigns:
- One campaign launched (by Derek) in support of the USW.
- One on its way (Mexico) – launching very soon.
- One rejected (Pakistan) – following discussion among senior correspondents.
- One more to decide on (Kenya) – waiting for the views of a GUF.
- One still waiting for the partner union to be confirmed (Iraq).
- One waiting for better texts (Korea).
Lots of emails answered, more work done on the Iceland project (see below), new correspondents added, etc.
The most successful ads on Facebook, apparently, are the ones that promote an organization’s Facebook page – getting people to ‘like’ your page is easier than getting them to do just about anything else. And if they ‘like’ you, they will see your posts on their own news feeds, as will their friends.
Facebook now allows for a very interesting kind of targetting – you can choose to show ads only to Facebook members who are friends with people who already ‘like’ LabourStart — in other words, people who are themselves likely to be trade unionists (or sympathetic to the trade union movement).
The ad campaign we’ll be running starting tomorrow targets 282,680 Facebook users in these 22 countries: United States, India, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Canada, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, Israel, Finland, Denmark, Australia, Russia, Brazil, China, France and Germany. The users are all over the age of 18 and list English as one of their languages. None of them are currently LabourStart fans. The ad reads:
If you’re a trade union member, you’re going to love (not ‘like’) LabourStart. Check out our Facebook page and website
At the moment, we have 1,710 people who ‘like’ our page on Facebook. Our page is a very new one, launched on 1 April. Over the last 114 days, we’ve grown by exactly 15 per day since then. We should reach 2,000 ‘likes’ by 11 August (and 10,000 in 18 months), even without this ad campaign.
By way of comparison, here are some other FB pages and how many ‘like’ them:
- Global – Avaaz 231,994
- USA – Moveon.org 152,151
- Global – Human Rights Watch 139,571
- Global – Amnesty International 49,171
- UK – 38 Degrees 31,002
- USA – AFL-CIO 28,918
- Australia – GetUp! 18,299
- UK – False Economy 10,400
- USA/Canada – SEIU 8,989
- USA/Canada – USW 5,955
- USA – Labor Notes 5,419
- Germany – IG Metall 5,258
- Germany – ver.di 3,457
- USA – Young Trade Unionists 2,769
- USA – IWW Starbucks Workers Union 2,624
- Global – UNI Global Union 2,511
- Israel – Histadrut 2,448
- UK – TUC 2,048
- UK – Unite 1,897
- UK – UNISON 1,892
- Global – ITUC 1,860
- Global – Clean Clothes Campaign 1,828
- Australia – AWU 1,777
- Global – LabourStart 1,710
- Global – International Labor Rights Forum 1,536
- Ireland – ICTU 1,386
- USA – Student Labor Action Project 1,318
- Israel – Kav LaOved 1,297
- Global – IWW – 1,202
- Canada – CLC 709
- UK – GMB 583
- Palestine – PGFTU 441
- South Africa – COSATU 434
- Canada – CUPW 423
- Global – International Metalworkers Federation 366
- Global – ICEM 232
- Israel/Palestine – WAC Ma’an 226
- Global – Global Labour University 224
- Palestine – DWRC 202
- USA – ILCA 115
- Global – Fair Labor Association 93
- UK – Banana Link 70
- New Zealand – NZCTU 66
- Europe – ETUC 64
- Australia – ACTU 63
- Global – Education International 46
- Global – WFTU 46
- USA – Labour Behind the Label 35
- Iran – IASWI 23
- Global – Global Unions 11