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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The focus has been on Turkey, of course — our largest campaign ever and soon to be the first to break the 20,000 mark. This week we launched a Turkey Twitter campaign in which hundreds of people tweeted the same message at Prime Minister Erdogan. We live blogged developments, here on Inside LabourStart. We ran a live feed on our Facebook page with reports from Ron Oswald of the IUF in Taksim Square. A Greek language version of the campaign will go live today – our first-ever campaign in Greek.
The 3 Cosas campaign in the UK has been the focus of some attention as well — we’ve gotten a commitment from the student unions in London to email their members, thousands of students, many of whom are expected to support the campaign.
In Canada, we’re about to close one campaign and launch another one.
We raised the possibility of a Nike campaign with IndustriALL and are waiting to hear from them.
We followed up this week with the ITF regarding the Vancouver, Washington port dispute. The campaign is now two months old and is just under 10,000 messages sent.
And as we do once a month, we wrote to all our campaign partners with updates and reminders.
Next global solidarity conference – Berlin, May 2014:
There’s been a lot of discussion by email about this, and next Monday, Eric, Edd and Gisela will meet in London to discuss. We have draft 2 page conference document in English and German versions. Matt and others have been scouring Berlin to find the best venue for our meeting.
As I reported earlier this week, we suspended the Facebook ad campaign.
We’ve begun building a list of press contacts in the hope of getting some coverage in mainstream (and alternative) media for LabourStart. Within minutes of our first mailing yesterday (to about 70 addresses), the British left-wing magazine Red Pepper posted a very short version of what we sent them as a tweet to their nearly 10,000 followers.
Sales remain slow, though have picked up slightly in mid-June. We sold 11 copies of the Global Labour Movement book last week and 4 copies of the Online Campaigning book.
We have two more books in the pipeline both of which will come out in 2013.
As I reported, 11 of the approximately 30 languages on our website are not updated regularly. Edd and I selected the six most important (where we have mailing lists, or do campaigns, or both) in an effort to revitalize. We’ve recruited some new correspondents and will be checking to see if any of these pages have come alive. The next step is to deal with the other five languages.
Today in Labour History:
We’ve begun work on the next step of this project — a print calendar, to be available for purchase in Q4 of 2013.
Our latest ad campaign on Facebook is now closed. We spent US $336.89, showed our ad to 75,546 people, and picked up 773 new likes for our page. In other words, each new like cost us about 50 US cents. We’re now up to 7,585 likes for our page. To reach 10,000 (getting another 2,415 likes) would cost us $1,200. There is very little evidence to show that these new likes translate well into participants in our campaigns, correspondents, translators, or donors. Any thoughts on whether we should continue to invest in Facebook ads?
Turkey – This is the big one, likely to become the largest campaign we’ve ever done, and possibly even reach my personal goal of 20,000 messages sent, sometime this week. Lots of updates below.
Small screen version goes live – Our campaigns now look MUCH better on smartphones and tablets, a first example of “responsive web design” on LabourStart, with more to come.
Edd and I drafted a very short document explaining what we’re hoping to achieve in Berlin at next year’s LabourStart Global Solidarity Conference. We’ll be having a phone call with the ITUC today and a meeting with Gisela, who is based in Berlin, in two weeks, in London.
We’ve been running a Facebook ad campaign for nearly 3 weeks now. It’s cost us $288.00, the ads have been seen by 68,389 people in the UK and Germany, and we’ve picked up 677 new ‘likes’. As a result of this, we now have 1,694 likes from the UK and 185 from Germany — making it our 6th strongest country.
As reported below, we got good publicity in the German/Austrian Esperanto magazine.
As reported below, we’ve started using Clicky to provide real-time updates on traffic to our sites. It was quite fun to watch a world map light up when we launched the Turkey campaign.
We’ve identified 11 “dormant languages” on our news pages where correspondents have ceased to be active. We prioritized six of these (Finnish, Swedish, Danish, Portuguese, Farsi, Italian) and have posted a message on each one explaining that the page is not currently being updated, but asking for volunteers to help. We’ve also begun writing to each mailing list in these languages and have already gotten some new correspondents.
We have been able to do those mailings and post messages in those languages because we have picked up a number of new volunteer translators. We did this by writing to people from different countries who had signed up to the English language version of our Turkey campaign. As a result, we have an unprecedented 24 languages for the Turkey campaign.
Finally, we continue to constantly update our news pages. Most recently, our French-language Canada page is shaping up well, with top stories now for the first time.
We now have a proper form to submit events and people have begun submitting them. We’ll set this up so that events for specific countries are automatically sent by email to the appropriate editors who will decide what to post. We’ll begin publicity to all our correspondents and subscribers once things quiet down a bit here …
That’s the title of a two-page article that appears in the current issue of the magazine for members of the German Esperanto-Federation and the Austrian Esperanto-Federation. It means “to act for human and labour rights”.
The article is attached: Esperanto_Aktuell_3.2013reta - see pages 10-11.
Campaigns: We launched two new campaigns this week and closed down one.
Our campaign in support of General Electric’s Erie, Pennsyslvania workers (organized by the UE), has already gotten over 7,500 messages sent in 9 languages with more to come.
The UK-only campaign we launched in support of outsourced workers at the University of London has gotten just under 1,200 messages.
In addition, we closed down the Turkey campaign after 3 months — a campaign which generated 12,700 messages making it one of the largest we’ve ever run. According to the ITUC, “KESK does consider it [our campaign] to be one of the elements in a whole joint effort which eventually led to the release of several dozens of trade unionists, even if 90 of them remain in jail to date.”
We now have a version of our campaigns that works really well on phones and tablets and expect to go live with it sometime today. (Read more here).
We discovered a problem on our campaigns page — it seemed that quite a large number of people were clicking on the ‘share on Facebook’ link but not actually sending off messages. It may be that the page design was flawed. This has now been fixed (read more here).
We helped the TUC with a special mailing to our UK list about their online campaign to pressure the Gap and Debenhams to sign up to the Bangladesh Accord.
News: We’ve made some fixes to our various pages, including these:
A country page (e.g., the UK) that is supposed to show one language (e.g., English) will now only show campaigns in that language.
On the French Canadian edition, we’ve now fixed some translation problems Andy reported.
We’ve made some steps forward on the Turkish and other editions getting them ready for launch using the new format for all languages.
We fixed a glitch that was sorting some news stories on the country pages in the wrong order, as Roy reported.
We also dealt with the problem of a state/province appearing on the wrong country page, discovered by Derek.
And finally, we made the photo of the day and the campaign photo appear on the front page with the same width for each one, so the page won’t appear to be lop-sided.
Berlin 2014: We’ve been in touch with the ITUC this week about coordinating our efforts.
Events: There have been some improvements to the Events module now displayed on the front page of country pages in English. (See here for example.)
We’re not showing old events anymore.
We have a link to show more events if there are any. (This page is being improved to look nicer.)
And we’re currently working on a link to submit events which will appear together with the events.
We’re running an ad campaign on Facebook now — here are the numbers so far: Ad seen by 37,747 people in the UK and Germany; 264 of them have liked our page, bringing the total number of likes up to 6,964.
Books: We’ve sold 251 copies of the Global Labour Movement book so far, plus 18 Kindle editions for a total of 269. This is a slower sale than our previous book, which sold more than 400 copies during the first month. We hope that bulk purchases from unions can help.
Fundraising: We just received a very generous donation of £5,000 from the ITF, and C$500 from Canadian labour lawyers.
Campaigns: As reported below, we closed two big campaigns this week. I also posted below a summary of the results of our recent Philippines campaign – written by the union there. We had a meeting in the LabourStart office with a representative of cleaners in London and are looking forward to creating a UK-only campaign for them in the next few days. Edd and I have both been working on creating a mobile-friendly version of our campaigns and hope to have results in a few days.
Events: We’ve gone live with this new module – see details below. It’s just one more service we offer to the international labour movement and one more reason to visit LabourStart every day.
Publicity: To our surprise, there was a full page in Neues Deutschland about LabourStart this week. This could not have come at a better time as we strive to raise our profile in Germany.
Books: Sales of the Global Labour Movement book rose by just 44 this week, up to 224. The first book (Campaigning online) was doing better at this point. This week, I plugged the book yet again to 12,000 trade unionists on our UK list, but got a minimal response. We’ve now sorted out a Kindle edition of this book and will begin publicizing it. Last week, we arranged for ‘extended distribution’ of both titles, meaning they should be available in many local bookstores and shops other than Amazon. Meanwhile, it turns out that CreateSpace has been very poor about payments to us — we’ve raised this with them and they’re invesigating. The total sales of both titles should have earned us over £720 — but we’d only received about £211 of that so far.
Fundraising: The head of Geneva-based charity that promotes human rights in the workplace visited our offices last week and we discussed a number of areas of possible joint work and funding. I followed this up with a detailed proposal on Friday.
Correspondents: Edd has identified 128 active correspondents who are not on our mailing list. We’ll be following up, trying to make sure that we can email to all correspondents. In addition, he’s written to all UK correspondents to encourage them to be more active, and to tag their stories by region (Scotland, Wales, etc).