Jun
19
2018
1

New campaigns, reviving our events calendar, donations, privacy and more

First of all, a snapshot of how our campaigns are doing:

1 XPO: Time to talk about your behaviour – 4,730
2 Korea: Oracle workers on strike – 3,503
3 Turkey: After nearly a year on the picket lines, it’s time for DPDHL to negotiate with the union – 5,373
4 Australia: Exxon Mobil – time for a fair deal for your workers – 134
5 USA: Time for Wendt to negotiate with the union – 6,563
6 France: Rail unions fight against privatisation – 7,051

Australia: With so many campaigns launching at the same time, we’ve held off on promoting the Esso campaign here, but will be doing so this week. It was very important in this case, as with all campaigns, to see evidence that our partners have been informing their own members and affiliates and not simply relying on LabourStart’s own base of supporters.

Caribbean: We offered our support for a campaign backing bank workers in their dispute with RBC, but have not yet heard back.

India: A massive strike by power workers which has been announced gets spread around a lot on our website and social media. We also add a new correspondent from India.

North Korea: We promote our North Korea news page on social media to coincide with the Trump-Kim summit, raising the question of workers’ rights.

Russia: We gave extensive publicity to the BWI article about deaths of construction workers who built the stadiums for the FIFA World Cup.

South Korea: We went live with the campaign in support of striking Oracle workers to coincide with the UNI Global Union congress in Liverpool.

Spain: We were asked to submit an article about LabourStart for the union magazine Noticias Obreras and have done so.

Turkey: We launched the campaign in support of DHL workers, and sent our a reminder message a week later (today). This morning there were 5,155 supporters and the campaign was already translated into 13 languages.

XPO campaign: We continue to launch in additional languages and send out mailings. We had problems with the campaign as two of the company targets attempted to block our messages. The campaign got a good, early push from the Teamsters union in the US before we even started our publicity, and this is exactly the kind of support from our partner which is so important for these campaigns.

USA: We had expressed some concern that the union whose workers are involved in the Wendt campaign had not informed its members as not a single member of that union had supported the campaign. Our repeated efforts and those of the global union federation involved resulted in 14 members of the union (which claims 120,000 members) eventually supporting the campaign. In other words, of the 6,563 trade unionists who have signed up to support the campaign, 99.8% came from other unions. This is a matter of some concern and we need to discuss among ourselves and with our union partners how to solve this persistent problem.

Events calendar: We wrote to all correspondents encouraging them to post items for our calendar, and slightly redesigned the login page to make this clearer. We continue to add events regularly from the UK and USA.

Finances: We received generous donations in the last week from BWI, UNI and several Canadian unions. We’re waiting on the translation into German of our annual fundraising appeal and hope to have this ready very soon.

Mailing lists: Despite new restrictions which we feared would drastically reduce the number of people joining our mailing lists after supporting our campaigns, those lists continue to grow well. We picked up 560 new subscribers on seven lists.

Privacy: Our privacy page in English now links to all 11 translations that have been done; we note the remaining key languages which have not yet been translated and will try to follow up with these in the next few days.

Apr
09
2018
0

A busy week: Updates for Algeria, Brazil, Georgia, Iran, North America, Turkey, Ukraine, UK, and the USA

Our stall at the Labor Notes conference in Chicago this weekend.

Algeria: Our campaign in support of the independent energy workers union has been extended by a month at the request of the global union federations. It has reached 9,925 messages sent, making it the largest currently-running LabourStart campaign. I encourage all of you to help us get that number up past the 10,000 mark in the next few days.

Brazil: We collected and publicised widely the many statements by international unions condemning the arrest of former president Lula.

Georgia: Three Georgian news stories this week got special attention on LabourStart and wide promotion by us on social media – the mining disaster in Tkibuli in which six workers died, a hunger strike by port workers in Batumi, and the court decision in support of Rustavi Azot workers, who were the subject of a recent LabourStart campaign. Our 8-week old campaign supporting the Georgian unions’ call for a new labour law is up to 6,070 supporters. Eric will be travelling to Georgia in another 13 days and will meet with trade union leaders then.

Global: We continued doing weekly promotions on social media aimed at attracting new, individual subscriptions to the English mailing list. We also began preparing for our annual fundraising appeals, both to individuals and to major union donors.

Iran: Our campaign demanding the release of Esmail Abdi, which is getting close to the 3-month mark, has now reached 8,356 messages sent. This is the most recent of several campaigns we’ve run demanding his freedom, and is our second most popular current campaign.

North America: We had a strong presence at the Labor Notes conference in Chicago organised and led by Derek, who drove from Ontario. We also promoted this effort in a mass mailing to our US and Canadian lists, and with a dedicated website. We had a fully kitted-out stall, distributed flyers, sold books, and signed up new supporters.

Turkey: We signed up a new volunteer correspondent, who works for a well-regarded project called Solidarity TV. Meanwhile, our current campaign targetting Roy Robson is up to 7,670 supporters and is running in 16 languages.

UK: We designed and printed 1,000 full-colour leaflets for distribution at upcoming events, including this week’s Unions 21 conference in London, with a link to a dedicated website very similar to the one we did for Labor Notes – this will be template for other ‘welcome to LabourStart’ websites as needed.

Ukraine: We responded to an appeal by metal workers, urging them to get in touch with IndustriALL.

USA: At the request of a union webmaster in Michigan, we finally completed the creation of RSS news feeds for all 50 US states, updated automatically every 30 minutes.

Apr
02
2018
0

Catching up after nearly a month …

Winners of the Ron Todd Foundation awards in London last month.

First of all, apologies for the delay in this update. I was travelling for two weeks in mid March and am just now catching up.

Campaigns:
We’ve been asked to keep our Algeria campaign, which has now been running for more than three months, live for a bit longer, and have done so. In the last five days, we’ve added only 2 new supporters. We need 77 more supporters to bring the total up to 10,000.
We received a campaign request from one of the global union federations, but they’ve not followed up yet.
We also suggested a campaign to a national trade union centre and are currently discussing it with them.
We launched our first campaign in years in the Thai language, with a mailing coming soon as well.

Conferences:
We’ll have a strong presence at the upcoming Labor Notes conference in Chicago, and will leaflet the Unions 21 conference in London later this month.
We were also invited to speak at a British trade union event in June, but there’s a scheduling conflict.

News:
We fixed a problem with country names on the Ukrainian page.
If the language you work with is still showing English names of countries and you can help with translations, let us know.

Mailings:
We sent out a mailing to the entire English list about the West Virginia teachers’s strike — the second in our series of “explainers”.
Our mailing lists grew by 427 in the last month; there were large numbers of new subscribers to our Turkish and Arabic lists this time.

Women workers:
We now have the women workers page working in all languages. If you’re willing to help, please let me know and you’ll be sent a short text to translate.
We wrote to all correspondents in the run-up to International Women’s Day urging them to post stories and tag them correctly.

Awards:
On 10 March we received the “socialism of the heart” award from the Ron Todd Foundation in London.  Other winners included the McDonald’s workers who held the first strike at the restaurant chain in the UK.

Jul
07
2017
0

Indonesian gov’t intervenes in Freeport dispute – but the campaign continues

Campaigns:

We promoted good news about the Indonesian government’s intervention in the Freeport dispute; however, the campaign continues.
Closed the Madagascar campaign after 3 months, with just under 7,000 supporters. We’re waiting to hear from the ITF what results, if any, we’ve gotten from the effort.
Belatedly answered Spain’s UGT about a possible campaign, but it turns out we’re too late.
Helped the IUF promote its campaign in support of Doha workers in Morocco. Over 2,000 people support the campaign thanks to our effort.
We’ve been asked to keep the Kazakhstan campaign running, and have done so.

LabourStart TV:

Wrote to all LabourStart correspondents explaining what we’ve done, how to add video news, and asked for volunteers to help maintain the Facebook page, which is now up to 196 likes (a gain of 50 since last week). One volunteer in Canada stepped forward.
There are now links on our website to our videos by language. Not all languages are showing video links. The interface on the page still needs to be translated.
Twenty videos were added this week to our site. There were just 11 the previous week, and just 7 the week before that.

Publicity:

We were interviewed for the magazine of the left Esperanto group SAT. When the article becomes available online, I’ll share the link here.

Mailing lists:

With no new campaigns, only 21 names added this week to our lists.

Apr
14
2017
0

Weekly Roundup: Massive growth in the number of Asian languages for our campaigns

Asbestos campaign: This is now live in more languages than any other recent campaign we’ve done, thanks to APHEDA’s helping getting translations of the campaign and mailing in Indonesian, Japanese, Hindi, Vietnamese, etc. We expect to add even more Asian languages as a result, including Urdu. Some of these lists are being mailed to for the first time in years. A number of global unions, including IndustriALL and the ITUC, have publicly called for a global asbestos ban this week. As of this morning, the campaign has 5,728 supporters and is running in 18 languages.

Kazakhstan campaign: This too went live in a big way this week. We have the full support of the ITUC and IndustriALL, and the IUF did a mailing to its Russian language list to promote the campaign. This morning the campaign had 4,469 supporters and appears in 6 languages so far with more translations on the way.

Madagascar campaign: This campaign is already running on the ITF site, but they have begun publicising the version on LabourStart. We’ll begin our publicity shortly.

Somalia campaign: The journalists’ union has asked for our help; expect a new campaign in the next few days.

UK: We went live with our new UK LabourStart Facebook page, publicising it on the social network itself for now; as of this morning it has 74 likes. One of the things we’ve been able to publicise there is a new podcast done by former LabourStart intern Edd Mustill. We’ll soon do a mailing to our UK list to promote this.

Mailing lists: I did two imports this week, adding people who support our campaigns, with a total of 304 new subscribers, mostly to the English list.

Publications: I’ve begun work to complete the new edition of Campaigning Online and Winning.

Publicity: We’ve begun work on a new flyer — it will be based on our 2014 flyer, with an updated text, to be distributed at union conferences this year. We’re looking into the possibility of creating versions in multiple languages.

Arthur Svensson prize: We’ve been invited to participate in this year’s ceremony in Oslo in June.

Fundraising: BWI has made a generous donation to LabourStart which arrived this week.

Mar
30
2017
0

Weekly roundup: 1 new campaign, 3 old ones closed, and much more

I haven’t been doing regular updates to Inside LabourStart — but from this week, I want to start. Here’s a roundup of the last 7 days at LabourStart:

CAMPAIGNS

  • We had a problem – for the second time in 4 months – with McAfee blocking access to our campaigns site. After sending them an email (again), they removed the block within 24 hours. I shared the news of this block on social media and to all those (7 subscribers) who complained to me about it.
  • We’ve had a proposal from the Australian unions for a campaign on asbestos. It will go live today or tomorrow.
  • In one of our shortest campaigns here, we protested against the jailing (again) of leaders of Djibouti’s teachers’ union; they were freed on Monday night.
  • With the agreement of our partners in Ukraine, we closed down the campaign in support of Kyiv’s transport workers, which got 8,272 messages sent.
  • After 3 months online, we closed down the Brazilian campaign in support of workers at the University of Sao Paulo.
  • We did a mini-campaign in the UK to build support for the trade union education programme at Ruskin College in Oxford, at the request of the staffers there who have been made redundant. It’s not hosted on our site, which means it’s not the best way to do it, but we got a large number of people to show their support for Ruskin.
  • We helped the IUF promote its campaign in support of Coca-Cola workers in Indonesia – both with a mailing to our list and publicity on the website and on social media.
  • I made a small tweak to the campaigns page so that you are now required to choose a country, and you can’t choose the first choice, which is ‘country’. You must choose an actual country.
  • I’ve begun regularly weekly reviews of our campaigns and mailings, to see if we’re missing any translations in our most popular languages. The only one which is a persistent problem is German and I’ve written to our friends in Berlin in the hope that we can sort this out.

MAILING LISTS

  • We picked up 652 new subscribers this week.
  • Because we had almost 137,000 subscribers on our mailings we pay a lot of money every month to MailChimp. We can save some money by not keeping lists there which we no longer need, so I attempted to bring us below the 135,000 threshhold, which would have saved us $300 a year – but unfortunately could not.

NEWS

  • We now have the “external ActNOW” working – meaning any correspondent can add a link to an online campaign that’s related to a news story. As of this morning, this has been tested and works everywhere.
  • I wrote to all our correspondents telling them about our state/province field, asking them use it where it exists (USA, UK, Australia, South Africa, India, Canada) and if we don’t have it for their country, to let us know and we can add it. We recently learned that in Canada in particular, this is a very popular feature on LabourStart.
  • In addition to that, on all our country news pages for those countries named above, there’s now a drop-down menu for the first time listing states, provinces and regions. This should help raise awareness that we have this feature.

PROMOTING LABOURSTART

  • The British unions BECTU and USDAW offered to let us have a stall at their upcoming conferences and if we can’t attend, to distribute printed material for us.

BOOKS

  • I wrote to all members of the LabourStart executive committee urging people to help get our books, especially the newest one on migrant workers, reviewed on Amazon. This will help boost sales and I encourage everyone reading this to help out.

DONATIONS

  • Finally, we received pledges of donations from TUAC, UNI and BWI. I am sending out reminders to all global union bodies which regularly donate to us, and so far they are all responding affirmatively.
Feb
25
2016
0

The last 37 days – a lot to report …

I had wanted these to be fortnightly reports — but it’s hard to keep that going with so much happening. So, apologies for the delay. Here’s what’s happened in the last five weeks:

CAMPAIGNS

  • We asked KCTU if we can close down their 3-month-old campaign; they’ve asked us to keep it going and we will.
  • Launched two new campaigns on one day (Iran and Morocco), both concerning individuals we’d already campaigned for in the past.
  • We closed three campaigns — Mastepan (Estonia), Nermin (Libya) and Ewado (Djibouti); we reported on both in the mass mailing that went out today.  We also heard very positive news about a campaign we did with WAC in defense of a Palestinian trade union activist.
  • We launched a very large campaign demanding justice for Giulio Regeni. This came at the suggestion of our Italian comrades, and was quickly followed by support from the IUF and a positive statement also from the ITUC.  This campaign soared to 10,000 messages very quickly and continues to grow.
  • We continued to support the ITUC’s Ratify the Protocol campaign.

RADIO

We’re now submitting weekly 2 1/2 minute reports to the Workers Independent News Service (WINS) in the US. This is in addition to our ongoing cooperation with Radio Labour, based in Canada.

FINANCES

We received a generous donation from Building and Woodworkers International.

EVENTS

I spoke at a meeting of communications staffers of European unions in Gdansk, Poland last week.

CORRESPONDENTS

We’ve resumed regular mailings to correspondents, which will take place every week — after a gap of nearly 10 months.

BOOKS

The complete manuscript for the next LabourStart book, The Strangers Among Us, has been received and we’re currently formatting it. We hope to have a book launch event at our conference in Toronto.

CONFERENCE

Speaking of which — we have a large number of workshop proposals and 371 people signed up to attend; there’s an organizing committee and an intern hired, and we’ll soon have an agenda.

PUBLICITY

At the suggestion of the British TUC, we submitted a nomination form for the SMK Campaigners Awards; they will decide by the end of February and their ceremony in the House of Lords will take place on 13 April.

TRANSLATIONS

We need a new Spanish translator as our comrade David has fallen ill; we got several dozen volunteers for the job.

Oct
13
2015
0

Massacre in Ankara, and more

In the last 3 weeks …

Massacre in Ankara:

Upon hearing the news on Saturday morning from our comrades in DISK, we mobilized correspondents to post many news stories, to translate some of them from English, and to encourage global unions to issue statements, many of which have done so. (more…)

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Publicity,Twitter,UnionBook |
Sep
22
2015
--

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 ericlee@labourstart.org 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.

May
07
2015
--

What a week! Police investigate, a correspondent is arrested, new campaigns and solidarity cookies

cookies

New campaigns launched:  We’re launching two new campaigns today — one in defense of jailed trade union activists in Iran, the other in support of workers in Hungary dealing with a union-busting Austrian multinational.

Online campaigning course: There are just 11 days left to register for the ETUI / LabourStart course on online campaigning – for European trade unionists only.  Details are here.

LabourStart campaign subject of police investigation: Asaf Adiv of the Workers Advice Center in Israel reports that a police complaint was filed regarding our campaign in support of Palestinian workers at the Zarfaty garage.  Asaf writes:

The Israeli Police are finding it difficult to deal with Ethiopian immigrants who demonstrate in Tel Aviv against their discrimination, but yesterday they found the time to interrogate me on charges that I was responsible for the LabourStart email campaign last summer to support the struggle of Palestinian workers in the Zarfaty Garage. The complaint of the Garage owner to the police against me as the leader of WAC MAAN union that organizes the workers, came after their previous complaint against the chair of the workers committee in the Garage Hatem Abuzeadeh was canceled and proved to be fake. On May 12 WAC MAAN and Hatem’s lawyers will be in court to fight to reinstate the leader of the workers to his job in the last 17 years.

LabourStart correspondent arrested: One of our correspondents, Sergei Ilcenko, has apparently been arrested by the KGB (yes, the KGB) of Transnistria, back in March.  We’re trying to get more information about this and there may be a need for a campaign.

Survey of correspondents: At the beginning of the year we did a survey of LabourStart correspondents (most of the work done, I think, by Gisela).  Martina has now done a full report of what we learned, available to download in English or German.

Correspondents: I did a mailing yesterday to all our correspondents to encourage them to get active.  As a result, we had a 25% increase in the number of correspondents active in May, and several wrote to me asking for their passwords, or promising to get more active.

Annual survey of trade union use of the net: We missed the one in 2014, but are ready to go with a new version, probably later this week.

Fundraising: We raised a few hundred dollars more this week, and two global union federations promised to repeat their donations from 2014, which could amount to another £5,000.

stall

May Day in Berlin: Here’s a report from Martina — this should help explain the cookies, above:

“How many people worldwide are in LabourStart’s mailing list?” That was one of the questions from our wheel of fortune at our LabourStart stall in Berlin. The right answer: about 130,000. The share of Germans is 5,000. One more reason to become active in Germany and promote LabourStarts unique digital platform for the international trade union movement and workers’ solidarity.

We had a busy and nice day at our stall. We’ve talked to a lot of people about LabourStart, offered our nice self-made cookies. The wheel of fortune was always running and gave us a good opportunity to explain what LabourStart is about and that online campaigns make a difference in organising union power internationally. Those we could convince to join LabourStart mailing list were able to register online at our stall.

Reiner Hoffmann (DGB General Secretary) visited our LabourStart stall, too. There he met and had a chat with volunteers from LabourStart Network Berlin and some students of the Global Labour University.

Thanks to Heiko (DGB Berlin) for his amazing support. Thanks to the bakers. Thanks to all visitors at the stall.

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