Category: ILO

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.

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.

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.

Weekly round-up: 4-11 June 2012

Some of the things I’ve been working on for the last week:

Campaigns:

  • Closed two campaigns (Kamal Abbas – Egypt, Abdolreza Ghanbari – Iran) without clear results yet.  Both cases continue.  The Ghanbari campaign set a new standard for us, and with over 17,000 messages sent it was our biggest campaign ever.  As Derek Blackadder points out in the comments, this means our next goal has to be 20,000.
  • We also launched new campaigns this week in support of oil workers in Egypt and public sector workers in Algeria; both campaigns have gotten off to a slow start.
  • We expect new campaigns to be launched shortly in support of workers in Korea, Kenya and possibly Turkey and Spain.
  • The campaign counter is now fixed, though not yet fully automated (we’re unable to use ‘cron’ on the new server, for those of you who understand these things.)  I also tweaked a few more things the resulted from the move to our new campaigns server, such as ensuring that ‘ActNOW’ links that appear next to news stories point directly to the new site.  I fixed the campaigns script so you should no longer be able to choose ‘Select your country’ as your country (as many people have done).

Mailing lists: We are very close to 100,000 names.  When we cross this threshold, we’ll need to raise an additional £1,600 a year.  We’re going to attempt to grow the Danish and Swedish lists, and to find volunteer translators to help with mailings to these lists and campaigns.  (This is currently covered by Espen who does it in Norwegian, but it would be better to have versions in all three Scandinavian languages.)

ILO: We’ve gotten no further news from the ITUC and GUFs about the employer attempt to block discussion of workers’ rights at this year’s International Labour Conference. We have told all that we’re ready and willing to do an online campaign on a moment’s notice.

Writing: I had articles published this week in both Solidarity and the Morning Star about the case of US politician John Edwards.

Office: I’ve begun looking for an office for LabourStart as I will be moving house by late September and will no longer be able to work from home.  At the moment we’re budgetting about £600 per month (£7,200 a year), which will either get us a very small office or possibly a studio apartment.

Intern: I looked into what it would cost to hire an intern at the London Living Wage; I think this and an office are the next two steps toward professionalizing LabourStart even more and expanding our capacity.  At £8.30 per hour, and calculating a 35 hour week, that would be an additional £15,100 per year we’d need to raise.

Donations: We received £1,100 in the last week from two British unions (CWU – £1,000; Napo – £100), £126 from the OECTA in Canada and a number of individual donors (£222).

Unions ‘ambushed’ at international labour conference in Geneva – what we can do

News broke last night that employers were going to block all discussion of workers’ rights violations for the first time ever at the International Labour Conference which is held every year in Geneva. Here is what LabourStart is doing about it:

  • Last night, news stories were posted to the website – given a top global priority.
  • Emails were exchanged with figures in a couple of the global union federations about the possibility of a campaign.
  • Links to statements by the ITUC and 3 GUFs were posted by me to UnionBook, and automatically to Twitter and my Facebook status.
  • LabourStart’s own Twitter feed gets 4 postings, one after the other, to our 6,437 followers.  Re-tweeting begins immediately, with the British TUC doing the first.
  • On Facebook, links were posted to the LabourStart page (4,516 likes).
  • I also changed theFacebook banner graphic to now look like this.
  • Marc Belanger has produced an excellent broadcast for Radio Labour devoted solely to this – I’m now giving that some extra publicity as well.

More soon …