Category: Correspondents

After 15 years, a new way to post news quickly and easily to LabourStart

bookmarkletPeople have been asking for something like this for a very long time.  Today I finally wrote the code to do it.

Login to post news as you normally would.  On the second screen, the one that’s entitled “Main Menu”, look at the text highlighted to the left.  The yellow arrow is pointing at it.

Drag the red box that says “Add2LS” up to your bookmarks toolbar.  (The bookmarks toolbar varies from browser to browser, but usually it’s the part of your screen immediately above the web page you are viewing.)

Leave it there — it will say “Add2LS”.

You only have to do this once.

Now, go visit a website that’s a source of labour news.

Find a news story you want to put on LabourStart.

Click on the “Add2LS” link in your toolbar.

And magic — you can begin adding the news story.

The link sits there permanently in your toolbar, and you never have to login again.

News stories always appear in one window (or tab) and the form in another so that you can glance back at the news story for stuff like the name of the publication, the title, and so on.

This should make it easier and quicker than ever for correspondents to post news stories.

Try it and let me know what you think — and how it can be improved.

The weeks in review – 17-28 March

Technical innovations: This week we made two technical steps forward. The first is a web app for smartphones and tablets that’s now been tested on iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry smartphones and seems to work. The second is our own URL shortening system (like or that allows us to create addresses like

Berlin conference: The number of registrations continues to grow — we’re now up to 494, up 46 in the last 11 days. The number of German participants (crucial if the conference is to be a success) is up to 103, a gain of 12 in this period. We’re currently working on sending visa invitation letters to several dozen registrants who requested it, sorting out solidarity housing for those who can’t afford the hotel or hostel, building the nearly 50 workshops that are planned, getting speakers for all 3 plenaries, organizing the Saturday night party, raising the money to do all this, and much more. The organizing committee in Berlin is growing and meeting regularly. There’s an international Skype conference call each week that Eric, Tom, Gisela and Derek have been holding as well. We have less than 8 weeks to go …

Campaigns: We haven’t launched any new campaigns in the last couple of weeks, but our Casablanca campaign is going quite well and we think we’ll get one of the five sacked call centre workers to come to speak in Berlin. We had a big surge in supporters for our Rana Plaza campaign yesterday after announcing that a couple of companies had agreed to pay compensation. We promoted — for the first time — our new social media links on the campaign page, and this has generated a number of Facebook likes (1,187) and Tweets (185) for that campaign. Not surprisingly, the links to promote campaigns on Google+ and LinkedIn are proving far less popular. We closed our Kazakhstan campaign a few days ago as well (see report by Kirill below).

News: A couple of weeks ago we had only 76 active correspondents (out of some 700); following my appeal to them to get more active, we now have 99 active ones, who have posted 5,003 news stories in March — an average of 179 news stories every day this month, with each correspondent contributing an average of 51 stories, or nearly two per day. The most active correspondents in March were (in order): Derek Blackadder (Canada), Andrew Casey (Australia), Andy Funnell (France), Roy Nitzberg (USA), Patrick Craven (South Africa), S. G??bi?ski (Poland), Efraim Davidi (Israel), and our intern, Tom Harris (UK).

Prizes and competitions: LabourStart has been entered into three international competitions the results of which we will know within a month. See below for details.

The week in review – 8-17 March 2014

Berlin conference: We’re up to 448 registered participants from 68 countries, a gain of 28 in the last 10 days. (We now have 91 from Germany, a gain of 7.) We’re all working on a wide range of issues now, including the conference party on Saturday night, plenary speakers for all 3 plenary sessions, getting visa invitation letters, getting all the workshops set up, and much more. There’ll even be a conference poster!

Campaigns: We launched one new campaign in the last 10 days in support of call center workers in Casablanca; it’s done very well and after just four days, is already larger than the three previous campaigns. With just under 7,000 messages sent already, it looks poised to be our 4th largest current campaign (out of 10) sometime soon.

News: I’ve written to nearly 600 LabourStart correspondents today asking for their help to put more news up. Of the more than 700 correspondents we have, only 76 have posted news so far this month. A number have already written back promising to post news, or asking for new passwords. There’s now a big yellow ‘Add news’ button on the home page in English — this allows correspondents to quickly add news, for new people to volunteer to be correspondents, and for one-off submissions of news.

New languages: We’re just about to do our first campaign in Hungarian.

Books: Our next book (by Dan Gallin) will be ready for sale at the conference in May. We did a lot of work last week formatting it. It’s currently running at 423 pages, but we might shorten that.

Labour History: I’ve fixed the entry form so it’s now working correctly and we can add more dates to our online calendar. There’s now a list of French language entries in the database.

LabourStart in Numbers – February 2014

February was not a good month for our statistics — across the board, we saw notable falls in traffic to our website.

The reason is simple: we launched just one campaign in February, and had fewer mailings than usual.  So while we still have tens of thousands of people who visit our website every day, the main source of traffic is always the campaigns.  New and popular campaigns are the only way to rapidly grow traffic to our site.

The previous month’s numbers are in brackets below. Notable growth is indicated in bold, green.

Mailing lists [with 200 or more subscribers]

English: 85,207 [85,250]
French: 7,603 [7,215]
Spanish: 5,136 [5,156]
Italian: 4,143 [4,146]
German: 4,062 [4,070]
Turkish: 3,253 [3,253]
Norwegian: 2,836 [2,902]
Russian: 2,518 [2,874]
Korean: 1,834 [1,861]
Dutch: 1,400 [1,401]
Chinese: 1,073 [1,074]
Finnish: 622 [630]
Japanese: 390 [391]
Arabic: 319 [321]
Portuguese: 269 [269]
Polish: 269 [280]
Indonesian: 254 [263]
Tagalog: 254 [254]
Hebrew: 246 [247]
Farsi: 242 [242]

Social networks

Twitter followers

English: 11,571 [11,409]
Canada English: 2,853 [2,751]
Canada French: 395 [378]
French: 201 [200]
USA: 187 [168]
Spanish: 67 [67]
German: 42 [38]
Japanese: 23 [23]
Russian: 16 [16]
Portuguese: 7 [7]


Like page (English): 8,475 [8,381]
Members of LabourStart group: 6,843 [6,715]
Like LabourStart page (French): 389 [380]
Like LabourStart page (German): 279 [235]
Like LabourStart page (Turkish): 131 [131]
Like LabourStart page (Hebrew): 105 [104]

Members: 5,737 [5,707]

LabourStart group: 1,562 [1,521]

Union group on Flickr: 744 [743]


Correspondents: 698 [691]

Website traffic (1&1 statistics)

Total visits: 552,898 [671,485]
Peak day: 23,305 [29,980]
Page impressions: 1,425,275 [1,568,434] (Clicky)

Total visitors: 32,524 [58,483]
Peak day: 3,212 [6,041]
Where they come from:
USA – 7,311 [13,091]
Canada – 5,317 [10,499]
UK – 3,408 [9,123]
Australia – 2,083 [4,081]
Norway – 1,791 [2,226]
Germany – 1,126 [1,690]
Indonesia – 849 [949]
India – 828 [--]
France – 721 [1,101]
Sweden – 683 [1,163] (Clicky)

Total visitors: 15,361 [58,832]
Peak day: 3,636 [6,959]
Where they come from:
USA – 2,144 [9,441]
Canada – 1,933 [9,116]
UK – 1,755 [8,750]
Russia – 1,304 [4,739]
Belgium – 1,133 [1,730]
Australia – 882 [3,165]
South Korea – 709 [--]
France – 644 [2,004]
Germany – 554 [2,535]
Spain – 446 [1,933]

The week in review – 10-17.1.14


  • The Cambodia campaign is doing very well — after just a week, we’re up to well over 10,000 messages sent, making it our second largest current campaign (Kazakhstan is the largest).
  • We just launched a campaign yesterday in defense of Colombian unions; it picked up some 4,300 supporters in the 24 hours online.
  • We closed the previous Colombia campaign just in time after it ran for three full months.  Huber is, unfortunately, still in jail.

Berlin 2014:

  • I participated on Saturday in a very good meeting with four members of our organizing committee in Berlin.  Gisela and I also agreed a number of changes to LabourStart’s German language page, some of which have been done.  These include some new pages about LabourStart, a registration form for new correspondents, and so on.
  • The total number of people registered is now 280, up 20 in the last week.  Of those, 59 are from Germany and 42 from the UK (meaning that of those 20 new ones, 7 come from the UK and Germany).
  • I wrote to the more than 100 people who’ve requested help getting a visa to clarify once again that we cannot help with airfares and to ask for some more details; about 19 have responded so far.
  • The TUC is offering us a room to convene a meeting of people from the UK who have registered, or are thinking about coming to Berlin; we’ll hold this in February.
  • We’re doing a lot of targetting of specific countries; Tom is doing some work focussing on the closest neighbours to Berlin: Poland, the Czech Republic and Denmark.
  • I contacted the ITUC two days ago asking for a meeting when I’m in Brussels but no answer yet.
  • I fixed the link to the conference on our home pages in all languages — it now points to the right place.

LabourStart Books:

  • Dan Gallin has sent us 12 essays with 3 more to come; we’re exploring new ways to produce this as we’re not happy with CreateSpace’s service and will probably use Lulu (who did our calendar).  Our aim is the get the book out fairly quickly and certainly well in advance of the Berlin conference.


  • I continue with weekly mailings; this time, I aimed to encourage yet again inactive correspondents.  After 24 hours, we saw a result — a 10% increase in the number of correspondents posting news (up from 78 to 85 this month) and increase in stories (up by 326 in just one day — the previous daily average was just 167).
  • We added several new correspondents this week.

French LabourStart:

  • We continue to make progress, having made at least half a dozen fixes this week.  Some of them are small fixes to all languages and are contributing to making the site more useful for non-English speakers.

Canadian LabourStart:

  • I moved some things around on the page at Derek’s request; it looks better now.

Country pages:

  • I’ve fixed the search, which now always brings up the new pages.
  • I’ve also created a search on all languages, which we had on the old site but hadn’t preserved.


  • It’s been a week since we launched our quarterly appeal to “power users” (people who’ve supported 3 or more campaigns in the last year).  Results have been good — we’ve taken in just over £4,000 in donations this week.  This is similar to how we did last April, and probably better than the two appeals since then.


  • I’ll be travelling for most of the next two weeks — all of next week in Istanbul as a guest of KESK, to participate in the opening of the trial of their activists.  The following week I’ll be in Geneva and then Brussels.  This may mean slower response times to emails, but I hope you’ll all understand.

LabourStart in Numbers – October 2013

Gains are reported in green and losses in red.  Previous month’s numbers in brackets.

Mailing lists

Total for all lists: 118,464 [116,485]

English: 84,236 [83,741]
French: 6,828 [6,717]
Spanish: 5,140 [4,994]
Italian: 4,026 [4,004]
German: 3,886 [3,323]
Turkish: 3,274 [3,281]
Norwegian: 2,927 [2,472]
Russian: 2,089 [2,093]
Dutch: 1,426 [1,376]
Chinese: 1,078 [1,010]
Finnish: 570 [577]
Japanese: 334 [334]
Arabic: 322 [315]
Polish: 282 [282]
Portuguese: 256 [247]
Tagalog: 254 [254]
Hebrew: 247 [225]
Farsi: 245 [213]
Swedish: 195 [193]
Indonesian: 182 [163]
Korean 177 [154]
Danish: 137 [137]
Czech: 88 [88]
Esperanto: 74 [61]
Thai: 68 [68]
Greek: 60 [60]
Hindi: 40 [40]
Slovak: 19 [19]
Bulgarian: 19 [19]
Creole: 13 [13]
Vietnamese: 12 [12]

Social networks

Twitter followers -

English: 10,478 [10,266]
Canada English: 2,430 [2,289]
Canada French: 304 [234]
French: 189 [187]
Spanish: 62 [59]
USA: 57 [31]
Japanese: 23 [23]
Russian: 16 [15]
German: 15 [15]
Portuguese: 7 [7]

Facebook –
Like page (English): 7,998 [7,925]
Members of LabourStart group: 6,106 [5,936]
Like LabourStart page (French): 343 [340]
Like LabourStart page (Turkish): 129 [127]
Like LabourStart page (Hebrew): 99 [99]

UnionBook –
Members: 5,635 [5,627]

LinkedIn – LabourStart group: 1,429 [1,403]

Union group on Flickr: 738 [734]


Correspondents: 673 [663]

Website traffic (1&1 statistics)

Total visits: 669,594 [623,875]
Peak day: 27,154 [34,420]
Page impressions: 1,707,274 [1,845,122] (Clicky)

Total visitors: 63,424 [51,799]
Peak day: 4,966 [7,798]
Where they come from:
*** Indonesia – 12,967 [4,665] ***
USA – 11,091 [9,789]
Canada – 10,208 [9,138]
UK – 8,086 [8,469]
Australia – 3,179 [3,048]
Norway – 1,897 [1,733]
Sweden – 966 [935]
Germany – 932 [867]
Belgium – 842
France – 807 (Clicky)

Total visitors: 41,088 [42,534]
Peak day: 6,044 [11,817]
Where they come from:
Canada – 6,692 [9,197]
USA – 5,821 [6,482]
UK – 5,809 [7,119]
Australia – 1,882 [2,561]
Spain – 1,787 [1,456]
Germany – 1,669 [1,115]
Belgium – 1,649 [1,074]
Italy – 1,335
France – 1,216 [1,091]
Norway – 1,017

LabourStart in Numbers – September 2013

Following up on popular requests (well, Derek), I’ve added some website stats this month.

These should be taken with a grain of salt — actually, a bucket-load of salt.

We are increasingly using Clicky to measure our web traffic and that’s the only system we use on the campaign pages.

The Clicky code has not been placed on every single page on (the news site), but it should also give a good indication of the number of actual visitors to the live section of the website.

So, why is 1&1 giving a much larger number?

Hard to tell — some of that is, strangely enough, “internal traffic” from 1&1′s own servers, a lot of it will be robots and spammers.

Over time, we’ll put the Clicky code on even more pages on our site to try to make sure that we’re not missing anything, but we’re certainly not missing traffic to our home pages in the various languages.  (Except French, which only moved over to the new system in mid-month, and is therefore missing Clicky stats for the first part of the month.)

Starting next month, we’ll be able to compare, to note any increases if they happen.

Already, interesting to note fairly high traffic from countries which don’t play a big role in our campaigns, but seem to come visit our news pages — Indonesia and India in particular.  I can’t really explain the surge in interest from South Korea to our campaigns pages — it didn’t translate into people signing up to campaigns in Korean, though perhaps they were directed to a different language by a link somewhere.  (75 people from South Korea did sign the English language message to Ban Ki-moon.)

The most important day, all three sets of statistics agree on this, was Monday, 23 September — the day we launched our campaign targetting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.  Somewhere between 12,000 and 34,000 trade unionists visited LabourStart on that day.

New! Website traffic (1&1 statistics)

Total visits: 623,875
Peak day: 34,420 on 23.9
Page impressions: 1,845,122 (Clicky)

Total visitors: 51,799
Peak day: 7,798 on 23.9
Where they come from:
USA – 9,789
Canada – 9,138
UK – 8,469
Indonesia – 4,665
Australia – 3,048
Norway – 1,733
New Zealand – 1,226
India – 1,021
Sweden – 935
Germany – 867 (Clicky)

Total visitors: 42,534
Peak day: 11,817 on 23.9
Where they come from:
Canada – 9,197
UK – 7,119
USA – 6,482
Australia – 2,561
Spain – 1,456
New Zealand – 1,363
Germany – 1,115
South Korea – 1,102
France – 1,091
Belgium – 1,074

Mailing lists

New! Total for all lists: 116,485

[This was 103,324 8 months ago - a net gain of 13,161 new subscribers, or 1,645 per month]

English: 83,741 [81,907]
French: 6,717 [6,443]
Spanish: 4,994 [4,905]
Italian: 4,004 [4,017]
German: 3,323 [3,312]
Turkish: 3,281 [3,283]
Norwegian: 2,472 [2,433]
Russian: 2,093 [2,051]
Dutch: 1,376 [1,377]
Chinese: 1,010 [1,011]
Finnish: 577 [577]
Japanese: 334 [334]
Arabic: 315 [313]
Polish: 282 [282]
Tagalog: 254 [254]
Portuguese: 247 [248]
Hebrew: 225 [215]
Farsi: 213 [207]
Swedish: 193 [195]
Indonesian: 163 [153]
Korean 154 [154]
Danish: 137 [137]
Czech: 88 [88]
Thai: 68 [68]
Esperanto: 61 [55]
Greek: 60 [60]
Hindi: 40 [40]
Slovak: 19 [19]
Bulgarian: 19 [19]
Creole: 13 [13]
Vietnamese: 12 [12]

Social networks

Twitter followers -

English: 10,266 [10,033]
Canada English: 2,289 [2167]
Canada French: 234 [219]
French: 187
Spanish: 59
USA: 31 New!
Japanese: 23
German: 15
Russian: 15
Portuguese: 7

Facebook –
Like page (English):7,925 [7,832]
Members of LabourStart group: 5,936 [5,689]
Like LabourStart page (French): 340 [329]
Like LabourStart page (Turkish): 127 [126]
Like LabourStart page (Hebrew): 99 [97]

UnionBook –
Members: 5,627 [5,610]

LinkedIn – LabourStart group: 1,403 [1,383]

Union group on Flickr: 734 [732]


Correspondents: 663 [670]

The week in review – 17-23 September

As I’ll be away for much of the time for the next week, I thought I’d do a slightly early update of the last week.  Some highlights …


  • We launched two new LabourStart global campaigns in the last three days — in defense of Honduran trade union leader Victor Crespo, and in support of unions representing staff at the United Nations.  The first of these had almost 6,300 supporters after 3 days; the second had over 4,000 in just 6 hours.
  • We closed down two of our campaigns — the UK-only campaign in support of cleaners at the University of London, and the formerly-Canadian-only, later global campaign in support of workers at the Labatt brewery.
  • We gave an extra boost to our John Greyson campaign after hearing about his hunger strike.
  • In addition, we did a mailing to promote two major new IUF campaigns focussing on Colombia and Honduras.
  • Last week I was invited to UNISON to discuss with them how they could use their new app for smartphones to push LabourStart campaigns out to their members.

News & Correspondents

  • Search is now working on our home page in all languages once again.
  • I did a second weekly mailing to all our correspondents.
  • We now have a translation of our interface into Icelandic, but no volunteer correspondents have stepped forward there yet.
  • We did, however, pick up new volunteer correspondents in Denmark and Finland.

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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

The week in review – 5-11 September

Calendar: Our first-ever wall calendar has appeared and it’s beautiful.  So far this week, we’ve sold 97 of them.  Have you ordered yours yet?

Campaigns:  Our campaign demanding the release of jailed Canadian John Greyson, held by the Egyptian police, went global and was publicized in a mailing.  It’s now up to 3,845 messages sent. Tomorrow we’re meeting with an activist from the UN staff unions, here to discuss efforts to weaken trade unions for staff at the global body — a possible campaign.

Berlin 2014: Last weekend I was able to meet with another member of the Berlin committee and discuss many of the issues around our upcoming conference.  I booked flights for my visit to Berlin next month where I’ll meet the whole committee and help take planning forward.

Photo of the day: I made changes in how we do the photo of the day feature on the front page of LabourStart in part to deal with problems that came up with our use of CloudFlare to cache our site.  But it’s also allowed us to do two things we hadn’t planned on — to pre-load a photo for a date in the future, and to show an archive of all photos we’ve had recently.

Correspondents: Every correspondent is given a default language and country, and while this is usually good enough, sometimes it needs to change.  Correspondents themselves now have the ability to do this after they’ve logged in.

Coverage of the British TUC congress: Thanks to Edd and others we have very impressive coverage of this and today will be doing a mailing to our UK list (over 10,000 addresses) to spread the word about this.

Our next book: We’re still writing the book and hope to have it ready in a few more days.  It’s hard to keep pace with the ever-changing world of mobile phones, but I think it will be a very interesting book.

Daily tech tips for trade unionists: A series I started on my blog which may be of interest to LabourStart correspondents.  Click here to see the first few.  Please feel free to add comments and make suggestions.