Category: Office

The month in review: August 2014

Goodbye, Lee Valley Technopark.
Goodbye, Lee Valley Technopark.

August was NOT a quiet month for LabourStart.

I guess the big news is that I have completed the move from our Tottenham Hale office to working at home. The office was finally emptied and the keys returned yesterday. This will not only mean a considerable savings (over £6,000 a year) but we will also get back a deposit of £1,470 soon.

That money will help to re-fill our coffers following several months where we spent considerably more than we took in, reducing our reserves by many thousands of pounds. But there’s been good news in the last few days. We were able to raise nearly $600 from UnionBook members to pay for the hosting on Ning for the next year — that’s the full amount we need. The IUF has once again made a substantial donation to us. Norwegian unions will apparently be transferring a good sum to us very soon. And the Geneva-based FDHT is resuming its donations to us conditional upon us continuing with the project to grow LabourStart in the Portuguese-speaking world (more on this soon).

It’s been a very busy month for our campaigns — we closed just one (Gaza, following the agreement to a cease-fire) and launched five new ones:

  • Palestine/Israel – against union-busting in Mishur Adumim
  • Swaziland – prime minister threatens to strangle trade union leaders
  • Belgium/Netherlands – against social dumping at IKEA
  • Poland – LOT sacks union leader
  • Thailand – Drop the charges against Andy Hall

In addition, I made three improvements to our campaigns – offering an alternative option for some cellphones; a new supporters count for closed campaigns; and a form for translators to submit campaigns. Details on all these appear in a post below.

We ran a promotion offering free versions of our Kindle books for the first 5 days of August. A total of 2,442 books were downloaded — the most popular of which was Dan Gallin’s Solidarity (696 copies). I followed up with over 1,500 people who seemed interested in the books, asking them to post reviews, but with very limited success.

In September, I’ll be helping to teach a course in Hattingen, Germany organized by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) together with the DGB. This should help introduce LabourStart to union communicators across Europe. This will be followed up in October by my session at a Brussels workshop of ETUI on campaigning. ETUI is also now considering a proposal to host a course dedicated to online campaigning which LabourStart would teach.

The last 3 weeks in review: 8-29 July 2014

Summer is NOT a quiet time at LabourStart …

Campaigns:

  • We launched our Gaza Ceasefire campaign on 22 July; it is already our second largest active campaign.
  • We launched a campaign in defense of jailed Iranian trade unionist Reza Shahabi on 10 July.
  • The Ecuador campaign was closed after 3 months.
  • I’ve followed up with the translators for our top 15 languages, trying to make sure that as many campaigns as possible appear in as many languages as possible.
  • We did very well with the recent Turkish Georg Fischer campaign and promoted news of our victory to our list, as did with the victory at LATAM in South America.  That’s two victories this month that we contributed to.
  • Using a voucher we had from Google for some free advertising, we ran ads supporting out Polish LIDL campaign; they were seen by nearly 24,000 people, but only 103 clicked on the link.

Fund-raising:

  • We received a generous donation from Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) and from the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC).
  • We’ve had an offer from a well-known comrade to run a Marathon in Wales in October to raise funds for LS; more details soon.

Events:

  • Our under-utilized Events module just got better — now you can tag an event not only by country, but by state/province as well. You can see the results by checking out our UK/England news page.

News:

  • People noticed that visiting our home page took you to a URL that included ‘2013’. This has now been fixed and instead of ‘2013’ it says ‘news’. Most people will not have noticed.

Office:

  • I’ve been given warning that we’re to be kicked out of our offices very soon. I visited possible alternatives in Finsbury Park, Bethnal Green and Muswell Hill. I’m leaning towards working from home for a few months, which will save us several thousand pounds.

Speeches:

  • LS has been invited to provide a speaker for a Unifor event in Canada.  Derek will probably do it.
  • Eric has also been invited by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) to help teach a course in Germany in September.

New contacts:

  • A comrade from a group in France called ReACT came to our offices for a meeting; we discussed many ways of cooperating.
  • I had a long meeting in London with the Morocco-based representative of the Solidarity Center; we discussed among other things the possibility of a correspondents’ meeting in the region, maybe in Tunis.
  • I followed up with all those who attended the IndustriALL communicators event last month in Italy, at which I spoke, and invited them to cooperate. Two replied, and we picked up a new correspondent in Cambodia as a result.

 

Books:

  • I’ve been encouraging comrades to post reviews of the Dan Gallin book on Amazon; some have already done so.
  • Even though book sales haven’t been amazing, for the first two months of our current financial year (June-July), book sales have made up about 10% of LabourStart’s income, though this is unlikely to continue.
  • I’ve begun adding reviews to the Gallin book to our page promoting the book — so far, only two.
  • I wrote to everyone who requested a review copy (PDF) and asked them to let me know when their reviews appear.
  • Thanks to Matt Heaney, the book is now on sale at ver.di’s bookshop, both off- and online.
  • I wrote to all 130 people who spoke at our Berlin conference reminding them that we want all their texts for our next book by the end of July.

Photo of the day:

  • For those who post these photos (mostly Derek) there’s now an explanation of how to post country-specific ones. If anyone wants to do this, email me and I’ll explain how it’s done.
  • The photo of the day is also now available on our mobile edition for the first time.

Enough for now … and now back to work …

 

The month in review – 28 May – 8 July

Well, it’s been more than a month — but as I was away on holiday from 22-30 June, I wasn’t able to get this done in late June. In future, I’ll try to have this done monthly. Here are just some highlights …

Campaigns: We launched five campaigns in the last six weeks. These were in support of Korean workers (Samsung), Turkish workers (M&T Reklam), and Peruvian and Argentinian workers (LATAM) – which we won. This week we added two more campaigns in support of workers in Poland. We’ve also closed four campaigns in the same period — Georg Fischer (Turkey), Colombia, Aeroflot (Russia), and Total Call (Morocco).

Conference & finances: We had a bit of followup including media coverage, which is documented elsewhere on Inside LabourStart. I’ve now completed all payments relating to the event — and can tell you that the conference was great, but also costly. We need to raise quite a bit to refill our coffers.

Books & other publications: We’ve now sold well over 3,000 books. As Google offered us a very big prize if we started running ads again, we’ve launched a modest campaign to promote our most recent book. I’m working on producing the conference book, Global Crisis, Global Solidarity. It should be ready by late summer. We won’t be doing a 2015 Global Labour Calendar (it’s too late in the year now to get it right, and on time), but we are discussing doing a 2016 version.

Correspondents: We added a number of new ones from the USA, Spain, Israel, Germany, and Poland. One or two complained that they submitted applications which we never saw. I’ve not been able to figure out how that could happen, but instead have put in a warning to people applying to become correspondents that if they don’t hear from us shortly, to email me directly.

About LabourStart: This page hadn’t been updated for years — I gave it a quick refresh last week.

First of the month problem: The French news page, which is now modelled on the English one, was behaving badly, not showing news, on the first of every month. This has now been fixed.

Staff: Our second intern, Tom, is no longer working for us. Gisela, who was on the payroll for a few months building the Berlin conference, is now happily unemployed (for a while at least).

Office: We’ll need to move by the end of October. I’m looking into alternatives now.

The week(s) in review: 22 October – 14 November

I’ve not been updating this regularly enough, but a lot’s been going on over the last 24 days.

Berlin 2014: I just returned from a short visit to Berlin where I met our organizing committee.  The conference opens in a little more than 6 months and so far we’ve got a venue (Ver.di headquarters), an organizing committee, a registration form and a blog full of information — so far, so food.  Please make sure to register if you plan to come.

Kiev 2013: We had a very successful meeting of LabourStart correspondents (and potential correspondents), and our first ever rock concert last week.  See details below.  Followup has included the translation of additional pages into Russian, and signing up some new correspondents.

Firefox OS book: This was published on 24 October; sales so far have not been as high as expected, but we have sold over 140 of them.  If you’ve read the book, please make sure to post reviews to Amazon.  If you don’t have the book, please order a copy now.

The LabourStart Calendar 2014: We need to work harder to promote sales.  We sold 164 last time I reported to you, and in the last 24 days — just 11 more.  Please do what you can to promote this.

Intern: We have hired Tom Harris, who began work 8 days ago.  Edd continues to work with us one day a week.

Campaigns: Last time I reported, we were at 10,100 messages for our most recent campaign (Colombia); in the last 24 days we’ve picked up about 800 more.  We closed our Peru campaign.

Donations: We’ve received substantial donations from the FDHT in Geneva and the RMT union in London.

Upcoming travel: In December, I’ve been invited to speak about online campaigning at a conference in Freiburg, Germany.  In January, Tom and I will go to Berlin for another meeting with the conference organizers.  At the end of that month, I’ll be in Brussels to help the European Trade Union Institute plan a course — initiated by the German national trade union center DGB — on the subject of unions and the net.

Weekly roundup – 15-22 October 2012

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.

Weekly roundup – 6.9 – 17.9.12

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.

Weekly round-up: 31.8 – 6.9.12

New office: The Internet was connected on Thursday, 30 August and I’ve been working here ever since. Still need to move 9 sets of bookshelves and about 1,500 books here, as well as some files and a few small pieces of furniture, which will probably be complete this weekend.

UK events & donations from unions: I’ll be attending the TUC congress in Brighton on Monday and the London Labour Film Festival on Thursday, and will distribute LabourStart flyers at both events. Today, I sent out a message to our 8,000+ subscribers in the UK asking for volunteers to help. I also took the opportunity to congratulate the new TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, who opened our 2008 LabourStart conference in London. We’ve gotten recent donations from Unite the Union’s South West region and UCATT (the construction workers union) here in the UK. We’ll be getting a donation from Unison Wales next week following my workshop there.

Conference 2012: I approved a draft document regarding the hiring of someone full time in Australia to help with the conference.

Campaigns:

  • Siemens – Should end soon as the vote is today. This is (almost) our largest active campaign at the moment, with 6,772 supporters, after only 12 days online. A special Labo(u)r Day mailing aimed at North Americans helped a bit.
  • An “Arab Spring” for the workers?: This may be the theme of these week’s mailing, as we expect to launch a Morocco campaign for the ITF, and to publicize Egypt and Tunisia campaigns for the IUF — all at once.
  • Turkish aviation workers campaign: This was closed on Monday — it was one of our largest campaigns.

Correspondents: We have an Arabic language sign up form and it’s nearly complete. Thanks to Erin at the Solidarity Center for help on this, and on recruiting correspondents from the Arab world. On Monday this week I added 10 new correspondents, completely clearing the backlog of such requests.

Hebrew edition: I’ve take a number of steps to improve this, including ensuring that news from outside Israel appears here, getting more correspondents involved, growing the mailing list and the supporters of campaigns, and so on.

Weekly round-up: 20-30.8.12

New office: Now moved in; Internet access being set up today. This has taken up a lot of time over the last couple of weeks, and not everything is here yet, and there are still boxes on the floor, but it’s a working office – our very first.

Campaigns: The Spanish miners’ campaign, our first with IndustriALL, is now closed. The Zimbabwe campaign was launched last week, as was the Siemens USA campaign. A fortnightly update was sent to all our campaign partners.

Articles: My article on the case of Kamal Abbas in Egypt was picked up by In These Times (USA), and run in their web edition. In the German newspaper Jungle World (print and web edition) my article on the subject of anti-union violent repression appeared.

Courses: I met in Brussels yesterday with two staffers from the European Trade Union Institute to discuss a course I will help run with them on the subject of online campaigning.

Facebook: We now have a page on Facebook in Turkish.