May
11
2018
0

May Day, events calendar, fund-raising, privacy and more …

May Day: Following an appeal to correspondents, we tripled the number who posted news on May 1st, and posted well over 200 news stories on the day. A number of previously-inactive correspondents have gotten involved again, in some cases after requesting new passwords from us.

Events calendar: This is a little-used part of our home page for individual countries, but it could be a great service for the labour movement. Any correspondent can add events; to do so, click on the link after you’ve logged in to post news. In the last couple of weeks, we added quite a few new events, mostly to the UK and USA pages. Please add more.

Fundraising: We’ve taken in about £7,000 since we launched our fundraising appeal last month; this is not bad, and overall 2017-18 was a good year.

GDPR: To comply with this EU directive, we’ve amended the Privacy statement on LabourStart and unticked the box on our campaigns page, meaning that people who now wish to join our mailing list must click the box in order to do so.

Germany: Eric Lee met with a delegation of German trade unionists who were in the UK on a study visit; he made a presentation and distributed fliers about LabourStart.

Iran: We closed the Esmail Abdi campaign after more than three months and are awaiting a response from the global union on what effect, if any, our campaign had.

Panama: We were asked to prepare to launch a campaign on this, but the global union has decided to do this on their own; we’ve asked why and they’ve promised to get back to us on this.

Ukraine: Our Ukrainian language home page now works like our Russian one, with headlines and more.

Zimbabwe: We offered to campaign in support of teachers in their struggle, but in the end it turned out not to be necessary as an agreement was finally reached with the government.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Correspondents,Events,Fund-raising |
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.

Jan
18
2018
0

Esmail Abdi is free, a new campaign is launched, and we add 550 new supporters to our mailing lists

Good news: Jailed Iranian teacher trade unionist Esmail Abdi (pictured) was released from jail. We publicised this to our mailing list and on social media.

We launched a new campaign in support of locked-out airport workers in Fiji.  As of today, it already has 7,753 supporters.

We closed our Belarus campaign after five months, our Indonesia campaign after three months and our Cambodia campaign which had temporarily been revived at the request of our partners.

We supported the struggle of Tim Horton’s workers in Canada with a number of special mass mailings, as well as using social media and our Events system to promote real-world actions in support of those workers.

We continue our discussion with comrades in Taiwan about supporting their struggle on labour law issues with a LabourStart campaign.

Our mailing lists continue to grow. We added 550 more subscribers so far this month, many of them to our Arabic list. We are also now beginning to add the names of our supporters’ trade unions to the mailing lists for the first time, which will allow us to create segments based on this.

We’re going to make all LabourStart’s 30+ languages this year come alive. Each week, we’ll focus on a different one. The first one is Swedish, where despite having a mailing list of over 1,200 names, we haven’t posted a translation of a campaign for more than a year, and the news page is dormant. We’ve taken a number of steps to deal with this problem, reaching out to hundreds of Swedish trade unionists for help.

We’re publicising our main news stories almost evert day on social media — Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn — as well as on our home page and through our Labour Newswires in RSS and JavaScript format. In the last couple of weeks this has included the story of an attempt to crush an independent trade union in Russia, an Argentinian government effort to encourage teachers to leave their union, the massive German metal workers strike, calls for a national strike in Fiji, and the case of Reza Shahabi, a jailed Iranian trade unionist

Derek is making a big effort to clean up our “Today in Labour History” database which is huge, but under-utilised.

And finally we’ve cleaned our our Events file, keeping only current and future events there, and are encouraging people reading this to add events from your country to LabourStart (if you don’t know how, please ask).

Mar
28
2016
0

Our next book, new campaign, donations, and more

Books

Work is being done on our book on migrant labour which we hope to launch in Toronto. We have a cover and the inside pages are nearly done.

Campaigns

I’ve asked the KCTU and HKCTU for permission to close down the Korea and China campaigns, both of which have been running for a long time.
A new campaign in support of Turkish union GIDA-IS is about to go live.
The campaign submission page has a new field for videos so these can be incorporated into future campaigns.
I did the monthly review of translations into our major languages and identified some problems, especially with German campaigns.

Correspondents

Weekly mailings to all correspondents continue. One focussed on the use of states and regions in news stories; the other encouraged the 90% who’ve been inactive to get active.

Donations

We received a large donation from a branch of Unite the Union in the UK. The Education International and UNI have also made substantial donations to us.

News

Mahesh pointed out a problem with tweeting a news story with a apostrophe in the title.

Radio

I have submitted weekly programmes to WINS on the terrorist attacks in Brussels and the new crackdown on independent unions in Egypt.

Upcoming

On Thursday, I’ll be speaking on a panel with a leader of Unite the Union and Amnesty International’s Shane Enright on corporate campaigning, in London.

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.

Sep
07
2015
--

Summer’s over – and LabourStart gets busy again

It’s not been much of summer here in London, but then again, it never is.

Here’s how we’ve spent the last 3 weeks:

Campaigns

We launched one in support of port workers in Gdansk, together with Solidarnosc and the ITF. As today, it has 7,045 supporters and appears in 14 languages, including Polish.

We also launched a new campaign in support of striking workers at the National Gallery in London, together with PSI and the PCS union in Britain. After just a week, the campaign has 6,140 supporters and appears in 9 languages.

We closed down the China campaign, launched in June. It had 10,373 supporters. The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions told us that the campaign helped “to spread out the message and to draw attention to the imprisoned labour activists” and “although we did not hear any feedback from the Chinese government, there is one [piece of] legislation which was mentioned in this statement restricting the operation and international connection of NGOs in mainland was postponed.”

After closing the recent Hungary campaign, we receive this from the union: “Tamás Járási, president of MCDSz, thanks all those who supported this campaign. The company was upset by it, and told workers it was not a ‘true’ campaign but ‘only a spam driven from London’, and apparently complained to the Dutch ambassador about it. The union judged the campaign to be a success, and said it strengthened morale among the workers. Meanwhile, the struggle continues.”

We have been asked for help by a union in Congo and have passed this on to UNI, who are looking into it.

We’ve agreed to help BWI with a campaign in the Gulf region later this month.

An Iran solidarity group is keen to have us help with a particular prisoner; we’ve raised this with friends at Amnesty International.  It is not clear which GUF could be called upon to support this particular prisoner.

We had a request for a campaign from the Colombia Solidarity Campaign, but have not heard anything back from them after we asked some questions.

We also had a request for a campaign from Zimbabwe that stalled, and we await answers.

Mailing lists

We’ve improved the layout of mailings to our English list to give readers the chance to sign up to campaigns they missed, to donate to LabourStart, and more.

There was an attempt to add over 100 fake addresses to one of our lists, but we spotted it and spent some time dealing with the problem. We’ll need to tighten up security on our campaigns form to prevent this happening in future.

Books

We’ve resumed our partnership with unionized bookshop Powells.com with a low-key publicity campaign for a ‘book of the month’. This has led to a bit of an overhaul of our state news pages, with the country news pages coming next. (See the US states to see what I mean, for example Kentucky.)

Our Global Labour Movements book is currently being translated into Burmese (by the ILO office in Burma), into Portuguese (by Euan, our correspondent in Brazil) and Canadian (well, a Canadian edition) by Derek. The book is already available in English and French.

Events

Our events module wasn’t working on some pages (e.g., Canada, Portuguese) but is now, having been fixed.

Talks & other publicity

I have been invited to speak about LabourStart campaigns to UNISON Waltham Forest, in North London.

I will also be interviewed by an Italian-language magazine based in Luxemburg, about LabourStart, thanks to Silvana.

Apps

Andy has done the translation so that our next Android app will appear in French – in addition to the versions we have in English, Norwegian and Esperanto.

Global Solidarity Conference 2016

We’re still planning on this happening next spring in Toronto, and are waiting to confirm a final date.

Retreat

A lot of work was done by myself and others to prepare for next week’s Strategic Retreat in Brussels. More here when the Retreat is over.

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.

Dec
30
2014
--

The month in review – December 2014

Next generation LabourStart

The number of users of our Android app in English, launched on 11 November, has grown to 587 (gained only 25 new users in December); the average reviewer gave it 4.88 stars. Our Android app in Esperanto, launched on 26 November, has been installed 17 times.

Our iOS app (for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) has just been approved by the Apple App store (we submitted it on 3 December at first) and will be launched in the next two days. This app was designed in Como, which we can use to create apps for both Android and iOS, and will do so.

We have received the translation for the Norwegian version of our apps and expect this go live shortly.

Tunis Retreat

We’ll have more to report on this throughout January.

A reminder was sent to all correspondents to respond to the pre-retreat survey; so far we’ve had 58 responses and will provide a full report soon.

Campaigns

We launched only two campaigns in December and closed one of them fairly quickly at the request of the union – these were the ones surrounding the jailing of Colombian union leader Huber Ballesteros, and the other concerned Luis Isarra in Peru. The Peru campaign has generated only 5,634 messages of protest so far, while the Colombia campaign generated 7,450.

We closed three campaigns in December — Deva in Turkey, USA IKEA and the Colombia industrial accident campaign, which resulted in a big win.

At the moment, we are running only four active campaigns — and three of those will close within the next four weeks.

A trade union leader in Bangladesh has offered to translate our campaigns into Bengali; I have sent him the framework file to translate.

We launched our first Romanian language campaign, and mailing list.

Online campaigning course

The European Trade Union Institute has approved our proposal for a 3-day course on the subject of online campaigning, to be held in Germany in June. More details soon.

Books

Our latest book, Dan Gallin’s Solidarity, is being translated into Russian by Masha.

I’ve signed a contract with Professor Joe Atkins for a LabourStart book due to appear at the end of 2015 about migrant workers. More details coming soon.

Finances

We received a generous donation from the Education International.

I wrote to all correspondents about the annual Svennsson prize which could be major boost to LabourStart if we ever win it.

Fairphone

We ran a mini-campaign to raise the issue of workers’ rights at Fairphone, which briefly got a lot of attention and a phone call from the company.

Tweaks

We learned (from Mahesh) that there was a problem with our code that allowed people to tweet any news story that appeared on LabourStart — if there was an apostrophe in the story title, it didn’t work. This has now been fixed.

I also fixed the drop down menu showing country names on the French language home page, and a couple of other small fixes to the page.

Jul
29
2014
--

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 …

 

Nov
21
2013
0

The week in review – 14-21 November 2013

Campaigns: Three new campaigns were launched in the last week, plus we did publicity for the IUF campaign on Colombia and IndustriALL’s campaign on Iraq.  I really appreciate the incredible work done by our volunteer translators in getting these translations done.

Berlin 2014: Our conference blog is being updated, some 40 people have already registered, and we’re doing loads of publicity. On Friday, I was invited to address a meeting of global union communicators at the ITF headquarters in London about the conference.  There were participants from the ITUC, ITF, IndustriALL, PSI, etc.  I migrated the entire database of conference participants to a relational database using MySQL, which has made it much easier to display (and sort) the list of people who’ve registered.  I wrote to 10 comrades in Turkey specifically appealing for help building a Turkish contingent; no one has replied yet.  If you’ve not yet registered, please do so today – click here.

Mailings to national lists: We just did a mailing to our UK list advertising a half dozen events taking place in the next month and plan to do this regularly; we encouraged people to submit their events to our online events list — and we’ll take future ones from there.  We also did a Canada-only mailing today promoting a Bangladesh garment workers’ meeting in Toronto.

Writings: I had an article in Solidarity about the successful railway workers’ strike in Georgia and have been commissioned to write something on the same subject for Equal Times.  I have also been commissioned to write about the Histadrut’s recent organizing successes for Jungle World, in Germany.

Book & calendar sales: Still sluggish.  We’ve now sold 190 calendars; our third book (Firefox OS) is up to over 160.  An attempt to promote sales of the book on the Iraqi labour movement, “Hadi Never Died”, disappointed with only two sales. Tom is preparing a calendar of trade union events in the UK at which we can sell our publications in 2014, following on the success Derek had at the CUPE convention in Canada.  Comrades — you can help by posting reviews of our books on Amazon and spreading the word about all LabourStart publications.

Social networks: Our group on Facebook is growing quite quickly, though we’re doing nothing to promote it.  66 people joined in the last week alone.  On Twitter, we’ve launched a low-key, low-cost ad campaign which has brought us 12 new followers in the last 2 days (at a cost of £2.00).

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