Jan
31
2019
0

New year – new campaigns, with 3 launched in the last 2 weeks

Bangladesh: We shared the story about the garment strikers being sacked widely on a social media, and as a top global news story.

Brazil: We shared the BWI/IndustriALL statement on Vale and the dam disaster on social media and as a top global news story.

Canada: We did a mailing to our Canadian supporters in support of the UFCW.

Germany: We shared widely on social media and as a top global news story the Education International story about a joint German/Polish/Israeli teachers’ event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

Guatemala: We launched a new campaign at the request of PSI.

Iran: At the request of Amnesty International, we shared their campaign as a top global labour news story, and across social media. Earlier, we publicised the re-arrest of Iranian trade unionist Esmail Bakhshi at the request of one of our correspondents in New Zealand.

Korea: We launched a new campaign at the request of PSI.

Philippines: At the request of the Education International, we launched a campaign. It is now live in 15 languages.

South Africa: We shared a COSATU general strike story widely on social media.

Sudan: We publicised a story about Sudanese protests – led by the doctors’ union – as a top global news story and across social media.

Thailand: Noting the low participation rates for the Thai language version of the campaign, we wrote to the ITF and they have contacted the local union to ensure broader support.

Tunisia: We shared our coverage of the general strike widely on social media.

UK: We added a new correspondent.

USA: We shared the Labor Notes story about victory in LA teachers’ strike across social media, and as a top global news story.

Labour Photo of the Year: We began discussing the possibility of reviving this competition.

Mailing lists: We added 211 campaign supporters to our lists.

Coding issues: There was a fairly long to-do list here, but we’ve managed to cross a few of the items off the list.
We managed to fix the repeating text in the left column of country news pages in French — this was a particular problem for the Canadian news page.
We also fixed a problem with the display of labour history items in French on the Canada page.
We fixed our news page to ensure that when clicking on a state or province, you are taken to the new page and the correct language (this was previously hard-coded to English).
We fixed it so that all countries that have directories named after them now point to the correct pages, e.g., www.labourstart.org/cuba.
We fixed the display of country names in the centre column on the Spanish page.
We changed the campaign page to offer a radio button with yes/no options for joining the mailing list. Some campaigning organisations, including Britain’s TUC, have found that this increases the number of people who opt-in to mailing lists.
We fixed the problem which would arise when people adding commas to their names when supporting our campaigns; this breaks the syntax for sending emails, and has lead to some bounces recently.

Jan
16
2019
0

Our first campaign of the new year launched

The first two weeks of the new year have seen a surge of activity, including a new campaign in support of railway workers in Thailand.

Australia: We shared the story about the Australian government documents and the MUA dispute as a top global news story and on social media.

Bangladesh: We promoted UNI’s story on the garment workers strike as a top global news story, and across social media.

Finland: We had a meeting in London with one of our most active and veteran Finnish correspondents, and discussed future collaboration.

Hungary: Following up on our campaign in December, we shared the story about the ongoing protests and upcoming strike in Hungary as a top global news story and on social media.

India: We had exemplary coverage of the general strike, which was possibly the largest strike in human history, both as top global news stories and across social media.

Korea: We promoted a story about the dramatic end of a smokestack sit-in as a top global news story and across social media.

New Zealand: We welcomed a new correspondent.

Thailand: We launched a new campaign at the request of the ITF, our first campaign of 2019. After just six days online, it has over 5,000 supporters and appears in 12 languages with more on the way.

UK: We helped a UK charity promote their annual campaigner prize, asking our supporters to suggest candidates. LabourStart won the prize two years ago.

Ukraine: We promoted a story about women mine workers in Ukraine on hunger strike as a top global news story, and across social media.

USA: We shared the story about Tesla’s unwillingness to buy a GM plant in Youngstown because it’s unionised – as a top priority global news story, and across social media. We also promoted the story about the Florida McDonald’s walkout across social media and as a top global news story. And we gave a lot of coverage to the ongoing Los Angeles teachers’ strike, both as top global story and across social media.

Zimbabwe: The ITUC Zimbabwe story is promoted as a top global story, and shared widely on social media.

Executive: The members of LabourStart’s Executive held their first quarterly videoconference following up three months later on the decisions taken in Barcelona. They discussed, among other things, the addition of new members to the Executive and a global conference in 2019. More details coming soon.

Internationalisation: We focussed on Spanish and began moving toward a translation of the interface for adding news, as well as a signup page for new correspondents in that language. We also fixed the problem of showing country news in Spanish for countries with spaces in the names (e.g., Costa Rica). But we need to fix this for other languages too and will do this shortly.

Mailing lists: We imported 192 new subscribers to our lists in the first two weeks of the new year. We raised the question of how to grow mailing lists in the post-GDPR era to the e-campaigning forum and received some helpful ideas, which we will be implementing in our campaigning platform.

Dec
31
2018
0

Final update for 2018: A setback in Hungary ends a year of activism

I thought I’d get off an update before 2018 ends. Here’s what we’ve been up to for the last 12 days:

Cambodia: We publicised the story about 95 NGOs condemning convictions of union leaders in Cambodia, sharing it widely on social media and as a top global news story on LabourStart.

Canada: Our CUPW campaign got a boost, in part due to the Hungary mailing (see below), picking up 653 new supporters in the last week, and becoming our largest active campaign. It currently has 8,412 supporters and we may be able to push this up to 10,000.

China: A new campaign has been suggested to us; we’re waiting to see if a partner can be found.

Global: Today, we shared the IFJ’s news report about 94 journalists being killed this year both as a top global news story on LabourStart, and across social media.

Hungary: We closed our campaign eight days ago, after the President signed the “slave law”. The campaign was only live for five days, got 7,288 supporters, and appeared in 13 languages. The Hungarian unions gave us a text to use to sum up what happened. We followed this with a mass mailing to all our lists reporting on this setback (because we make a point of being honest and transparent, and we share good news and bad). The mailing encouraged people to support our other active campaigns, to follow us on social media, and to donate — two days before Christmas. Because of that, response rates were low.

India: We shared a story about the 30,000 strong farmers’ “long march” as a top global news story, and on social media, as well as making it our photo of the week. We did the same with a story about a hunger strike by Indian teachers.

Philippines: We shared a story about a protest camp story as a top global news story and across social media.

UK: We supported the TUC’s campaign in support of restaurant workers at TGIF with a mass mailing to our UK list.

Zimbabwe: We promoted our Zimbabwe news page with its stories about the hospital strike as a top global story and across social media.

Correspondents & Translators: We wrote an end of year message to all correspondents and translators – especially to encourage inactive correspondents to contribute again, and to encourage inactive translators for specific languages to get involved again. In that message I was able to point out some interesting (to me) numbers:

As of today, our correspondents have posted over 45,000 news stories this year on LabourStart. That’s 124 stories every day, on average.

There were a total of 107 active correspondents this year, posting about 421 stories each, more than one every day.

LabourStart’s news is read by tens of thousands of trade unionists. This year we had 791,732 visitors to the web site. Many trade unionists depend on LabourStart to keep them up to date with what is in happening in the international trade union movement.

Internationalisation: We fixed the home page in French to work like the one in English, which means that Canadian stories no longer dominate the top of the page.

Mailing lists: In an end of year boost, we added 672 new subscribers to our lists – most in English and Russian.

Nov
20
2018
0

November update: 2 campaigns launched, we revitalise LS in Spanish, German, Swedish, etc

Brazil: Following the election, we promoted the EI story about Brazil as a top global news story and across social media.

China: We promoted the story about a Chinese firm that forced workers to eat cockroaches and drink urine – as a top global news story, and on social media. Two officials at the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions signed up as LabourStart correspondents.

Germany: We renewed our Twitter account in German, and are posting to it every day. We now follow well over 400 other accounts and some of those have started following back, and as a result, this month we’ve picked up about 20 new followers. It’s a beginning.

India: We shared the ITUC story on erosion of labour laws in India as a top global news story and widely on social media. We also participated in a London meeting of various NGOs and campaigning organisations in the UK in support of workers in the tea plantations of Assam; the organisers of the event publicly thanked LabourStart for promoting their campaign targetting UK tea companies.

Indonesia: We shared the IUF story on Coca-Cola struggle as a top global news story and widely on social media.

Kazakhstan: We launched a new campaign at the request of many global and national unions to protest the repression of trade unionists here. In the first 5 days online, the campaign has over 3,600 supporters and appears in 11 languages.

Philippines: We shared a story about a trade unionist being killed in the Philippines on social media.

Spain: We are in discussion with one of the national trade union centres about a possible campaign, to be launched soon.

Sweden: We resume doing mailings to our Swedish list now that our campaigns are once again being translated into Swedish. We now have 7 volunteer translators for Swedish.

Thailand: We launched a new campaign at the request of IndustriALL to protest the behaviour of Mitsubishi Electric. After 12 days online, the campaign is in 13 languages and has over 5,450 supporters.

Turkey: We shared the ITUC story on the murder of a trade union leader as a top global news story and widely on social media. Our campaign in support of workers at Istanbul’s new airport, launched six weeks ago, is now in 23 languages, and has almost 8,700 supporters.

UK: We had a long meeting at Unite the Union’s headquarters to discuss future joint work. We created a meme in support of RMT strikers on the London Underground and post it on social media. It is very widely shared.

Finances: We thanked TUAC for their generous donation. Amazon has begun to pay us — finally — for books we have published using their CreateSpace platform and Kindle.

Internationalisation: We’re getting our campaigns framework translated into Kurdish and Nepalese and we had a campaign translated for the first time in a long time into Arabic. The Spanish home page now has all country names translated into Spanish, where we are now showing top global news stories, as we do in some other languages. Derek has also begun tweeting in Spanish.

Mailing lists: We added 93 new subscribers, who opted-in from campaigns.

News: We fixed the link that allows correspondents to change their default language and country, and tested it.

Nov
02
2018
0

Reviving our campaigns and mailings in Italian, Polish, Arabic and other languages

Brazil: We gave extensive publicity to the IUF’s powerful editorial on the eve of the elections.

Canada: We did a mailing to our Canadian list promoting CLIFF, the labour film festival.

Italy: As we were having some difficulties getting our campaigns and mailings translated, we invited 819 Italian speakers on our English mailing list to volunter to help with translations — and have been inundated with many positive responses.

Poland: We did something similar to the Polish list, and now have translators and translations of our campaigns after a very long time.

Spain: We have been approached by Spanish unions about launching a campaign and hope to do this shortly.

Turkey: We shared Human Rights Watch’s story about the Istanbul airport struggle widely. At the moment, our campaign has 8,459 supporters and appears in 21 languages, with more coming. This campaign too should rise to above 10,000 supporters.

USA: We shared Unite Here’s Marriott campaign to social networks. We also shared widely a news story from the USA about journalists in new media who are organising and voting to strike.

Campaigns: We’ve improved the ability to share campaigns by email with friends in English. The French version is also being prepared now. We also now have translations of a basic text to use 7 days after a campaign launch, when writing a followup message to people who haven’t yet opened our mailing — this is now in English, French, Italian, Russian and Turkish, and our campaigns will now always receive a boost after a week in those languages. (Previously, we did this only in English.) Our attempts to find new volunteer translators for our campaigns in Arabic has not yet resulted in anything concrete, despite writing directly to more than 2,000 Arabic speakers on our English list.

Mailing lists: We added just 45 new subscribers to our lists, most of them for our Turkish list.

Articles: We shared Eric’s article from the current issue of International Union Rights magazine, on the subject of online campaigning as a top news story on LabourStart and on social networks.

Oct
04
2018
--

Relaunching our Finnish language campaigns – and more

It’s been another busy week.

Finland: Eight people responded to our appeal for volunteer translators as we attempted to revive our campaigns in Finnish; one of the campaigns has now been translated (see below) — our first Finnish language campaign in a long time.

Germany: We gave wide publicity to the Amazon workers strike, both as a top story on LabourStart and on social media — and a day later Jeff Bezos raised pay world-wide. Coincidence?

Global: We gave extensive publicity to the upcoming World Day for Decent Work (WDDW).

Iran: Our campaign in support of jailed teacher trade unionist Mohammed Habibi is now up to 10,484 supporters — and is our first campaign with more than 1,000 French-language supporters. This week it appeared in Finnish, making a total of 19 languages.

Isle of Man: We posted our first news story ever from this country.

Korea: We gave wide publicity to the story about Samsung’s anti-union activities, on social media.

Nigeria: We gave extensive publicity to the ITUC’s coverage of the general strike in this country.

Russia: We reviewed which languages were not yet covered in our campaign in support of Professor Balashov and our translators in Hebrew, Japanese and Turkish quickly responded with new translations. This campaign is slowly moving towards 10,000 supporters, with 9,424 so far. We’ve asked the Education International for help in promoting this campaign to their affiliates.

Somalia: We continued a dialogue with a Somali trade unionist, introducing him to the institutions of the global labour movement which might be willing to help build independent, democratic unions in his country.

Switzerland: We participated in a meeting of the network of Global Labour Institutes held last weekend in Geneva.

USA: We shared Bernie Sanders’ video responding to Jeff Bezos’ announcement of pay increases for Amazon workers.


Finances: IndustriALL and the Education International made generous donations this week.

Mailing lists: Our Dutch and German lists grew by 21 names this week.

Site redesign: We will have a meeting later today with our friends at Outlandish, a cooperative that specialises in web design. More details coming soon.

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.

Mar
07
2018
0

New campaign launched in support of Turkish clothing workers

It’s been two-and-a-half weeks since I last updated this blog, so, apologies for that. It’s been a busy time — keep reading …

We launched a major new campaign in support of workers in Turkey who are being sacked for joining a trade union by a German clothing business, Roy Robson. After less than a week online, the campaign appears in 15 languages and has 5,853 supporters. One of our German supporters received an interesting reply from the company, which he shared with us — and which we shared with IndustriALL, whose campaign this is. Meanwhile, the company has attempted to block our messages, but we retain the option of a petition version, which we will deliver to them, even if they’re not letting individual messages through by email. We publicised on social media the fact that they were trying to block us.

The Georgia campaign which we launched just three weeks ago continues to grow. It’s now up to 5,983 supporters in 19 languages. Over 400 of those supporters were responding to the Georgian language version of the campaign. We re-discovered a problem with this campaign and have noted to avoid it in future: sometimes, when the default message text is long, we need to break it up into shorter paragraphs, otherwise some servers reject this and we get error messages.

We also had a problem with some translations of campaigns not reaching us through the usual online form. We dealt with this by storing the translations on the server as well as sending them by email, so they are not lost. This appears to now work and we have not missed any translations since then.

We heard from the Georgian union which asked us to run the previous campaign (Rustavi Azot). Here is what they reported to us: “During the entire year 2017, the company conducted a very strong pressure against the trade union organization using various means. In fact, it was a fierce battle waged against local leaders and unfortunately, they could not resist. The company destroyed the trade union, but plenty of dedicated people still remain there and, in the future, they will restart the struggle and restore the organization. The international support received through the LabourStart was of huge help to our members. When you are supported by an army of people of more than 7,000 people, this is a very big incentive and motivation. Thanks to all of you, thanks to LabourStart, thanks to IndustriALL Global Union.

We’re continuing efforts to revive dormant languages, with some success. We sent out our first mailing to our Finnish list in several years, now that we have volunteer translators again for that language. We’re currently trying to get a volunteer translator for Thai. And we’re continuing with Japanese, Swedish and other languages that we had not been using for some time.

Next month is the Labor Notes conference in Chicago, at which LabourStart will have a stall. Derek Blackadder is coordinating our effort there. This is an important event, which will have well over 2,000 participants. We’ve shipped over copies of our most recent book (on organising migrant workers), have prepared a special flyer and website, and are arranging for the ILO to ship over copies of their new book on improving trade union communications which includes a positive reference to LabourStart.

We continue to try to recruit new subscribers to the mailing lists — this is now a regular weekly effort and includes reminders on social media, as well as the occasional pop-up window on our website.

Our mailing lists continue to grow. In the last couple of weeks we added 485 addresses of campaign supporters. Most of these are added to our new Georgian language list.

We’re going to continue with regular (probably monthly) “explainers” — mailings to our list with 500 word articles by local experts. The first one was by Derek on the split in the Canadian trade unions. For our second one, we’re hoping for a US writer (we’ve already approached one) to explain the Janus case before the Supreme Court.

We’ve had a request for RSS versions of our US state newswires, so we’re working on that. We already have this in JavaScript format, but RSS works better for some.

Finally, in the UK, we’re being given an award this coming weekend by the Ron Todd Foundation. Ron Todd was the general secretary of the TGWU, a forerunner of today’s Unite the Union. We invited UK supporters of LabourStart to attend the event at the Marx Memorial Library in London.

Feb
18
2018
0

New campaign launched in support of Georgian unions – and in the Georgian language too

We launched a new campaign last week in support of the Georgian trade union movement which is fighting for a better labour law. For the first time, we are running the campaign in the Georgian language as well.  (See the screenshot on the left.)

The campaign is already live in seven languages with more to come, and has over 3,700 supporters.

We also closed the earlier Georgian campaign in support of metal workers there. Launched in November, it had 7,373 supporters and appeared in 18 languages – but not Georgian. We haven’t yet heard back from the local union on what effect it may have had.

Thanks to our new volunteer translators, we are running the Email Abdi (Iran) campaign in Japanese and Polish. It will be great to get those languages going again as we already have substantial mailing lists. We hope to also have campaigns live in Thai thanks to a new volunteer. And next week, we’ll begin the effort to revive our Arabic language campaigns as well.

Many more correspondents are now active following an appeal we sent out recently, our first direct message to our correspondents in a long time. We had 57 active correspondents this month, up from just 40 a couple of weeks ago.

We’ve heard from a group of our activists in Australia who have promised to recruit new correspondents and to try to do some of the work which Andrew Casey has done all these years.

To try to encourage people to join up to our English-language mailing list, we posted to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and added a pop-up advert on the country news pages. This has generated very few new subscribers.

Our Russian language Twitter feed is being revived – thanks to Kirill. And our French language feed is no longer protected and we’ll be seeking volunteers to help Andy with this. We were also able to gain control over the Australian LabourStart Twitter account which Andrew had set up and run, and have asked our local correspondents there to take this over.

We’re getting ready to participate in the Labor Notes conference in Chicago in April and have prepared a leaflet which we will be distributing there. We also have an advert in the conference programme and a team of volunteers which Derek is organising. We’ll have a table to distribute our publications, and to sign people up to our campaigns. This is a very important conference, with thousands of attendees, and is a great opportunity to introduce LabourStart to a North American audience.

Finally, we’ve won another award in the UK but I cannot reveal any details until it is made public in the next few days.

Feb
07
2018
3

Mass mailings with a difference, new correspondents, revived language editions and more

The main news story for us last week was the sudden passing of our friend and comrade Andrew Casey. (See the the stories below for our obituary, shared with LabourStart’s English language mailing list, and a video of Andrew’s first – and last – speech.)

We’ve begun a series of mass mailings, probably one per month, which will not focus just on a campaign, but on news and analysis. (This is one more way in which LabourStart is not a clicktivist organisation.) The first such message is a 500-word piece by Derek Blackadder about the split in the Canadian labour movement. It got a lot of feedback, and was a good thing. We’re open to your ideas about what subjects we should cover and who should write these short, 500-word pieces (with links of course).

This week we added four new correspondents, one from Australia, one from India and two from Georgia. That’s a total of six new correspondents in three weeks. I’ve decided to resume doing regular (probably monthly) mailings to all correspondents. If any of you have any thoughts about this — things we could be saying — please let me know.

We continue to revive our dormant language editions, and following the success with Finnish and Swedish, last week we recruited a new translator for Polish. Next week, we’ll focus on Japanese.

Finally, our mailing lists continue to grow, despite not having new campaigns. We picked up 105 new subscribers this week.

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