We can go for weeks without getting a single request for a campaign, and then all at once everyone has an urgent action for us. Today we’re likely to push three different campaigns on three continents:
- In Europe, a union in Turkey is asking for our help — and the ITF is encouraging us to be involved. (I have just learned that the ITF has created the campaign on its website – so we will be linking to that.)
- In Africa, we’ve once again been asked by SACCAWU to help out in a dispute with a company.
- In Asia, we’re been approached a number of times around the arrest of a Thai labour activist. The Clean Clothes Campaign has already launched this as an online campaign so we need only link to them.
And within the last ten days, we’ve launched our Apple/Foxconn campaign in China and at the request of the IUF asked people to support their West Bengal (India) tea workers campaign.
And these are only the campaigns that we’ve agreed to help out with … there are others that we say no to. (E.g., the teachers union in Michigan and our comrades in Poland.)
Increasingly we’re forced to refuse help on the grounds that we need to stay focussed on workers rights — dealing with jailings and killings of trade unionists in particular — and cannot take up every difficult employer, for example. It’s not always easy to make these decisions.
In light of this, I suggest we consider adding a sentence to what we have published online.
Here is what we currently say:
LabourStart runs online campaigns at the request of trade unions around the world. Our preference is for campaigns to be submitted by global union federations, national trade union centres and national unions, but will in some circumstances accept campaigns from local and branch unions. We do not normally accept campaigns submitted by individuals or NGOs which are not unions. Campaigns which would benefit from global exposure and support are more likely to be approved than campaigns that will be of no interest outside of your locality or country. Our campaigns run for three months and if the issues are not resolved by then, LabourStart reserves the right to suspend the campaign. Unions which request campaigns from us are expected to keep us updated and to promote the campaign to their own members and others. We never charge unions for running these campaigns and the service will always be free.
I suggest that we add:
Campaigns which focus on violations of workers’ rights are more likely to be adopted than campaigns in support of everyday issues which arise in relations with employers, such as problems negotiating a collective agreement.