Aug
25
2021
0

Global Labour Calendar – how you can help – and more news from the last week

Our 2014 calendar.

Global Labour Calendar: We plan to have this ready and on sale on 1 October. If you have any great labour photos that we might consider using, please email canada@labourstart.org. If you have ideas for dates we should mark on the calendar, please email ericlee@labourstart.org.

Afghanistan: We have reached out to both national trade union centres in the country, and have also engaged with the ITUC. We continue to upload news stories from unions abroad about Afghanistan, mostly from the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

Egypt: We have a campaign ready, but have been asked to place it on hold for the moment.

Iran: We are discussing launching a new campaign with an NGO that campaigns in support of jailed trade unionists, Free Them Now. More details soon.

Myanmar: We are in discussions with a Danish trade union about a possible campaign.

Internationalisation: Having largely completed the fixes to our Hebrew page, we’re now turning our attention to LabourStart’s Arabic language edition — including efforts to revitalise our core group of volunteer correspondents across the Arab world.

LabourStart Jobs: We continue adding jobs, mostly from Canada and the UK for the moment, publicising them across social media every week.

News database: We’ve continued work on the problem of countries whose names have changed. From this week, correspondents will no longer have the option to use the older names of a number of countries, including Swaziland, Burma and East Timor (though people will be able to view news posted under those names in the past).

Jul
21
2021
0

After more than 10 weeks, we owe you an apology …

This long-delayed report covers quite a bit of time — more than ten weeks. And it’s been a very busy ten weeks at that. This will be concise, but from next week I hope to resume regular weekly updates which can feature some more details. So here, basically, are the headlines since 10 May …

Campaigns: We launched quite a few, and even won some. These included campaigns in support of tobacco workers in the USA (in partnership with FLOC and the IUF), Thailand (with IndustriALL), Metro workers in Bucharest, Romania (with ETF and EPSU), Brazil, Colombia, and more. We also closed campaigns in Albania, India, Israel, Algeria and Ukraine. The last two were victories — our brother Mourad in Algeria was released from jail, and Profbud reached agreement with the employer in Ukraine. We’ve also had a partial win in Turkey, as Cihan has been released from jail but ordered to remain in the country to stand trial (that campaign continues).

Webinars: We held two excellent webinars in June, with several hundred participants. These focussed on Colombia and Brazil, and were closely tied to campaigns we launched in support of workers in both countries. Both the webinars and the campaigns have helped to raise the profile of our work in Latin America. We also reached out to the RWDSU in the USA to get a webinar going around the Amazon organising effort, but that seems to have stalled.

Publications: Dan Gallin’s new book Resistance was published and we’ve promoted it widely, including a limited time offer of free versions on Kindle. We have begun work on a 2022 Global Labour Calendar, our first in many years. We have also been working on a long-overdue edition of our Campaigning Online and Winning book.

Interns: The intern we were expecting to begin employing in mid-June was not available to us. Meanwhile, we are working on getting one or more interns from Canadian universities.

Fundraising: We did our annual appeal in mid-June, followed up by mailings about the release of Mourad and Cihan. We also did our first Facebook fundraiser, meeting our target this week. We’ve received generous donations in the last couple of months from IndustriALL, EPSU and ETF, and have reached out to other global unions and European federations. In addition, we have had tremendous support from a number of Canadian unions.

Outreach: We were approached by a team of academics in Canada who are doing “a research project which focuses on technology-driven innovation for the labour movement”. Eric had a two-hour interview with them, and Derek will soon be invited as well.

Fixes and changes to LabourStart: We are always making small changes, but in recent days have begun to attack a very long to-do list of suggested changes. We have now sorted out the country news pages for countries which have changed their names so that you will automatically see a link to the alternate name (e.g., Burma / Myanmar) — for the moment, this works only in English. We also fixed a problem with tweeting campaigns not in English and this seems to be working.

Blue skies: One project just beginning will be the tagging of news stories if these concern jobs in the labour movement. We often have such stories and we will find a way to show them in one place for people looking for such jobs — at no cost to the unions.

May
10
2021
0

May Day, another book and new campaigns

 

 

 

May started off with a bang, as we hosted a global event on Zoom on 2 May with speakers from the embattled trade union movements in Hong Kong, Myanmar, Turkey and Belarus. We also received a video from Iran, which we were unable to show on the day. The video of our event is live here. It has been seen by 213 people. Over 500 trade unionists registered to participate in our event. For the first time, we actually commissioned a logo, which has been shared widely:

We also completed the publication of the new book of essays by Dan Gallin, Resistance. The book is already available for sale from Amazon and we will begin promotion shortly.

We’ve also been working on a number of new campaigns:

  • Algeria: We launched a campaign last week at the request of PSI. The campaign already has 3,480 supporters and has been translated into a number of languages.
  • Hong Kong: We are in discussions with the HKCTU about ways we can help, including a global campaign.
  • India: A new campaign has been proposed and we’re working to coordinate a response with local and global unions.
  • Malaysia: We are supporting BWI’s new campaign by sharing their link across social media and our news page.
  • Myanmar: We’re in discussions about the possibility of organising a global campaign as well helping (again) with fundraising.
  • Turkey: We’re just about to go live with a campaign in support of a jailed Canadian trade unionist in Turkey.

USA: And finally, we’re discussing the possibility of a global webinar with the RWDSU on the struggle to unionise Amazon. Details coming soon.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Publications |
Apr
22
2021
0

May Day 2021

May Day: We’ve announced our event – an online meeting in support of jailed trade unionists in Hong Kong, Myanmar, Belarus, Turkey and Iran.  We’re invited the speakers and created a signup form for participants.  At the moment, 720 people have visited the registration page, and 257 have signed up to participate in the event — after less than one day of publicity.

Books: We’re in the final stages before the launch of Dan Gallin’s book, Resistance. Details soon.

New correspondents: We added new correspondents from the USA, Vanuatu, the UK, Canada, Italy, Nigeria and Malaysia.

Jordan: We asked the Education International if it’s possible to close down this campaign, which has now been running for more than 3 months.

Malaysia: We are about to launch a campaign, at the request of BWI.

Donations: We received another generous donation from a union in Norway.

FAQ: We had an old page on the site with old information — this has now been updated.

Home page: We fixed a problem – if there was a second country for the news story for a top story, it wasn’t appearing.

Dec
28
2020
0

A busy end to 2020 at LabourStart

At the end of each year, we write to all our volunteer translators. Our message this year included this:

We’ve run 24 campaigns this year.

Some of these campaigns resulted in victories for the workers.

We’ve helped get trade unionists released from jail, companies to sit down and negotiate with workers’ representatives, and workers reinstated after being wrongfully sacked.

Thanks to your efforts, these campaigns often appear in many languages — and as a result are much larger and more effective than campaigns that appear only in English or a handful of major languages.

We are strong believers in linguistic diversity and equality, and we believe that workers everywhere should be encouraged to participate in global solidarity campaigns, regardless of what language they speak.

Your work is turning that commitment of ours into a reality.

We also write to all our volunteer correspondents. In this year’s message, we wrote:

According to our statistics, 111 of you posted 55,618 news stories to our site this year. That’s average of 155 news stories every day of the year.

A new labour news story every 9 minutes.

When I look at the mainstream media news sites, I barely see a hint of all this news. Working people and our unions rarely make headlines.

Even some union websites feature hardly any updated news. Some major union websites go weeks without a single update.

But not LabourStart.

If you don’t glance at our site for a week, you’ve missed 1,000 news stories.

This is entirely due to your efforts — and to your understanding of our movement and the challenges we face, in your country and all over the world.

In the last two weeks, despite the holiday season, we’ve been busy as usual.

New campaign: We launched a new campaign in support of Ukrainian workers who have gone without pay for the last three years. The campaign is backed by the Ukrainian union PROFBUD and BWI. Today it already has nearly 4,000 supporters, and appears in 9 languages with more coming.

Our home page: This is now working in Russian and Ukrainian, showing our current campaigns. The ‘more campaigns’ link now works for all languages, which are showing only the most recent active campaigns. All links on the home page that pointed to insecure (http) links now point to secure (https) versions of the same page. We’ve been going through our home pages in all languages trying to make certain that all signup links to our mailing list now point to Mailchimp and not Sendy.

Reviving dormant languages: We wrote to volunteer translators for Finnish and Polish, and are following up also with Arabic, Farsi, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese as well. All of these languages have had volunteer translators in the past, and if we can revive them all, our campaigns will reach much larger audiences.

Outreach: We wrote to a large number if Indian and Pakistani mine workers’ unions, and also reached out to the person who controls the ‘India labour news’ page on Facebook, in the hope of growing LabourStart’s presence in the region.

Bookshop: We’ve added many more titles to our US and UK bookshops on bookshop.org, and are planning to hold live author events on Zoom next month. In December, the US bookshop had 241 views and the UK one had 384 views and two sales.

Correspondents’ webinar: Our first-ever online meeting with correspondents was a success, with 35 participants.

LinkedIn: We now have a page in addition to our long-standing group. It has 33 followers. The group has grown to 2,250.

Resistance: This is the working title of the next collection of essays by Dan Gallin which we will be publishing in the next few weeks. Work on this has now resumed.

Aug
31
2020
0

We have never had more live campaigns than we have today

We are currently running 13 campaigns — a new record for us.

They come from Albania, Belarus, Brazil, Cambodia, the Czech Republic, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Peru, Poland, Turkey, and Zimbabwe — so we have most of the world’s regions covered.

Our campaign partners include the International Trade Union Confederation, European Trade Union Confederation, Building and Wood Workers International, Education International, IndustriALL, International Transport Workers Federation, International Union of Foodworkers, Public Services International, UNI Global Union, the European Transport Workers Federation, the Zimbabwean Nurses Association (ZINA), Deriteks (Turkey), Indonesian Labour with the People Movement (GEBRAK), National Union of Workers in Hospital Support and Allied Services (Malaysia), the Trade Union of United Mineworkers of Bulqiza (Albania), and the independent Belarusian trade unions.

The most recent campaigns we’ve launched (this month) are these four:

  • Belarus: Stop the violence – defend democracy and human rightsv- 5,135 supporters
  • Cambodia: Free jailed union leaders now – 4,566 supporters
  • Indonesia: Stop Widodo’s Omnibus Bill and protect workers and their families – 5,178 supporters
  • Jordan: Release leaders of the Jordanian Teacher Association – 5,511 supporters

Please do what you can to help us ramp up support for all these campaigns.

A number of the campaigns are having successful results — for example, in Jordan jailed leaders of the teachers union were released, and we expect to close the current campaign shortly. And we now have a document which we can begin to share telling the stories of a significant number of campaign we victories we had in 2019-20.

Thanks to the work of our wonderful volunteer translators, two languages that had been problematic for us (few translations) are now working well — German and Korean. These are two of our biggest mailing lists (with over 9,200 subscribers between them), so we’re very pleased to be able to share all our current campaigns with them. In addition, our backlog of campaigns has now been translated into Turkish.

Much of the work getting the campaign translations posted and the mailings sent out is now being done by our new intern, Nate. In addition, we have this month taken on another intern, a student at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Hargun Sodhi; she will begin work with us this week.

Thanks to all the new campaigns, our mailing lists are experiencing significant growth this month. In August we added 1,188 new subscribers, most of them to the English list. All of our mailing lists have now been imported into Sendy.

We made a lot of progress on the second volume of Dan Gallin’s writings — we now have all the texts digitised and ready to be edited. Dan has even suggested a title — Resistance.

Finally, we’ve had a problem with our newswires in the different languages (though the country newswires work) — this is due to changes IONOS made to their system and we are working to fix this.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Intern,Mailing list,Publications |
Feb
05
2020
0

New campaign in support of German workers, victory in Indonesia

It’s been six weeks since this page was last updated – we’ll be resuming regular updates from today. For this update, we’ll organise the news by country.

Cambodia:
We closed our campaign in all 18 languages after 6 months; it had 6,012 supporters. This did not end in a win.

Germany:
We launched a campaign in support of Ver.di members at Ameos, which has been doing some union busting. After just a few days online, it had over 4,600 supporters.

Striking workers at Ameos.

Ghana:
A student at the Global Labour University from Ghana (and currently based in Germany) is likely to begin work for us shortly for a few weeks as an intern.

Indonesia:
We closed the campaign (which had 5,638 supporters) because Rio has been set free, but we are waiting to hear the results of his upcoming court appearance before issuing a public statement to our lists.

Kazakhstan:
We have asked if we can close this campaign after three months and are awaiting a response.

Russia:
During a four-day visit to Moscow in January, we led a workshop with trade unions affiliated to KTR, the labour federation. We were also interviewed by the trade union newspaper Solidarnosc. We also discussed with our Russian comrades the possibility of a regional or global conference.

Switzerland:
We met with Dan Gallin of the Global Labour Institute in Geneva to discuss a second volume of his writings (we published the first in 2016).

UK:
We met with the new director of communications at the London-based International Transport Workers Federation in London and discussed our joint work. The ITF also made a generous donation to LabourStart this year.
We met with the new General Secretary of the teachers’ union, NASUWT. This union plays a very active role in international solidarity campaigns.

USA:
We have ordered a quarter page advertisement in the program of the upcoming Labor Notes conference in Chicago.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Fund-raising,Publications |
Nov
21
2019
0

An overdue update – but lots to report!

This update is a couple of weeks overdue – sorry. But the good news is that … there’s lots of good news.  Let’s start with our campaigns.

Philippines campaign: We launched this last week at the request of the Education International. After 6 days online, it appears in 13 languages and has 4,773 supporters.

Kazakhstan campaign: After 20 days, this is live in 12 languages and has 4,871 supporters.

Cambodia campaign: We were asked to keep this live until the end of this year. The campaign appears in 18 languages and has 5,802 supporters.

Turkey campaign: After more than three months online, we closed the campaign in support of municipal workers in Alia?a. It had 6,833 supporters.

We also helped the IUF promote their new Coca-Cola and Cambodia campaigns.

Mailing lists: Following the sudden collapse on 31 October of the company which hosted our mailing lists (Sendy Hosting), we were able to migrate them all to our own server in the UK. We continue to use the same software (Sendy), but this was still a time-consuming process. We have begun fixing the sign up links so that everywhere points to the new, self-hosted version of Sendy which we are using. We picked up 186 new subscribers this month — people who supported our campaigns.

Global union federations: Eric travelled to Brussels to meet with the general secretary and staff at the Education International, and also had meetings with senior IUF staff in London and Geneva.

Other meetings: Eric also met with the chief executive of the Society of Authors in the UK to discuss possible campaigns, and with the Open Societies Foundations in London. We also have an ongoing conversation with the Wage Indicator Foundation in the Netherlands about possible cooperation.

Japan: With the move of one of our correspondents to Tokyo, we will be renewing our efforts in Japan, and the first step is likely going to be a translation of our ‘About LabourStart’ page to introduce our project.

Liberia: We had relatively long email conversation about building a website for the country’s unions.

USA: We had an email conversation with FLOC about helping them with their next campaigns. We also promoted widely news of the victory at Wendt — which had been the subject of a LabourStart campaign last year.  We heard back from Labor Notes and are pursuing possibilities relating to LabourStart panels or workshops at their conference in Chicago in April.

Next book: Following a meeting with Dan Gallin in Geneva, we agreed to move forward on a second collection of his essays about the international labour movement.

Donations: We received a generous donation from EPSU, the European region of PSI, and pledges from two more global union federations.

Jul
15
2019
2

New campaign, new mailing lists and a book promotion

Cambodia: Workers at the West Mebun temple.

New campaign – Cambodia. We launched a new campaign in support of workers restoring the West Mebun temple last week at the request of BWI and the Building and Wood Workers Trade Union Federation of Cambodia. Today it has 4,213 supporters and appears in 16 languages (three of those will go live later today or tomorrow).

Sendy: Claims it will save us 99% of what we were spending on MailChimp.

Mailing lists: We have now completed the migration from MailChimp to Sendy, which will result in a very substantial cost saving. We’ve used the opportunity to create new sign-up pages on LabourStart for the mailing list in many languages, with more being added every day. Links to these new pages feature now on a number of our home pages. Though we still recruit most new subscribers from supporters of our campaigns, this will raise awareness of our mailing lists to a wider audience. We had a number of teething problems with our new host, but these now seem to have been overcome.

The result of our campaign: a 400% increase in the number of readers of this fantastic book.

Book promotion: We offered our book about migrant workers — The Strangers Among Us: Tales from a Global Migrant Worker Movement — for free for five days on Kindle. Previously, over the course of two years, we had only managed to sell 162 copies of this book. But our free campaign this month resulted in 662 more downloads — as well as a few sales of the print edition. This was a massive increase in the number of people who are reading the book, which is great. As expected, a handful of our readers complained that we were using the Amazon Kindle platform, so we located a PDF version and shared this with them as a free download. We will do this for one of our other books in September.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Mailing list,Publications |
Apr
09
2018
0

A busy week: Updates for Algeria, Brazil, Georgia, Iran, North America, Turkey, Ukraine, UK, and the USA

Our stall at the Labor Notes conference in Chicago this weekend.

Algeria: Our campaign in support of the independent energy workers union has been extended by a month at the request of the global union federations. It has reached 9,925 messages sent, making it the largest currently-running LabourStart campaign. I encourage all of you to help us get that number up past the 10,000 mark in the next few days.

Brazil: We collected and publicised widely the many statements by international unions condemning the arrest of former president Lula.

Georgia: Three Georgian news stories this week got special attention on LabourStart and wide promotion by us on social media – the mining disaster in Tkibuli in which six workers died, a hunger strike by port workers in Batumi, and the court decision in support of Rustavi Azot workers, who were the subject of a recent LabourStart campaign. Our 8-week old campaign supporting the Georgian unions’ call for a new labour law is up to 6,070 supporters. Eric will be travelling to Georgia in another 13 days and will meet with trade union leaders then.

Global: We continued doing weekly promotions on social media aimed at attracting new, individual subscriptions to the English mailing list. We also began preparing for our annual fundraising appeals, both to individuals and to major union donors.

Iran: Our campaign demanding the release of Esmail Abdi, which is getting close to the 3-month mark, has now reached 8,356 messages sent. This is the most recent of several campaigns we’ve run demanding his freedom, and is our second most popular current campaign.

North America: We had a strong presence at the Labor Notes conference in Chicago organised and led by Derek, who drove from Ontario. We also promoted this effort in a mass mailing to our US and Canadian lists, and with a dedicated website. We had a fully kitted-out stall, distributed flyers, sold books, and signed up new supporters.

Turkey: We signed up a new volunteer correspondent, who works for a well-regarded project called Solidarity TV. Meanwhile, our current campaign targetting Roy Robson is up to 7,670 supporters and is running in 16 languages.

UK: We designed and printed 1,000 full-colour leaflets for distribution at upcoming events, including this week’s Unions 21 conference in London, with a link to a dedicated website very similar to the one we did for Labor Notes – this will be template for other ‘welcome to LabourStart’ websites as needed.

Ukraine: We responded to an appeal by metal workers, urging them to get in touch with IndustriALL.

USA: At the request of a union webmaster in Michigan, we finally completed the creation of RSS news feeds for all 50 US states, updated automatically every 30 minutes.

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