Oct
29
2020
0

New campaign in Belarus; our first album; “Alexa, play LabourStart” and more …

We last updated this blog two weeks ago — and what a fortnight it has been!

CAMPAIGNS:

We launched a new campaign demanding the release of jailed trade unionists in Belarus; after just six days online it is already our 5th largest active campaign (out of 9) and could easily grow into our largest. In addition to all the usual publicity, I wrote about it in my weekly column for Solidarity, which was shared widely.

Jailed trade unionists in Belarus.

Jailed trade unionists in Belarus.

Soon we’ll do followups after a week online and this should give it a big boost; our recent Myanmar campaign grew by about 25% thanks to that second wave of publicity, so this will almost certainly result in the campaign reaching 7,000 supporters, if not many more.

We now have 9 live campaigns, and here they are listed in order of the number of supporters and including the date they were launched:

1 Belarus: Stop the violence – defend democracy and human rights – 21-Aug-2020 – 7412
2 Myanmar: Stop union-busting at sporting goods company – 14-Oct-2020 – 7033
3 Colombia: Support miners striking against the ‘death shift’ at Cerrejón – 01-Oct-2020 – 6733
4 Albania: Solidarity with the miners – end repression now – 12-Dec-2019 – 6544
5 Belarus: Free union leaders and activists – 23-Oct-2020 – 5862
6 Jordan: Release leaders of the Jordanian Teacher Association – 10-Aug-2020 – 5838
7 Cambodia: Free jailed union leaders now – 24-Aug-2020 – 5729
8 India: Workers’ rights under attack – 13-Jun-2020 – 5678
9 Ukraine: Support miners in their fight for decent conditions – 18-Sep-2020 – 5346

We have another campaign in the pipeline from Israel, involving young workers and a major transnational company.

To help raise awareness of how successful we are with these campaigns, we’ve been sharing the translated PDFs of our campaign victories across social media, showing a new language every other day.

MAILING LISTS:

Our lists grew significantly in the last two weeks, as we added 822 new subscribers, mostly to the English list. (If we continue at this pace, we’ll pick up 21,000 new subscribers in the next year.) We also added 239 new subscribers to our Belarusian list yesterday, which previously had just 18 subscribers.

In an effort to raise awareness of our new campaigns in Punjabi (every campaign is now translated into that language, which is spoken by 125 million people), we did a mailing to 1,400 people from India and Pakistan on our English mailing list — and invited their help to translate our campaigns into other languages in that region.

FUNDRAISING:

We completed a 4-week campaign to sell our “Workers’ Rights are Human Rights” union-made t-shirts and increased sales from 130 to 230 by the time the campaign ended. The company which is producing the t-shirts (CustomInk) has already paid us our share, including many individual donations over and above the cost of the shirts.

People should begin receiving their shirts in the next 10 days and we wrote to everyone who ordered, suggesting that people post photos of themselves in the shirts on social media, which we can then share.

Our best-selling LabourStart t-shirt.

Because of problems some people were having with PayPal — and a reluctance by some to use PayPal on principle — we’ve added an alternative way to donate to LabourStart (Transferwise) to our donations page, and have suggested it to some individuals. We’ll mention this the next time we try to raise money. Transferwise allows easy international bank transfers as well as credit and debit card payments, with no need to sign up for an account.

We received generous donations from CUPE in Canada and the Education International, as well as pledges from both the ITUC and ETUC.

David Thorpe, a British entertainer and long-time supporter of LabourStart, has released an album with his band and is generously donating 30% of the proceeds to LabourStart. We’ll shortly be publicising this.

David Thorpe.

David Thorpe.

TELEGRAM:

Some time ago we set up a public channel on this network, which is widely used by pro-democracy protestors in Belarus, Hong Kong and Thailand. Two weeks ago, it had just 26 subscribers and we had not been posting to it. We’ve now revived it, and there are 137 subscribers now. We’ve begun posting regularly to this group — mostly events, new campaigns, and our photo of the week. We hope we can grow this by several hundred in the next few weeks.

INSTAGRAM:

This is another social network that we had not been using — but we now have an account and a page there, and already have 100 followers. Anyone who wants to help post images and texts there is invited to volunteer.

SMART SPEAKERS:

Tens of millions of people now use smart speakers (most notably Amazon echo, but there are others including Google Home and Apple’s Siri) to play music, listen to the news, etc. We now have a rudimentary LabourStart ‘skill’ which reads out (and shows on-screen) the latest top global labour news stories, updated every day. We should have a public version of this ready in the next few days.

LabourStart news - on an Amazon Echo device.

LabourStart news – on an Amazon Echo device.

AND FROM AROUND THE WORLD …

Armenia and Azerbaijan: We’ve given extensive coverage to the international and local trade union responses to the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, and now regularly report on the region. I wrote about this in a recent column for Solidarity.

Canada: LabourStart will be sponsoring a prize in CLIFF – the labour film festival.

Georgia: We’re reached out and gotten agreement from the Georgian Trade Union Confederation to resume translating all our campaigns and mailings into Georgian. We’ve also reached out (twice) to our five inactive correspondents in Georgia, and will soon try to recruit more. We’ve also shared a document on how to do global labour solidarity conferences with the GTUC, as we consider Tbilisi as a possible venue for such a conference in late 2021.

Singapore: A local union activist reached out to us and we had a very long discussion, including ways in which LabourStart can be helpful, particularly in supporting exploited migrant workers there.

USA: We continue to reach out to unions, including the mineworkers and farmworkers, and expect to shortly hold a live event online with the latter.

Oct
15
2020
0

Victory in Zimbabwe; 3 new campaigns launched; fundraising success

Apologies for the delay in getting out this report, which covers September and the first half of October. It’s been a very busy time with many new campaigns, some defeats and one wonderful victory, a successful fundraiser and ongoing issues with our mailing lists. Here are some highlights …

Miners in Ukraine take their struggle underground.

Campaigns:

We launched a campaign in support of garment workers in Myanmar on 14 October, miners in Colombia on 1 October, and miners in Ukraine on 18 September. The Colombia campaign very quickly became our second largest live campaign.
In late September, we closed our campaign in support of nurses in Zimbabwe after winning a big victory. As PSI wrote to us, “After 3 months of industrial action, the Zimbabwe Nurses Association has called the strike off in a reciprocation of the gestures of goodwill that have been made by the new health Minister, Constantino Chiwenga.”
The Turkey (Deriteks) campaign was closed after 3 months, without a good result for the workers and the Indonesia campaign was also closed after the Omnibus bill was passed – a defeat for the workers.
We closed our Poland, Malaysia, Czech Republic and Peru campaigns, but have not yet heard back from the sponsoring unions with any details of the results.
All of our campaigns have now been translated in Punjabi for the first time. Punjabi has also been added as a language for adding news to LabourStart.
We made a minor change to our campaigns page forcing users to choose ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the question of whether they want to be on our mailing list in the hope that this will boost sign-ups.
We’ve also prepared some PDFs in a number of languages highlighting several of our campaign victories in the last year and a half. These were shared in mass mailings to some of our lists.

Our best-selling LabourStart t-shirt.

Fundraising:

We had a very good fundraising drive starting on 8 September, raising over £25,000.
This included sales of over 130 t-shirts, starting on 24 September.
Our next fundraiser will take place in January.

Mailing lists:

Following some problems with Amazon (which Sendy uses to send out our messages), we have returned to use Mailchimp. We had some issues with both services, but these are now resolved with Mailchimp (though not yet with Amazon). We have noticed a significant increase in opens and clicks in Mailchimp compared to Sendy – including a 28% boost in opens for one of our lists, and we’re hopeful that this will lead to even larger campaigns.

7 October – World Day for Decent Work (WDDW):

We tagged news stories related to this, created a page modelled on the Covid-19 page, and wrote to all correspondents about this. We shared the link to this page across social media.
We also assisted the ITUC with a big promotion of their new Democracy Pledge campaign.

USA:

We now have a list of over 1,000 US trade unionists and have written to them twice. In addition, we’ve contacted leaders of the United Mine Workers to win their support for our campaigns for the miners in Belarus and Ukraine.

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 |
Jul
07
2020
0

5 campaigns launched this month

Since 1 June, we’ve been busy.

Brazil: We launched a campaign in support of Santander workers at the request of UNI Global Union — one of five campaigns we launched in the last month. It is our most successful campaign ever in the Portuguese language, with more than 1,000 supporters in the first few days. It is also on track to be our largest current campaign, with 7,162 supporters and still counting.

Czech Republic: We launched a campaign in support of Ryanair workers at the request of the European Transport Workers Federation. It is also picking up a larger number of supporters than usual and today has 6,603 supporters.

India: We launched a campaign at the request of a number of global unions including the ITUC to protest the new attacks on workers’ rights.  It has 4,456 supporters today.

Kyrgyzstan: We’ve publicised the arrest of a trade union leader and are exploring the launch of a new campaign.

Malaysia: We launched a campaign in support of hospital workers, which has also now been translated into the Malay language.  The campaign has 3,618 supporters.

Mexico: We raised the possibility of doing a campaign in support of a jailed labour lawyer and are still waiting to hear if there is interest.

Palestine: We are in discussions about the launch of new campaign.

Peru: We launched a new campaign to urge Falabella (a Chilean multinational home retailer) to reinstate 22 workers who have been dismissed for asking for better protection against Covid-19, at the request of UNI.  This campaign has 6,055 supporters

Philippines: We shared the IUF campaign in support of Coca-Cola workers widely through mass mailings, our website and social media.

Poland: We are awaiting to hear back from UNI about suspending our campaign here, which has been live for some six months already.

USA: We sent out a mailing to our English list in support of a campaign by farm workers union FLOC.

Campaigns: We noticed that we were having a problem with our script that shows campaigns — it was taking very long to load campaigns. We fixed this by removing the live counter, and later replacing this with one that is updated manually a few times a day. Loading speeds are now much faster, and this is probably contributing to increased support for our campaigns.

Correspondents: Now that we have completely cleared the email backlog from the last few months (yes — inbox zero at last), there are no longer any individuals waiting to become LabourStart correspondents. A total of 43 new correspondents signed up in the first half of 2020, and of these 10 have already posted news.

Country names: This has been an issue for some time as quite a few countries have changed their names in the last few years (most recently, North Macedonia and eSwatini); we have developed a work plan to solve this issue across both our news and campaigns platforms.

Donations: The European Transport Workers Federation has made a generous donation.

Global Labour University: We have been approached to make a presentation about LabourStart to their students later this month.

Health & Safety: We have new Health & Safety news pages in many languages and these have been promoted across the net. We’ve encouraged all correspondents to make use of this, posting and tagging health & safety news.

Interns: We are working with the Industrial and Labour Relations school at Cornell University about getting interns and they are enthusiastic to work with us on this.

LinkedIn: Our Group there continues to grow, despite the fact that we do nothing to promote it, and we picked up over 60 new members this month. Most of what we post to Facebook and Twitter is also posted here.

Mailing lists: We imported 1,107 new subscribers during the last two weeks (and two more imports in early June as well), with large groups joining the English and Portuguese lists.

Jun
01
2020
0

Victory in Cambodia – and a new campaign in Belarus

Mikalaj Valadzko.

Mikalaj Valadzko.

Belarus: We launched a new campaign to protest the sacking of a union activist. It had over 5,300 supporters in the first week, appearing in 18 languages. This is the first campaign we’ve translated into Belarusian.

Cambodia: The biggest news in the last 12 days is the victory of our Cambodia campaign. Our sister Soy Sros was released from jail. IndustriALL, which sponsored the campaign, released a video featuring their general secretary, Valter Sanches, explicitly naming the LabourStart campaign.

India: We have raised the possibility of an online campaign with our global union partners.

Philippines: We closed the campaign, which had 9,044 supporters, in all 18 languages after six months. Unfortunately, it did not achieve the results we were hoping for.

Campaigns: We’re aware that the show campaign script is rendering pages very slowly and have taken the first steps to speed this up. We’ll do more work on this this week, as we cannot have long wait times to load these pages – we will lose people if we do.

LabourStart.tv: We had some issues with the domain name (again!) not working; IONOS support eventually took care of this.

Mailing list issues: Two of our recent mailings to the English list experienced some issues completing; I have posted a support request to Sendy.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,LabourStart.tv,Mailing list |
May
19
2020
0

First new campaign in months – and LabourStart.tv is revived

Belarus: We will be launching a campaign shortly together with IndustriALL.

Soy Sros.

Mrs. Soy Sros, president of the CUMW local union at Superl Cambodia.

Cambodia: We launched our first new campaign in months in support of a sacked woman trade union leader. This is likely to be our first campaign to appear in the Khmer language.

Canada: We did a mailing to our list in support of a UFCW campaign.

Iran: LabourStart has been invited to play a part in the upcoming international day of solidarity with Iranian political prisoners; we will submit a video.

Myanmar: A campaign has been proposed; we are currently in discussions about how to move forward on this.

About LabourStart: This page — which we now link to prominently on campaigns — has now been updated and improved.

Events: We have stopped using this feature on LabourStart as no one was adding new events.

LabourStart.tv: We’ve revived this, and now have the labourstart.tv domain name again. For many of the videos, we now have embedded them onto the page, so you don’t have to leave LabourStart to view them. (As a result, the page looks much more interesting.) Correspondents have been encouraged to tag videos to appear here, and that part of the link submission page has been highlighted to make this easier. There’s also now a prominent graphic link to labourstart.tv on our home page.

Website design: We have migrated several more of our languages to the new home page; right now 26 languages use the new page and we have only 9 left to convert, which will take place in the next few days.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Events,LabourStart.tv |
Apr
13
2020
0

D-18: Virtual May Day preparations continue

The last week has been busy with preparations for our upcoming Virtual May Day event, which now has the support of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and eight global union federations.

We held a Zoom call last week with them and will hold another one tomorrow as we move ahead on practical steps to collect all the video content we need for what may be a 12 hour broadcast.

Our main broadcasting platform will be Vimeo, and we’ve purchased a subscription to its live streaming service, which allows an unlimited number of people to view our video at the same time. We’re working in close partnership with a colleague at PSI who has already set up a page where people can submit videos (or URL links to videos which are on the web) and has been exploring all the many options Vimeo offers to make our broadcast look as professional as possible. We will need to be circulating that link from today to the widest possible network. (We are waiting for confirmation that it all works.)

The global unions have discussed among themselves the issues which concern them the most and we hope that most of the videos will be connected to those issues.

We’ve contacted the people responsible for our three live campaigns on LabourStart (Albania, Poland, Philippines) in the hope that we can get videos from them. We should use Virtual May Day to build support for all those campaigns.

In other news, we did the first mailing ever to our most active correspondents, and will do this on a regular (probably quarterly) basis.

We also received a request for a new campaign and are currently reviewing options.

Finally, we still have a backlog of people who requested to be LabourStart correspondents. We hope to have that completely cleared up this week.

Mar
30
2020
0

Virtual May Day!

This year, for the first time in history, workers will not be able to hold traditional May Day events anywhere in the world. For that reason, LabourStart has taken the initiative to host a Virtual May Day, in partnership with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and global union federations. More details coming soon.

In other news:

  • We were able to close down the Kazakhstan campaign as Erlan Baltabay was released from jail. The campaign had 7,651 supporters and ran in 18 languages. This is very good news, as was the release earlier of the Iranian teacher trade unionist Esmail Abdi. We will share this good news shortly with our lists.
  • COVID-19: We sent a reminder to all correspondents how to tag stories. We have over 1,000 stories on the English page alone, as well as in many other languages. The page was also repeatedly promoted over social media again. We are adding languages to this project all the time, most recently including Latvian, Lithuanian, Estonian and Slovenian
  • We did a mailing to our German list to promote a campaign being run by ver.di.
Written by admin in: 2020 Virtual May Day,Campaigns,COVID-19 |
Mar
23
2020
0

COVID-19: Week 2

While most of the work in the last week has naturally focussed on the COVID-19 pandemic, let’s start with some good news:

Iran: Jailed teachers trade union leader Esmail Abdi, who has been the subject of more than one LabourStart campaign over the years, has been released as part of the general amnesty now taking place in Iran.

Correspondents: We continued to add many new ones, including from Sweden, Portugal and Canada, though a backlog remains.

And now, back to COVID-19:

Our special website now works ALL our languages. Country names appear, where available, in the correct language. Additional links have been added to the left column in a number of languages, with more on the way. Stories which have been tagged as top priority (global or country) have been highlighted in yellow. Mailings were sent in many languages to promote the page. In the last week, traffic to this page exceeded traffic to our home page, and is growing rapidly.

As of this morning, there were well over 1,000 stories about the pandemic on LabourStart’s special news page. These included 613 news stories about COVID-19 on LabourStart in English, 231 in French, 229 in Spanish, 102 in Portuguese, 88 in Norwegian, 48 in Dutch, 38 in Italian, 16 in Icelandic, 16 in Russian, 10 in Turkish, 9 in German, 6 in Polish, 5 in Danish, 4 in Finnish, 4 in Swedish, 2 in Czech, 1 in Bulgarian, 1 in Greek, and 1 in Slovak. More languages are being added now.

To support national unions in their online campaigns, we created new UK and US segments of our mailing list and did mailings to promote online campaigns related to the coronavirus for UNITE HERE in the US and for the TUC in the UK. We expect to do mailings in Canada as well to support union efforts there.

Our COVID-19 page has been noted and shared by, among others, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Labor Notes in the US.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Correspondents |
Mar
16
2020
2

COVID-19

COVID-19: We went live with our new news page, which now works in a number of languages and is filled with content updated throughout the day. Extensive publicity was done on social media and graphic links were added to a number of our home pages. A mailing was sent to all correspondents to explain how to tag stories. We received quite a few positive messages back from trade unionists in different countries and even a senior figure in the ILO retweeted our announcement about this initiative. Mailings have gone out to promote the page in a number of languages.

New correspondents: In response to two recent appeals, we’ve had a large number of new correspondent applications — more than ever before. I’m slowly processing these and in the last few days have added new correspondents from Mauritius and the USA. Many more will be added in the next few days.

Mailing lists: We added 174 new supporters to our lists based on recent campaigns. We also did the regular monthly promotion across social media.

Poland: We are likely to close our Poland campaign very soon — UNI reports some real progress on this, in part thanks to our effort. The campaign has also led to significant growth for our Polish mailing list.

Turkey: We have been asked to support striking leather workers; it turns out that we already did a campaign on this, so we have turned to one of the global union federations who are looking into this for us.

UK: Unfortunately due to the coronavirus, we will not be participating in the annual conference of the teachers union NASUWT.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Correspondents,Mailing list |

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