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.

Apr
07
2021
0

Kyrgyzstan: We spoke too soon …

We spoke too soon – in Kyrgyzstan, the government has had a change of heart and has passed anti-union laws. We are just about to launch a campaign demanding that the president veto that law.

In other news …

Canada: We’ve done a mailing to our entire global list encouraging submissions to CLIFF, the labour film festival. We received a very generous donation from a Canadian union. And we also launched a new Canada-only campaign.

Israel: We continued with building our mailing list and social media following, writing directly to the more than 500 Hebrew speakers who supported our campaign – which now has just under 7,500 supporters.

Myanmar: We have given extensive publicity to two union fundraisers, organised by DSA in the US, and BWI.

Pakistan: We did more followup mailings to promote our campaign, also to our English, German and French lists.  The campaign has over 7,000 supporters.

Home page: A problem emerged with the ‘more stories’ for country link not working; this has now been fixed.

Interns: We participated in Cornell University’s Social Justice Career Fair and interviewed a number of participants. Three of these were short-listed, they were interviewed, and we took a decision to hire one, who will begin work in June. Our intern Amos, who is studying at the Global Labour University in Berlin, completed his internship with us.

Labour News Network: We have revived this tool which allows LabourStart correspondents to post news stories that have not appeared elsewhere on the web. This is now being beta-tested. More details coming soon.

Mailing list: We added 366 new subscribers from the new campaign supporters, mostly to the English list but also with significant growth for the Dutch list.

May Day: We are working on two events online — a panel discussion focussing on jailed trade union activists around the world, and a possible world premiere online of a major new film about working people (more details soon).

RSS newswires: We have been alerted to the fact that these are broken; we will aim to fix them ASAP.

Mar
23
2021
0

LabourStart campaigns end in victory in Kyrgyzstan and Algeria

The top news for us this month was the victories we had in two of our current campaigns — in Kyrgyzstan and Algeria. In the former, the government has withdrawn proposed changes to the labour laws. In the latter, the two women union activists who were jailed have been released. We spread the news of these two wonderful victories widely.

Myanmar: We are in discussions with global unions about a possible campaign.

Norway: We’ve received several generous donations from Norwegian unions this month.

Pakistan: We launched a campaign against union-busting at Metro A.G. in Pakistan, sponsored by UNI Commerce. This campaign features many new languages for us, including Urdu. As of today, it has 5,420 supporters.

Thailand: We have a new volunteer translator for Thai.

USA: We reached out to offer our help to the union organising Amazon workers in the USA.

Correspondents: We held the second correspondents’ meeting on Zoom.

Deliveroo workers: At the request of the ITF, we shared links to their online global campaign to support unionisation at Deliveroo.

International Women’s Day: We posted a lot of news stories, and wrote to all correspondents to encourage them to do so as well, and posted across social media.

Interns: We participated in Cornell University’s career fair for students interested in social justice, speaking with about a half dozen students in individual, short interviews. We will almost certainly hire one of them.

Labour News Network: Work is nearly complete on this project — it will allow correspondents to post news stories which do not currently appear anywhere else on the web. This issue was raised during one of our recent Zoom meetings with the LabourStart community of correspondents and translators.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Correspondents,Fund-raising,Intern |
Jan
18
2021
0

Jordan teachers’ campaign: Toward 10,000 supporters?

Jordan teachers campaign: This is now our largest current campaign, with over 8,500 supporters this morning. The campaign appears in a record 20 languages with several more on the way. This is more than 1,000 more than our second largest campaign. If we continue to work on this, this may be our first campaign in a long time to reach 10,000 supporters.

Our mailing lists continue to grow thanks to new campaign supporters signing up. In the last three weeks, we gained 843 new subscribers, most of them for the English list.

Reviving dormant languages: We’ve had some success in the last few weeks getting our campaigns and mailings translated into languages for which we did not have regular translations in recent years. These include Vietnamese, Arabic, Korean, Georgian, and Polish.

Donations: We received generous donations this month from IUF and PSI.

Nov
18
2020
0

Campaigns start, finish and start again – and much more from the last 19 days

Since our last update 19 days ago, here’s what we’ve been up to:

Campaigns – Belarus: We launched a new campaign on Friday, 13 November, in support of more than 40 jailed union activists. By today, the campaign had about 6,000 supporters. Just before we got news of the arrests, we were sharing widely the video of 4 of the union leaders thanking us for our earlier campaign – and then they were arrested again.

Campaigns – Colombia: We launched a new campaign on Monday, 2 November in support of teachers facing death threats. Today it has just under 7,000 supporters.

Campaigns – Jordan: We closed down the campaign in support of the Jordanian teachers. The unionists were released, but the repression continues. We may well need to do more campaigns on this in future.

Campaigns – Upcoming: We are still expecting campaigns (which have been proposed to us) from Brazil and Israel.

Mailing list: We added 511 new subscribers from supporters of our campaigns (who requested to be added to our lists).

Webinars: We’re going to begin a series of webinars, starting in December, and are in discussions with an American union about the first one. We’ve purchased a license to use Zoom in this way, allowing up to 500 people at a time to participate in our events.

CLIFF: We sponsored a special award at the Canadian Labour International Film Festival this year — the LabourStart Award for Working Class Solidarity. This award recognises the festival film that speaks the most to building worker-to-worker global solidarity. There are two recipients of the award in 2020: Birth of a Union and Filadelphia.

  • Birth of a Union is a 19.5 minute documentary from the United States and Director Josh Karan. The film chronicles the historic effort to organize low wage workers in North Carolina, where it is illegal for any State agency to agree to a Union contract.
  • Filadelphia is a 7 minute documentary from Brazil and Director Dani Drumond. The film reveals the work and voices of 16 women in a recycling sorting cooperative. As they work and talk, a subject inevitably comes up: why do men give up so early on work in the cooperative?

Interns: The Global Labour University is once again offering us short-term internships in early 2021. We had a successful internship at GLU in early 2020 and look forward to continue this relationship.

Donations: We received generous donations from, among others, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the Human Rights at Work Foundation (FDHT), and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in the UK. We also publicised a link to an album created by David Thorpe, a UK singer-songwriter, who is generously donating 30% of the proceeds to LabourStart.

Technical glitch: Our website was briefly offline as our Internet host, IONOS, made us change some details on their domain name server. We did, however, quickly recover.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Fund-raising,Intern,Mailing list |
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.

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.

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 |
Dec
26
2019
2

Three new campaigns launched in December

Campaigns: We launched three new campaigns in December:

In support of dockworkers in Indonesia, at the request of the ITF. That campaign has 4,405 supporters and appears in 9 languages, with more on the way.
In support of Albanian mine workers at the request of a new and independent union there. That campaign has 5,951 supporters and appears in 13 languages, with more on the way.
In support of Polish retail workers, at the request of UNI. That campaign has 6,944 supporters and appears in 15 languages.

We closed our South Korea campaign after the workers won a clear victory. That was a short campaign and there were 5,377 supporters and the campaign appeared in 12 languages.
We asked if there was a need for a campaign in support a jailed trade union leader in Algeria and were told no. We also asked if LabourStart should be promoting an existing campaign regarding El Salvador but have received no reply.
On 10 December, Human Rights Day, we did a special website (and yes, I did notice that the year is wrong) and mailing (in English only), sharing this widely on our own site and across social media, to promote our existing campaigns.
We had a large number of bouncing target email addresses which were forwarded to us by our web hosts (and in some cases, via Gmail); we have now deleted these from campaigns. These are mostly companies trying to block our messages. We get around this using our petition format.

Correspondents: We amended the message new correspondents receive so that they are now encouraged to have a phone conversation with us early on. This is one of a number of steps we are taking to ensure that correspondents remain active.
We also fixed the ‘show news by correspondent’ script which was not correctly rendering non-Latin characters, as was pointed out by a new Iranian correspondent.
We added new correspondents in Australia and Iran.

Donations: We received a very generous donation from the IUF.

Labour History database: We fixed a problem that had previously blocked users from deleting duplicate entries.

Mailing lists: Today, we added 454 new subscribers from our campaign supporters on 26.12; the largest groups were English (301) and Polish (78). On 16.12, we imported 208 new subscribers, 148 of those for the English list. On 11.12, we imported 665 new subscribers; 266 of these were Korean, 219 English and 112 Polish. That’s a total of 1,327 new subscribers added in the last 15 days.

Media: We have begun work on a media list, with individuals tagged by country and language. Next year we will begin using this list to amplify our campaigns to read a wider audience.

News: We fixed the left column in the new version of the website to show country names in the correct language, where available. (This was already working on the top of the page, and on the bottom.) This may not work for all languages just yet. We also fixed the links on the top of the page and in the left column to go to the country page rather than the old ‘show_news’ page.

Translators: We sent an end-of-year thank you message to all 71 volunteer translators, who’ve translated some 20 campaigns for us throughout 2019.

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