Oct
18
2019
0

Half-way into the competition, we have more than 30 new LabourStart logos

New logo competition: We have already received more than 30 entries for our first-ever international logo competition and with two weeks to go, we expect to get quite a few more. We continue to remind people regularly about the deadline – 31 October. Our message and the page explaining the competition is now out in 16 languages.

Campaigns: We’re still waiting on news about a possible Colombia campaign. We had a Korea campaign proposed to us, but it turned out to be not suitable for LabourStart.  We are currently running two campaigns, one of which is set to close shortly.

World Day for Decent Work: We did our bit to promote this ITUC and GUF-supported event, with top global news stories on our site and publicity across social media.

Svensson prize: Once again, we publicised the deadline for nominations to the annual Arthur Svennson prize for international trade union rights — to our English and Norwegian lists.

Education International: Eric Lee has been invited to come to Brussels next month to speak with EI staff about online campaigning.

Tech problems: Our campaigns website was briefly down earlier this week — causing problems for our home page to display — but it was swiftly put back online by our provider.

Activists’ Toolbox: We did the third one, this time promoting Simplenote and Joplin — great apps for creating, well, simple notes on one’s phone or computer. We continue to get a certain amount of interest in these apps, and in the most recent mailing we generated a page on Simplenote to demonstrate how it can create web pages – and showing all our Toolbox articles in one place.

Donations: Four global union federations have responded to our appeal with generous donations in the last week.  We hope that more will follow suit in the coming days.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Fund-raising,Site redesign |
Oct
05
2019
0

The last 3 weeks at LabourStart: New logo competition launched

Campaigns: We offered to help out with a new campaign on Algeria, and are awaiting news on a possible campaign in Colombia. We promoted a campaign by the BC Federation of Labour (in Canada) to our mailing list. We discussed possible campaigns in Peru and Trinidad.

Logo competition: We launched our first-ever competition to create a new LabourStart logo – here.

Mailing lists: Our imports to lists are no longer failing and we recently succeeded in importing 160 new subscribers to the English list, as well as smaller numbers to the other lists. We also created two new mailing lists – in Belarusian and Azerbaijani.

World Day for Decent Work: After promoting this global action, we did a small, unscientific poll on our Facebook page to which just 27 people responded. We asked people if they knew about the World Day for Decent Work and found that 81% had never heard of it.

Global Climate Strike: We publicised the ITUC’s statement to our English mailing list, eliciting several hostile responses (though on the main our readers supported us).

Global Solidarity Conference: We followed up with contacts in Hungary and the USA about possible events in 2020, but have no response yet.

Sep
13
2019
1

We continue upgrading our lists and site – and search for a union-friendly web browser

The last four weeks have seen some of us on vacation for part of that time, but here’s a summary of what was happening on LabourStart since mid-August.

Campaigns: We closed three our our campaigns which had been active for three months or more – in Poland, Pakistan and the Philippines. A new campaign has been proposed by trade unionists in Jordan – details coming soon. We also had appeals from Chile and Trinidad which we are following through on. We suggested a Hong Kong campaign to one of the global union federations but haven’t yet heard back. We assisted the IUF by extensively publicising their Karachi campaign.

Mailing lists: Persistent issues with our hosting of Sendy have now largely been fixed. We also looked into an alternative way of doing this using our own server. We ran into some issues now that we use CloudFlare to protect our site — it was briefly not possible for us to mass mailings, but we eventually fixed this.

Site re-design: Now 21 of our languages are showing the home page in the new format; we will make an effort to complete this project in the next few weeks.

Looking for a union-friendly web browser: As part of our ‘Activists’ Toolboxes’ that we’ve included in recent mailings to our English list, we’re probably going to promote one or more alternative web browsers. We wrote to three likely candidates asking about unionisation in their companies, but only one wrote back and we’ve asked them to post their statement (which is not bad) on their website. Until they do so we won’t do anything further. We didn’t ask Google (who own the Chrome browser) for obvious reasons

In the previous Activists’ Toolboxes we promoted two to-do lists (Toodledo and todo.txt) and a webmail service (Fastmail). Over 300 people checked out the former and 290 the latter. Let’s hope in doing this, we are helping some trade union activists to work online more efficiently — though of course we’d love to see higher numbers than these.

Donations: We received several large donations from Canadian unions.

Aug
18
2019
0

August is never a quiet month for LabourStart

August may be quiet month for many of us in the northern hemisphere, but it’s also a chance for LabourStart to make some big changes to how we work and how our site looks.

Probably the best news of the month was the decision by the government of Kazkakhstan to release jailed trade union leader Erlan Baltaby. Our campaign played a major role in putting pressure on the government to do that. The campaign had 7,070 supporters and appeared in 18 languages. We followed up on this victory with a mailing to all our lists encouraging our supporters to sign up to the other ongoing campaigns.

Meanwhile, the campaign we launched on 25 July in support of municipal workers in Alia?a, Turkey, now has over 6,600 supporters and appears in 17 languages. One of those languages is Azeri, the first time we’ve campaigned in that language. Our Turkish comrades have prepared banners and signs with LabourStart’s logo which they have used in their protests.

We launched a long-awaited new home page design for LabourStart on 1 August, first in English, and as of today, 12 of our languages now use this. They are migrated over one by one, in order to take into account the different features which appear on each language’s home page (e.g., links to unions, the mailing list signup, and more). We will followup with redesigns of the country and state pages as well to conform to the new design.

One of our ongoing problems — for several years now — has been a lack of consistent translations of our campaigns into German. Not only is our German language mailing list one of our largest, but it is also one of our most active — we get a very high response rate from mailings to this list, when we do them. Early in August we did a mailing to everyone on that list discussing this problem and as a result, almost 70 volunteers came forward to translate our campaigns. All of our current campaigns now appear in German and we have translated nearly all the mailings as well.

We’ve begun letting our readers know about some of the tech we use at LabourStart, and began in July with the “Activists’ Toolbox” in one of our mailings, promoting the use of Fastmail, particularly for those who use web-based tools like Gmail which do not respect the privacy of users. Of the 11,768 people who opened the message, just 288 clicked on the link to learn more about Fastmail. If you any ideas about other software or services we might want to promote, let us know.

Those mailings are all done now using Sendy instead of MailChimp, with a considerable cost savings for LabourStart. We’ve been learning as we go along and did our first successful segmentation, allowing us to mail to Canadians, and also to people who didn’t open our previous message. We have, however, had some problems with adding new subscribers in bulk, and have raised this with the company which is hosting the lists for us.

We also resumed using Cloudflare ten days ago, which protects LabourStart against distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks — and much more. One of things it does is that all our pages are now secure, with the URLs beginning https. This means browsers will no longer warn visitors that our site is insecure. (We had resolved this years ago with the campaigns website, but not the news one.) There are still some teething pains: Sendy sends its messages through Amazon Web Services which, among other things, verifies us as the sender and this broke when we moved over to CloudFlare. We are in the process of resolving this now (it’s all about something called DKIM — look it up).

And while on the subject of tech, we managed to fix a few scripts including the one that shows our active campaigns, and the translations dashboard, to work correctly in Unicode. This means no more gibberish onscreen when using non-Latin alphabets.

Oct
24
2018
0

Istanbul airport campaign coming up to 8,000 supporters and 20 languages

It’s been another busy time here at LabourStart over the last 10 days.

Australia: We promoted the ACTU’s nationwide protests as a top global news story on LabourStart, and across social media. Our Australian Twitter account had been suspended by the company, but we’ve now managed to get it reopened.

Global: Shared widely on social media and made a top global story out of the IFJ campaign for a UN convention to protect journalists.

Iran: We shared an Education International story about repression of teacher trade unionists widely on social media. We also shared widely an International Transport Workers Federation story about attacks on transport workers.

Russia: We closed our campaign in support of Professor Maxim Balashov after three months. The campaign ended with 9,456 messages sent in 17 languages.

Saudi Arabia: We publicised the story about Jamal Khashoggi from the IFJ on social media.

Turkey: We begin a second round of followup mailings to our Turkish and French lists to promote this campaign, which now appears in 19 languages and has just under 8,000 supporters. We’ve been working to get global trade unions to share the link to the campaign.

Turkmenistan: We shared widely the IUF statement supporting a large global campaign on this country.

UK: We helped the London Labour Film Festival promote their upcoming special preview showing of the new film “Peterloo”.


Fundraising: We’ve continued with a series of emails to leading global, regional and national unions asking for their support to mark our 20th year.

Mailing list: We continued with monthly promotions to social media, hoping to grow the English mailing list which is currently at 80,860 subscribers. We imported 203 new addresses from our campaign supporters to 14 of our mailing lists; 80 are for the English list and a record-breaking 70 for the Turkish one.

Site redesign: We wrote to all correspondents asking for their “shopping list” of things they’d like to see improved on LabourStart, and have begun to collate these.

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.

Sep
14
2018
1

Major new campaign on Iran launched – and other news for the last 3 weeks …

Campaigns update:

Here is what’s happened to our existing campaigns this month — the number in brackets is the total from 23 days ago:

Russia: Union-busting at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology – 9,099 [9,050] +49
Iran: Free Mohammed Habibi 8,796 [0] +8,796 [new campaign]
XPO: Time to talk about your behaviour – 7,493 [7,406] +87
France: Rail unions fight against privatisation – 7,200 [7,188] +12

At the moment it looks like the Iran campaign will soon become our largest, and with boosts from some new translations and followups, it could exceed 10,000 supporters — the first time in a while that one of our campaigns has done that well.

In other developments in the last three weeks:

Australia: After 3 months, we closed the Exxon Mobil campaign – it had 6,434 supporters. We picked up ten new correspondents from Australia this month – a big welcome to all of you. Our Australian Twitter feed has run into some trouble; we are trying to fix this.

Canada: At the request of unions, we’ve publicised a few union jobs to our mailing list. We also did a dedicated Labour Day mailing.

France: We’re pressing the unions there through the ITF to find out if we can suspend our long-running campaign in support of railway workers.

Iran: We launched a major new campaign at the request of the Education International in support of a jailed teacher trade unionist, Mohammed Habibi. It already appears in 16 languages, but we’re hoping for more. If you can help with translations into any of these 10 languages — Arabic, Dutch, Farsi, Finnish, Georgian, German, Indonesian, Korean, Polish, or Swedish — please get in touch with me [[email protected]].

Korea: UNI gave us permission to close the three-month old campaign in support of Oracle workers.

Norway: At the request of the NNN union, we suspended our campaign.

Switzerland: Eric has been invited to attend a Global Labour Institute event taking place at the end of this month, at the IUF in Geneva.

UK: At the request of the TUC, we posted a job to our mailing list and social media.

USA: We closed the Wendt campaign after three months with the permission of BWI.

Mailing lists: We added 185 new addresses from campaign supporters.

New website design: We held another meeting with our London designers to discuss next steps for our website.

Jul
29
2018
2

Growing campaigns, German, Afrikaans, a victory in Turkey, site redesign and more …

Here is the regular report on our active campaigns, with the totals from 9 days ago in brackets. The campaigns are listed in order of popularity. The most significant growth took place for the Australia campaign (1,159 more supporters) and the Korea campaign (616 more supporters).

Russia: Union-busting at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology – 8,219 [8,006] +213
Norway: Sekkingstad and Sund, stop union busting! – 7,361 [7,276] +85
Korea: Oracle workers on strike – 7,164 [6,548] +616
France: Rail unions fight against privatisation – 7,156 [7,150] +6
XPO: Time to talk about your behaviour – 6,758 [6,488] +270
USA: Time for Wendt to negotiate with the union – 6,735 [6,727] +8
Australia: Exxon Mobil – time for a fair deal for your workers – 6,333 [5,174] +1,159
Canada: Solidarity With Women Striking for a Living Wage! – 2,025 [2,014] +11

Europe: We promoted an ETUC story on the rise of the far right as a top global story and across social networks.

Germany: Another volunteer has stepped forward and translated our two remaining campaigns that were not yet in German; the mailings for those campaigns still need to be translated. Our German list is our most successful of the larger lists, with a very high open rate and click-through rate, making it especially important that we do timely translations of all our campaigns and mailings.

North Korea: We promoted a story about the problem of slavery here to the top of our news page, and across social networks.

South Africa: One of our correspondents had raised the question of adding news in Afrikaans; we agreed and are continuing the conversation.

Spain: UNI’s coverage of police violence against striking Amazon workers got promoted on our news pages and on social networks.

Turkey: This campaign (DHL) was closed after the union won recognition – a big victory which are beginning to publicise. The total number of supporters in the end was 6,769.

UK: We discussed with USDAW promoting their current online campaign targetting Marks & Spencer to our UK audience and will do this today or tomorrow.

USA: A news story about angry teacher trade unionists was promoted on our news pages and on social networks.

Campaigns and mailing lists: We continued to add more language translations of the bit on the landing page that suggests you join the mailing list if you’d not yet checked the box on the campaign page itself. This now works in five languages with many more to come. We’re trying to add one language per day. Thanks to all the volunteer translators for doing this so quickly.

Shell campaign: We closed this English-only, time-limited campaign at the request of IndustriALL. The campaign had 3,575 supporters.

Site redesign: We have commissioned a workers’ coop in London to do preliminary work on a rebuild of our news site. This has been under discussion for a very long time, and is now finally moving forward. We should have something to see in August.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Site redesign |
Sep
22
2017
0

A very busy season for online campaigning as we launch 3 new ones

This is the first update in more than two weeks — this was due to my week-long visit to Georgia to launch my book, The Experiment: Georgia’s Forgotten Revolution, 1918-21.

Campaigns:
We have just launched a new campaign at the request of PSI, in support of a trade union leader in Colombia.

We expect to shortly launch two more campaigns at the request of unions in Egypt and Canada.

We closed one campaign — Freeport Indonesia — that ran for more than three months. This was one of our largest campaigns ever, with nearly 15,000 supporters, many of them from Indonesia.

Our translators are struggling to cope with the load of many simultaneous campaigns and for some of our key languages — the ones with large mailing lists — we are falling behind. I have noted that some of our translators always come through on time, even when we are given four campaigns in as many weeks, and written to those to thank them for their effort.

Mailing list:
We added just 70 new campaign supporters in the last two weeks.

Website redesign:
Our friends at Outlandish, the north London web design workers’ coop, have been doing some work for us (on a pro bono basis) and we expect to hear shortly what they have done so far.

Burma/Myanmar:
We’ve begun the process of changing the country name, first in English. At the moment, both names work and soon searching for one will also show results for the other (in a few days).

Georgia:
I was invited to address the congress of the Georgian Trade Union Confederation and did so last week.

India:
We’re working to build closer links with one of our correspondents who’s created a Facebook page for Indian labour news that has 12,000 followers.

USA:
Derek has been making a huge effort to grow our Twitter feed here.  We’re up to 1,145 followers.

LabourStart TV:
We fixed our home page to highlight when a story is a video — even when it’s a top global news story. There is no longer a need for correspondents to include the word ‘video’ in headlines; but do make sure to tag such stories as videos (on the second screen, when adding news).

UnionBook:
Finally, we are done with this, no longer paying for the domain name.

Jul
21
2017
0

Somalia campaign closes; we support Iranian sugar workers

Campaigns:
We closed the Somalia campaign after three months and 5,920 supporters. We’re waiting to hear what effect, if any, our campaign had.
We also did a mass mailing to promote the IUF’s campaign in support of Haft Tapeh sugar workers in Iran, as well as promoting extensively on social media.

Site redesign:
I’m pleased to report that we’re moving forward with a web design cooperative in London, and have discussed a number of changes they will make to modernise and refresh LabourStart. They’ve done some outstanding websites for progressive groups and unions, and are offering their services on a pro bono basis.

Outreach:
I had a long meeting at the TUC with their head of digital, John Wood, and we discussed ongoing cooperation.
I contacted the union official tasked with organising Uber drivers in the UK to see how we can help with their campaign.

Facebook:
We’ve picked up 510 new likes for our Turkish page (a tripling of the number) in just a few days this week thanks to our new ad campaign. We’ve informed 34,960 Turkish Facebook users about LabourStart at minimal cost. The campaign will run for a full month and it looks like after we’re done, our page will have several thousand likes.
Our ad campaign to promote LabourStart TV’s page ended after we picked up 151 new likes, having shown the ad to 4,767 Facebook users in the USA. We’ll probably resume this later this year.

Indonesian language:
We urgently need someone to translate our campaigns and mailings, and fortunately someone has now stepped forward. Indonesian is now one of our largest mailing lists.

Correspondents:
We added one new correspondent, from Canada.

Mailing lists:
Due to a lack of new campaigns, we’ve added only 1 new person to our lists this week.

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