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.

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 |
Jun
07
2019
0

Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines – we focus on Asia this month

Pictured: LabourStart editor Eric Lee with leaders of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress last week in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia: LabourStart editor Eric Lee spent several days in Malaysia, working together with the Ethical Trading Initiative on a new project they have started on migrant labour. We met with leaders of Malaysian unions, including the Malaysian Trades Union Congress, a number of pro-labour NGOs, a social democratic MP, activists from the Malaysian Socialist Party, and representatives of the global union federations BWI and IndustriALL in the country.

Pakistan campaign: At the request of the ITF, we launched a campaign in supported of 8 sacked dock workers in Karachi. After about a week online, it had just over 5,200 supporters and appeared in 13 languages.

Philippines campaign: At the request of BWI, we launched a campaign against the giant transnational company Holcim. After less than a week online, it had over 4,700 supporters and appeared in 14 languages.

Email service provider: Our current provider is MailChimp and it’s quite expensive. We are currently exploring alternatives, and have migrated some of our lists over to Sendy, a much less costly solution, using a hosting service in Belgium that specialises in this.

Telegram: Following the revelations about hacking that targetted WhatsApp — and specifically targetted activists — we set up a public LabourStart channel on the more secure Telegram platform, a closed private group for members of our Executive, and will soon announce a public discussion group using Telegram as well.

Arthur Svensson prize: LabourStart, which won this prestigious Norwegian trade union award in 2016, has been invited back to Oslo for a ceremony in June to honour the current recipient.

Written by ericlee in: Campaigns,Events,Mailing list,Publicity |
Jul
20
2018
1

Russia campaign takes off

Our campaign in support of Professor Maxim Balashov and the trade union at MIPT in Moscow is growing very rapidly, thanks to a surge of support from teachers’ unions in many countries. It is our first campaign in some time to exceed 8,000 supporters, having picked up more than 2,000 new supporters in the last week.

We’ve also seen significant growth for our Norway, Korea, and XPO campaigns. (Growth for the last two is due to followup mailings sent out this week to our English list.) We’ve scheduled a similar mailing in support of the Australia campaign which will go out this evening and should jump-start that effort too, and probably bring it up to over 6,000 supporters.

Here’s a snapshot of how our campaigns are doing – the number in brackets is where stood a week ago:

Russia: Union-busting at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology – 8,006 [5,996]
Norway: Sekkingstad and Sund, stop union busting! – 7,276 [6,869]
France: Rail unions fight against privatisation – 7,150 [7,141]
Turkey: After nearly a year on the picket lines, it’s time for DPDHL to negotiate with the union – 6,733 [6,714]
USA: Time for Wendt to negotiate with the union – 6,727 [6,717]
Korea: Oracle workers on strike – 6,548 [5,878]
XPO: Time to talk about your behaviour – 6,488 [5,503]
Australia: Exxon Mobil – time for a fair deal for your workers – 5,174 [5,155]
Shell – Stop cheating contract workers! – 3,562 [3,515]
Canada: Solidarity With Women Striking for a Living Wage! – 2,014 [1,884]

In other news this week …

Europe: We had extensive coverage of the Amazon strike in Spain, Germany and Portugal, both on our news pages and in social media. The strikes were timed to coincide with Amazon’s Prime Day.

Georgia: We publicised the terrible mine disaster widely on social networks.

Germany: A belated fundraising mailing produced good results, with some 26 donors giving an average of €27 each.

India: We promoted both with a mailing and on social media Traidcraft’s campaign in support of tea workers — after getting the green light from the IUF, who have also promoted this campaign.

Turkey: We promoted the IUF’s new Cargill campaign on social media.

Campaigns: We had a problem that some of our campaigns included graphics (union logos) on insecure web pages; this broke our page and some people were seeing warnings in their browsers. There were 21 campaign pages in various languages that had this problem; all of them are now fixed.

Correspondents: We signed up four new correspondents from Australia, Ireland, Liberia and Ukraine. We wrote to 28 of our correspondents in Australia appealing to them to become more active.

Events calendar: The script to delete events had been broken; we have now fixed this.

Mailing lists: We asked our translators to translate 18 words of text to encourage people to join our mailing lists – in the next few days this will be added to our campaign software, and should boost the numbers joining our lists (we already do this in English). This is a followup to changes we had to make in accordance with GDPR which bans us from automatically adding people to our lists. This week we were able to add 55 people to our lists, 42 of them to the English list.

Jul
13
2018
0

Big gains for new Norway and Russia campaigns

Here’s a snapshot of how our campaigns are doing – the number in brackets is where stood 8 days ago, when I last reported to you:

France: Rail unions fight against privatisation – 7,141 [7,124]
Norway: Sekkingstad and Sund, stop union busting! – 6,869 [3,966]
USA: Time for Wendt to negotiate with the union – 6,717 [6,698]
Turkey: After nearly a year on the picket lines, it’s time for DPDHL to negotiate with the union – 6,714 [6,680]
Russia: Union-busting at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology – 5,996 [-]
Korea: Oracle workers on strike – 5,878 [5,722]
XPO: Time to talk about your behaviour – 5,503 [5,452]
Australia: Exxon Mobil – time for a fair deal for your workers – 5,155 [5,063]
Shell – Stop cheating contract workers! – 3,515 [3,065]
Canada: Solidarity With Women Striking for a Living Wage! – 1,884 [1,740]

The Norway campaign seems poised to become our largest current campaign very soon. The Russia campaign picked up just under 6,000 supporters in one week, so it’s also doing quite well. The Shell campaign is continuing to run in English only, and for slightly longer than planned, and has picked up 450 new supporters in its “overtime” run.

In other news …

Brazil: UNI’s story demanding justice for Lula is shared widely on social networks.

Colombia: We shared the Education International’s story about repression of trade unionists widely on social networks.

New Zealand: We promote the strike by 30,000 widely on social networks.

Spain: We share the story of the Amazon workers strike widely on social networks.

Advertising: We haven’t paid for a Facebook ad for some time, so this week we did this to promote the new Russian campaign. So far we spent $70.51, our ad was shown to 11,389 people, and 113 seem to have clicked on it. Next time we’ll add our own code to see precisely how many people support a campaign due to advertising on Facebook.

Donations: Another Norwegian union makes a very generous donation to us. Another branch of Unite the Union in the UK also makes a donation. And we belatedly do the fundraising mailing to our German list — and get a substantial number of small donations as a result.

Events calendar: We fix the script to delete old events, which had not been working for some time.

Facebook group and page: We had quite a backlog of people asking to join the group; we’ve now mobilised more people to be admins so this should be resolved.  We add a couple more admins to the page as well, to ensure that we have fresh content all the time.

Mailing lists: We add 175 campaign supporters in 10 languages to the lists.

Tweeting our campaigns: We’ve had complaints that the Twitter link on our campaigns landing page wasn’t working; we did extensive testing on multiple browsers and operating systems and could not reproduce the problem.

Jul
05
2018
0

Nine campaigns running at the same time – a new record?

It’s hard to believe that only a month ago, we were worried that soon we’d have no new campaigns on LabourStart, as we were down to just one. All that has now changed, and currently are running no fewer than nine (9) campaigns at once.

Here’s a snapshot of how our campaigns are doing – the number in brackets is where stood 16 days ago, when I last reported to you:

  1. France: Rail unions fight against privatisation – 7,124 [7,051]
  2. USA: Time for Wendt to negotiate with the union – 6,698 [6,563]
  3. Turkey: After nearly a year on the picket lines, it’s time for DPDHL to negotiate with the union – 6,680 [5,373]
  4. Korea: Oracle workers on strike – 5,722 [3,503]
  5. XPO: Time to talk about your behaviour – 5,452 [4,730]
  6. Australia: Exxon Mobil – time for a fair deal for your workers – 5,063 [134]
  7. Norway: Sekkingstad and Sund, stop union busting! – 3,966 [-]
  8. Shell – Stop cheating contract workers! – 3,065 [-]
  9. Canada: Solidarity With Women Striking for a Living Wage! – 1,740 [-]

Canada: At the request of Unifor, we launched a campaign in English and French, targetted only at Canadians.

Georgia: Eric spent a week in Tbilisi, speaking at a conference, and had a chance to meet with three local trade union leaders.

Global: At the request of IndustriALL we launched a time-limited global campaign on support of their campaign at Shell. The campaign will only run in English and only for a few days.

Norway: We launched a major new campaign, with the support of the IUF and the local union NNN.

USA: The terrible Supreme Court “Janus” decision – we have comprehensive coverage on the site, and give special publicity to statements from the ITUC and the GUFs.

Campaigns: We were alerted to a bug in how we had been displaying campaigns. It turns out that while the page is secure (with https), if we include photos without the https the lock icon disappears. This has now been fixed and noted for the future.

Donations: Three Norwegian unions make generous donations to LabourStart. A branch of a major British union also donates £100.

Events calendar: We continue adding events regularly to our calendar, from the USA, UK and elsewhere.

Mailing lists: We publicise our mailing list signup form, which is GDPR compliant (for the English list only at the moment) on social media. We add 203 new subscribers to our lists; 129 are English and 35 are Norwegian, due to the new campaign.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Events,Fund-raising,Mailing list |
Jun
19
2018
1

New campaigns, reviving our events calendar, donations, privacy and more

First of all, a snapshot of how our campaigns are doing:

1 XPO: Time to talk about your behaviour – 4,730
2 Korea: Oracle workers on strike – 3,503
3 Turkey: After nearly a year on the picket lines, it’s time for DPDHL to negotiate with the union – 5,373
4 Australia: Exxon Mobil – time for a fair deal for your workers – 134
5 USA: Time for Wendt to negotiate with the union – 6,563
6 France: Rail unions fight against privatisation – 7,051

Australia: With so many campaigns launching at the same time, we’ve held off on promoting the Esso campaign here, but will be doing so this week. It was very important in this case, as with all campaigns, to see evidence that our partners have been informing their own members and affiliates and not simply relying on LabourStart’s own base of supporters.

Caribbean: We offered our support for a campaign backing bank workers in their dispute with RBC, but have not yet heard back.

India: A massive strike by power workers which has been announced gets spread around a lot on our website and social media. We also add a new correspondent from India.

North Korea: We promote our North Korea news page on social media to coincide with the Trump-Kim summit, raising the question of workers’ rights.

Russia: We gave extensive publicity to the BWI article about deaths of construction workers who built the stadiums for the FIFA World Cup.

South Korea: We went live with the campaign in support of striking Oracle workers to coincide with the UNI Global Union congress in Liverpool.

Spain: We were asked to submit an article about LabourStart for the union magazine Noticias Obreras and have done so.

Turkey: We launched the campaign in support of DHL workers, and sent our a reminder message a week later (today). This morning there were 5,155 supporters and the campaign was already translated into 13 languages.

XPO campaign: We continue to launch in additional languages and send out mailings. We had problems with the campaign as two of the company targets attempted to block our messages. The campaign got a good, early push from the Teamsters union in the US before we even started our publicity, and this is exactly the kind of support from our partner which is so important for these campaigns.

USA: We had expressed some concern that the union whose workers are involved in the Wendt campaign had not informed its members as not a single member of that union had supported the campaign. Our repeated efforts and those of the global union federation involved resulted in 14 members of the union (which claims 120,000 members) eventually supporting the campaign. In other words, of the 6,563 trade unionists who have signed up to support the campaign, 99.8% came from other unions. This is a matter of some concern and we need to discuss among ourselves and with our union partners how to solve this persistent problem.

Events calendar: We wrote to all correspondents encouraging them to post items for our calendar, and slightly redesigned the login page to make this clearer. We continue to add events regularly from the UK and USA.

Finances: We received generous donations in the last week from BWI, UNI and several Canadian unions. We’re waiting on the translation into German of our annual fundraising appeal and hope to have this ready very soon.

Mailing lists: Despite new restrictions which we feared would drastically reduce the number of people joining our mailing lists after supporting our campaigns, those lists continue to grow well. We picked up 560 new subscribers on seven lists.

Privacy: Our privacy page in English now links to all 11 translations that have been done; we note the remaining key languages which have not yet been translated and will try to follow up with these in the next few days.

May
11
2018
0

May Day, events calendar, fund-raising, privacy and more …

May Day: Following an appeal to correspondents, we tripled the number who posted news on May 1st, and posted well over 200 news stories on the day. A number of previously-inactive correspondents have gotten involved again, in some cases after requesting new passwords from us.

Events calendar: This is a little-used part of our home page for individual countries, but it could be a great service for the labour movement. Any correspondent can add events; to do so, click on the link after you’ve logged in to post news. In the last couple of weeks, we added quite a few new events, mostly to the UK and USA pages. Please add more.

Fundraising: We’ve taken in about £7,000 since we launched our fundraising appeal last month; this is not bad, and overall 2017-18 was a good year.

GDPR: To comply with this EU directive, we’ve amended the Privacy statement on LabourStart and unticked the box on our campaigns page, meaning that people who now wish to join our mailing list must click the box in order to do so.

Germany: Eric Lee met with a delegation of German trade unionists who were in the UK on a study visit; he made a presentation and distributed fliers about LabourStart.

Iran: We closed the Esmail Abdi campaign after more than three months and are awaiting a response from the global union on what effect, if any, our campaign had.

Panama: We were asked to prepare to launch a campaign on this, but the global union has decided to do this on their own; we’ve asked why and they’ve promised to get back to us on this.

Ukraine: Our Ukrainian language home page now works like our Russian one, with headlines and more.

Zimbabwe: We offered to campaign in support of teachers in their struggle, but in the end it turned out not to be necessary as an agreement was finally reached with the government.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Correspondents,Events,Fund-raising |
Apr
02
2018
0

Catching up after nearly a month …

Winners of the Ron Todd Foundation awards in London last month.

First of all, apologies for the delay in this update. I was travelling for two weeks in mid March and am just now catching up.

Campaigns:
We’ve been asked to keep our Algeria campaign, which has now been running for more than three months, live for a bit longer, and have done so. In the last five days, we’ve added only 2 new supporters. We need 77 more supporters to bring the total up to 10,000.
We received a campaign request from one of the global union federations, but they’ve not followed up yet.
We also suggested a campaign to a national trade union centre and are currently discussing it with them.
We launched our first campaign in years in the Thai language, with a mailing coming soon as well.

Conferences:
We’ll have a strong presence at the upcoming Labor Notes conference in Chicago, and will leaflet the Unions 21 conference in London later this month.
We were also invited to speak at a British trade union event in June, but there’s a scheduling conflict.

News:
We fixed a problem with country names on the Ukrainian page.
If the language you work with is still showing English names of countries and you can help with translations, let us know.

Mailings:
We sent out a mailing to the entire English list about the West Virginia teachers’s strike — the second in our series of “explainers”.
Our mailing lists grew by 427 in the last month; there were large numbers of new subscribers to our Turkish and Arabic lists this time.

Women workers:
We now have the women workers page working in all languages. If you’re willing to help, please let me know and you’ll be sent a short text to translate.
We wrote to all correspondents in the run-up to International Women’s Day urging them to post stories and tag them correctly.

Awards:
On 10 March we received the “socialism of the heart” award from the Ron Todd Foundation in London.  Other winners included the McDonald’s workers who held the first strike at the restaurant chain in the UK.

Jan
18
2018
0

Esmail Abdi is free, a new campaign is launched, and we add 550 new supporters to our mailing lists

Good news: Jailed Iranian teacher trade unionist Esmail Abdi (pictured) was released from jail. We publicised this to our mailing list and on social media.

We launched a new campaign in support of locked-out airport workers in Fiji.  As of today, it already has 7,753 supporters.

We closed our Belarus campaign after five months, our Indonesia campaign after three months and our Cambodia campaign which had temporarily been revived at the request of our partners.

We supported the struggle of Tim Horton’s workers in Canada with a number of special mass mailings, as well as using social media and our Events system to promote real-world actions in support of those workers.

We continue our discussion with comrades in Taiwan about supporting their struggle on labour law issues with a LabourStart campaign.

Our mailing lists continue to grow. We added 550 more subscribers so far this month, many of them to our Arabic list. We are also now beginning to add the names of our supporters’ trade unions to the mailing lists for the first time, which will allow us to create segments based on this.

We’re going to make all LabourStart’s 30+ languages this year come alive. Each week, we’ll focus on a different one. The first one is Swedish, where despite having a mailing list of over 1,200 names, we haven’t posted a translation of a campaign for more than a year, and the news page is dormant. We’ve taken a number of steps to deal with this problem, reaching out to hundreds of Swedish trade unionists for help.

We’re publicising our main news stories almost evert day on social media — Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn — as well as on our home page and through our Labour Newswires in RSS and JavaScript format. In the last couple of weeks this has included the story of an attempt to crush an independent trade union in Russia, an Argentinian government effort to encourage teachers to leave their union, the massive German metal workers strike, calls for a national strike in Fiji, and the case of Reza Shahabi, a jailed Iranian trade unionist

Derek is making a big effort to clean up our “Today in Labour History” database which is huge, but under-utilised.

And finally we’ve cleaned our our Events file, keeping only current and future events there, and are encouraging people reading this to add events from your country to LabourStart (if you don’t know how, please ask).

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