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.

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.

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.

Jan
31
2019
0

New year – new campaigns, with 3 launched in the last 2 weeks

Bangladesh: We shared the story about the garment strikers being sacked widely on a social media, and as a top global news story.

Brazil: We shared the BWI/IndustriALL statement on Vale and the dam disaster on social media and as a top global news story.

Canada: We did a mailing to our Canadian supporters in support of the UFCW.

Germany: We shared widely on social media and as a top global news story the Education International story about a joint German/Polish/Israeli teachers’ event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

Guatemala: We launched a new campaign at the request of PSI.

Iran: At the request of Amnesty International, we shared their campaign as a top global labour news story, and across social media. Earlier, we publicised the re-arrest of Iranian trade unionist Esmail Bakhshi at the request of one of our correspondents in New Zealand.

Korea: We launched a new campaign at the request of PSI.

Philippines: At the request of the Education International, we launched a campaign. It is now live in 15 languages.

South Africa: We shared a COSATU general strike story widely on social media.

Sudan: We publicised a story about Sudanese protests – led by the doctors’ union – as a top global news story and across social media.

Thailand: Noting the low participation rates for the Thai language version of the campaign, we wrote to the ITF and they have contacted the local union to ensure broader support.

Tunisia: We shared our coverage of the general strike widely on social media.

UK: We added a new correspondent.

USA: We shared the Labor Notes story about victory in LA teachers’ strike across social media, and as a top global news story.

Labour Photo of the Year: We began discussing the possibility of reviving this competition.

Mailing lists: We added 211 campaign supporters to our lists.

Coding issues: There was a fairly long to-do list here, but we’ve managed to cross a few of the items off the list.
We managed to fix the repeating text in the left column of country news pages in French — this was a particular problem for the Canadian news page.
We also fixed a problem with the display of labour history items in French on the Canada page.
We fixed our news page to ensure that when clicking on a state or province, you are taken to the new page and the correct language (this was previously hard-coded to English).
We fixed it so that all countries that have directories named after them now point to the correct pages, e.g., www.labourstart.org/cuba.
We fixed the display of country names in the centre column on the Spanish page.
We changed the campaign page to offer a radio button with yes/no options for joining the mailing list. Some campaigning organisations, including Britain’s TUC, have found that this increases the number of people who opt-in to mailing lists.
We fixed the problem which would arise when people adding commas to their names when supporting our campaigns; this breaks the syntax for sending emails, and has lead to some bounces recently.

Jan
16
2019
0

Our first campaign of the new year launched

The first two weeks of the new year have seen a surge of activity, including a new campaign in support of railway workers in Thailand.

Australia: We shared the story about the Australian government documents and the MUA dispute as a top global news story and on social media.

Bangladesh: We promoted UNI’s story on the garment workers strike as a top global news story, and across social media.

Finland: We had a meeting in London with one of our most active and veteran Finnish correspondents, and discussed future collaboration.

Hungary: Following up on our campaign in December, we shared the story about the ongoing protests and upcoming strike in Hungary as a top global news story and on social media.

India: We had exemplary coverage of the general strike, which was possibly the largest strike in human history, both as top global news stories and across social media.

Korea: We promoted a story about the dramatic end of a smokestack sit-in as a top global news story and across social media.

New Zealand: We welcomed a new correspondent.

Thailand: We launched a new campaign at the request of the ITF, our first campaign of 2019. After just six days online, it has over 5,000 supporters and appears in 12 languages with more on the way.

UK: We helped a UK charity promote their annual campaigner prize, asking our supporters to suggest candidates. LabourStart won the prize two years ago.

Ukraine: We promoted a story about women mine workers in Ukraine on hunger strike as a top global news story, and across social media.

USA: We shared the story about Tesla’s unwillingness to buy a GM plant in Youngstown because it’s unionised – as a top priority global news story, and across social media. We also promoted the story about the Florida McDonald’s walkout across social media and as a top global news story. And we gave a lot of coverage to the ongoing Los Angeles teachers’ strike, both as top global story and across social media.

Zimbabwe: The ITUC Zimbabwe story is promoted as a top global story, and shared widely on social media.

Executive: The members of LabourStart’s Executive held their first quarterly videoconference following up three months later on the decisions taken in Barcelona. They discussed, among other things, the addition of new members to the Executive and a global conference in 2019. More details coming soon.

Internationalisation: We focussed on Spanish and began moving toward a translation of the interface for adding news, as well as a signup page for new correspondents in that language. We also fixed the problem of showing country news in Spanish for countries with spaces in the names (e.g., Costa Rica). But we need to fix this for other languages too and will do this shortly.

Mailing lists: We imported 192 new subscribers to our lists in the first two weeks of the new year. We raised the question of how to grow mailing lists in the post-GDPR era to the e-campaigning forum and received some helpful ideas, which we will be implementing in our campaigning platform.

Dec
31
2018
0

Final update for 2018: A setback in Hungary ends a year of activism

I thought I’d get off an update before 2018 ends. Here’s what we’ve been up to for the last 12 days:

Cambodia: We publicised the story about 95 NGOs condemning convictions of union leaders in Cambodia, sharing it widely on social media and as a top global news story on LabourStart.

Canada: Our CUPW campaign got a boost, in part due to the Hungary mailing (see below), picking up 653 new supporters in the last week, and becoming our largest active campaign. It currently has 8,412 supporters and we may be able to push this up to 10,000.

China: A new campaign has been suggested to us; we’re waiting to see if a partner can be found.

Global: Today, we shared the IFJ’s news report about 94 journalists being killed this year both as a top global news story on LabourStart, and across social media.

Hungary: We closed our campaign eight days ago, after the President signed the “slave law”. The campaign was only live for five days, got 7,288 supporters, and appeared in 13 languages. The Hungarian unions gave us a text to use to sum up what happened. We followed this with a mass mailing to all our lists reporting on this setback (because we make a point of being honest and transparent, and we share good news and bad). The mailing encouraged people to support our other active campaigns, to follow us on social media, and to donate — two days before Christmas. Because of that, response rates were low.

India: We shared a story about the 30,000 strong farmers’ “long march” as a top global news story, and on social media, as well as making it our photo of the week. We did the same with a story about a hunger strike by Indian teachers.

Philippines: We shared a story about a protest camp story as a top global news story and across social media.

UK: We supported the TUC’s campaign in support of restaurant workers at TGIF with a mass mailing to our UK list.

Zimbabwe: We promoted our Zimbabwe news page with its stories about the hospital strike as a top global story and across social media.

Correspondents & Translators: We wrote an end of year message to all correspondents and translators – especially to encourage inactive correspondents to contribute again, and to encourage inactive translators for specific languages to get involved again. In that message I was able to point out some interesting (to me) numbers:

As of today, our correspondents have posted over 45,000 news stories this year on LabourStart. That’s 124 stories every day, on average.

There were a total of 107 active correspondents this year, posting about 421 stories each, more than one every day.

LabourStart’s news is read by tens of thousands of trade unionists. This year we had 791,732 visitors to the web site. Many trade unionists depend on LabourStart to keep them up to date with what is in happening in the international trade union movement.

Internationalisation: We fixed the home page in French to work like the one in English, which means that Canadian stories no longer dominate the top of the page.

Mailing lists: In an end of year boost, we added 672 new subscribers to our lists – most in English and Russian.

Nov
20
2018
0

November update: 2 campaigns launched, we revitalise LS in Spanish, German, Swedish, etc

Brazil: Following the election, we promoted the EI story about Brazil as a top global news story and across social media.

China: We promoted the story about a Chinese firm that forced workers to eat cockroaches and drink urine – as a top global news story, and on social media. Two officials at the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions signed up as LabourStart correspondents.

Germany: We renewed our Twitter account in German, and are posting to it every day. We now follow well over 400 other accounts and some of those have started following back, and as a result, this month we’ve picked up about 20 new followers. It’s a beginning.

India: We shared the ITUC story on erosion of labour laws in India as a top global news story and widely on social media. We also participated in a London meeting of various NGOs and campaigning organisations in the UK in support of workers in the tea plantations of Assam; the organisers of the event publicly thanked LabourStart for promoting their campaign targetting UK tea companies.

Indonesia: We shared the IUF story on Coca-Cola struggle as a top global news story and widely on social media.

Kazakhstan: We launched a new campaign at the request of many global and national unions to protest the repression of trade unionists here. In the first 5 days online, the campaign has over 3,600 supporters and appears in 11 languages.

Philippines: We shared a story about a trade unionist being killed in the Philippines on social media.

Spain: We are in discussion with one of the national trade union centres about a possible campaign, to be launched soon.

Sweden: We resume doing mailings to our Swedish list now that our campaigns are once again being translated into Swedish. We now have 7 volunteer translators for Swedish.

Thailand: We launched a new campaign at the request of IndustriALL to protest the behaviour of Mitsubishi Electric. After 12 days online, the campaign is in 13 languages and has over 5,450 supporters.

Turkey: We shared the ITUC story on the murder of a trade union leader as a top global news story and widely on social media. Our campaign in support of workers at Istanbul’s new airport, launched six weeks ago, is now in 23 languages, and has almost 8,700 supporters.

UK: We had a long meeting at Unite the Union’s headquarters to discuss future joint work. We created a meme in support of RMT strikers on the London Underground and post it on social media. It is very widely shared.

Finances: We thanked TUAC for their generous donation. Amazon has begun to pay us — finally — for books we have published using their CreateSpace platform and Kindle.

Internationalisation: We’re getting our campaigns framework translated into Kurdish and Nepalese and we had a campaign translated for the first time in a long time into Arabic. The Spanish home page now has all country names translated into Spanish, where we are now showing top global news stories, as we do in some other languages. Derek has also begun tweeting in Spanish.

Mailing lists: We added 93 new subscribers, who opted-in from campaigns.

News: We fixed the link that allows correspondents to change their default language and country, and tested it.

Nov
02
2018
0

Reviving our campaigns and mailings in Italian, Polish, Arabic and other languages

Brazil: We gave extensive publicity to the IUF’s powerful editorial on the eve of the elections.

Canada: We did a mailing to our Canadian list promoting CLIFF, the labour film festival.

Italy: As we were having some difficulties getting our campaigns and mailings translated, we invited 819 Italian speakers on our English mailing list to volunter to help with translations — and have been inundated with many positive responses.

Poland: We did something similar to the Polish list, and now have translators and translations of our campaigns after a very long time.

Spain: We have been approached by Spanish unions about launching a campaign and hope to do this shortly.

Turkey: We shared Human Rights Watch’s story about the Istanbul airport struggle widely. At the moment, our campaign has 8,459 supporters and appears in 21 languages, with more coming. This campaign too should rise to above 10,000 supporters.

USA: We shared Unite Here’s Marriott campaign to social networks. We also shared widely a news story from the USA about journalists in new media who are organising and voting to strike.

Campaigns: We’ve improved the ability to share campaigns by email with friends in English. The French version is also being prepared now. We also now have translations of a basic text to use 7 days after a campaign launch, when writing a followup message to people who haven’t yet opened our mailing — this is now in English, French, Italian, Russian and Turkish, and our campaigns will now always receive a boost after a week in those languages. (Previously, we did this only in English.) Our attempts to find new volunteer translators for our campaigns in Arabic has not yet resulted in anything concrete, despite writing directly to more than 2,000 Arabic speakers on our English list.

Mailing lists: We added just 45 new subscribers to our lists, most of them for our Turkish list.

Articles: We shared Eric’s article from the current issue of International Union Rights magazine, on the subject of online campaigning as a top news story on LabourStart and on social networks.

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.

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.

Powered by WordPress | Aeros Theme | TheBuckmaker.com WordPress Themes