Sep
01
2021
0

New campaigns coming for Egypt, Puerto Rico and Sweden? And more news in our weekly update

Egypt: Following recent developments at Lord International we have reached out again to our partners asking if the campaign we created now needs to go live.

Europe: We had a very positive online meeting with EFFAT, the European food workers’ union.

Global: We are helping publicise the ‘Essential for Recovery’ event next week which is being sponsored by ITUC, UNI Global Union, and others.

Puerto Rico: We have reached out to the electrical workers union offering help with their struggle.

Sweden: Our not-yet-launched campaign is on hold for another two weeks while we wait for the decision of the local union, who have gotten back to us.

Fundraising: UNI Global Union has made a very generous donation.

Global labour calendar: We have begun work on this, aiming to have it ready for publication by 1 October.

Internationalisation: We wrote to our Arabic correspondents from Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia and Yemen asking for their help to revive the page and to translate our campaigns. We did the same with our Hebrew language correspondents, two of whom have now responded favourably. We made a number of additional improvements to both the Arabic and Hebrew editions this week. We also reviewed the Farsi language edition of LabourStart and noted next steps. Other languages will follow.

Jobs: We listed another dozen jobs in the last two weeks and have done a weekly round of publicity across social media. Correspondents are encouraged to help with this as all the jobs being posted are coming from the UK and Canada for the moment.

Aug
25
2021
0

Global Labour Calendar – how you can help – and more news from the last week

Our 2014 calendar.

Global Labour Calendar: We plan to have this ready and on sale on 1 October. If you have any great labour photos that we might consider using, please email canada@labourstart.org. If you have ideas for dates we should mark on the calendar, please email ericlee@labourstart.org.

Afghanistan: We have reached out to both national trade union centres in the country, and have also engaged with the ITUC. We continue to upload news stories from unions abroad about Afghanistan, mostly from the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

Egypt: We have a campaign ready, but have been asked to place it on hold for the moment.

Iran: We are discussing launching a new campaign with an NGO that campaigns in support of jailed trade unionists, Free Them Now. More details soon.

Myanmar: We are in discussions with a Danish trade union about a possible campaign.

Internationalisation: Having largely completed the fixes to our Hebrew page, we’re now turning our attention to LabourStart’s Arabic language edition — including efforts to revitalise our core group of volunteer correspondents across the Arab world.

LabourStart Jobs: We continue adding jobs, mostly from Canada and the UK for the moment, publicising them across social media every week.

News database: We’ve continued work on the problem of countries whose names have changed. From this week, correspondents will no longer have the option to use the older names of a number of countries, including Swaziland, Burma and East Timor (though people will be able to view news posted under those names in the past).

Aug
18
2021
0

Afghanistan, Egypt, Hungary, Iran, Israel, Puerto Rico, Sweden, Turkey: LabourStart is there to help

August is quiet time for many people and even some trade unions — but not for LabourStart.

We’re responding to a number of new appeals for help which come in every day …

Afghanistan: We’re posting any comments and statements by unions which we can find, and have been sharing posts across social media as well.

Egypt: We are just about to launch a new campaign in support of workers at Lord International – details this coming week.

Europe: We have been reaching out to the various European regional organisations of the global union federations, and this coming week will have a call with another of the general secretaries.

Hungary: After a slow start, the campaign has picked up quite a bit – and currently has over 5,200 supporters. We raised the question of Hungarian support for the campaign with ETF.

Iran: A group that campaigns to release jailed trade unionists has reached out to us and we’ve scheduled a call for later this week to discuss joint actions.

Israel: We learned that the workers at 10bis, for whom we campaigned earlier this year, have won a big victory in the courts. We’re waiting for an English translation of the news to appear, and it’s already on our Hebrew language edition. In addition, we made further improvements to how our news shows in Hebrew (and other languages) on the country pages, having fixed the main home page last week.

Puerto Rico: We’ll be following up with several emails in the hope of providing some support for electricity workers there, possibly a campaign.

Sweden: We have prepared a new campaign and are waiting for the green light from the union.

Turkey: We have now closed our campaign in support of Cihan Erdal. The campaign had 7,172 supporters and appeared in 16 languages. As we wrote: “Cihan was ordered released from custody on 15 June 2021. He has to report to the police twice a week and cannot leave the country. Hearings will start again in September 2021.

LabourStart Jobs: We did the first round of publicity for our new project — https://www.labourstartjobs.org — and will do weekly bursts – including a mailing to our subscribers, and highlighting some key jobs.

New correspondents: We added four new correspondents this week, two from the USA and one each from Morocco and the UK.

Our home page: We had a problem — the second country in a news story was rendering in the correct language on one part of the home page (the bottom) but not the other parts. This is now fixed — the country name is now correctly translated across the whole page.

Aug
04
2021
0

Book of the month, labour history, and 3 new campaigns: Another week for LabourStart

Since last Wednesday we’ve had a very busy week …

Chile: We’ve had full coverage of the strike at the world’s largest copper mine, and have publicised that fact across social media.

Egypt: We’ll be exploring the possibility of new campaign with our friends at the CTUWS.

Europe: We’ve continued running with the Fedex/TNT campaign for at least another month, at the request of the ETF.

Hungary: We expect to shortly launch a campaign in support of workers who’ve been forbidden to strike – at the request of the European Transport Workers’ Federation.

Kazakhstan: We closed the campaign in all languages, but may need to do another as the issues have not been resolved.

Malawi: We added a new correspondent from the journalists’ union.

Romania: Our mailing list in Romanian grew by several hundred due to the campaign we’re running in support of Bucharest metro workers.

Sweden: We’ve responded favourably to the request for a campaign and are expecting something quite soon.

Adding news: We’ve cleaned up the pages where correspondents add news, dropping a lot of extraneous material.

Book of the month: We’ve started promoting a book of the month — on our home page, across social media and soon, in a mailing. The authors of ‘Dying for an iPhone‘ are delighted.

Campaigns: We’ve shared a piece Derek wrote — Ten Reasons Why Unions Should Use LabourStart for Online Campaigns — on our home page.

Country news: Our country news page was not rendering correctly on small screens (like smartphones); this has now been fixed.

Donations: We followed up with appeals to several global unions, and BWI committed to a donation again this year.

Internationalisation: Our Hebrew home page had many problems, with far too much English and texts aligning on the wrong side of the page — all of this now fixed this week, as we move to other languages one by one.

LabourStart Jobs: We continue to make progress on this — it’s now multilingual and we’ve two designs for logos, and have registered the domain name labourstartjobs.org. Still working on this.

Today in Labour History: We had problems with character encoding which were screwing up the display of non-English texts — now fixed, as you can see on our home page.

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.

Dec
28
2020
0

A busy end to 2020 at LabourStart

At the end of each year, we write to all our volunteer translators. Our message this year included this:

We’ve run 24 campaigns this year.

Some of these campaigns resulted in victories for the workers.

We’ve helped get trade unionists released from jail, companies to sit down and negotiate with workers’ representatives, and workers reinstated after being wrongfully sacked.

Thanks to your efforts, these campaigns often appear in many languages — and as a result are much larger and more effective than campaigns that appear only in English or a handful of major languages.

We are strong believers in linguistic diversity and equality, and we believe that workers everywhere should be encouraged to participate in global solidarity campaigns, regardless of what language they speak.

Your work is turning that commitment of ours into a reality.

We also write to all our volunteer correspondents. In this year’s message, we wrote:

According to our statistics, 111 of you posted 55,618 news stories to our site this year. That’s average of 155 news stories every day of the year.

A new labour news story every 9 minutes.

When I look at the mainstream media news sites, I barely see a hint of all this news. Working people and our unions rarely make headlines.

Even some union websites feature hardly any updated news. Some major union websites go weeks without a single update.

But not LabourStart.

If you don’t glance at our site for a week, you’ve missed 1,000 news stories.

This is entirely due to your efforts — and to your understanding of our movement and the challenges we face, in your country and all over the world.

In the last two weeks, despite the holiday season, we’ve been busy as usual.

New campaign: We launched a new campaign in support of Ukrainian workers who have gone without pay for the last three years. The campaign is backed by the Ukrainian union PROFBUD and BWI. Today it already has nearly 4,000 supporters, and appears in 9 languages with more coming.

Our home page: This is now working in Russian and Ukrainian, showing our current campaigns. The ‘more campaigns’ link now works for all languages, which are showing only the most recent active campaigns. All links on the home page that pointed to insecure (http) links now point to secure (https) versions of the same page. We’ve been going through our home pages in all languages trying to make certain that all signup links to our mailing list now point to Mailchimp and not Sendy.

Reviving dormant languages: We wrote to volunteer translators for Finnish and Polish, and are following up also with Arabic, Farsi, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese as well. All of these languages have had volunteer translators in the past, and if we can revive them all, our campaigns will reach much larger audiences.

Outreach: We wrote to a large number if Indian and Pakistani mine workers’ unions, and also reached out to the person who controls the ‘India labour news’ page on Facebook, in the hope of growing LabourStart’s presence in the region.

Bookshop: We’ve added many more titles to our US and UK bookshops on bookshop.org, and are planning to hold live author events on Zoom next month. In December, the US bookshop had 241 views and the UK one had 384 views and two sales.

Correspondents’ webinar: Our first-ever online meeting with correspondents was a success, with 35 participants.

LinkedIn: We now have a page in addition to our long-standing group. It has 33 followers. The group has grown to 2,250.

Resistance: This is the working title of the next collection of essays by Dan Gallin which we will be publishing in the next few weeks. Work on this has now resumed.

Dec
14
2020
0

Victories in Belarus, Colombia; new campaigns in Brazil, Kyrgyzstan; webinars; and we have a bookshop!

Apologies once again as this update has been delayed by a couple of weeks. It’s been a very busy month and here are some highlights:

Belarus: We shared the good news of the release of the jailed trade unionists (pictured) widely across social media and closed our campaign.

Brazil: We launched a campaign demanding an end the anti-union attacks in the city of São Paulo. After one month online, the campaign has 6,198 supporters.

Cambodia: We closed our current campaign after three months. We don’t know the result yet as we have not yet heard back from the sponsoring unions – ITUC and EI.

Canada: We invited our list to view the CLIFF videos — one of which received a LabourStart prize.

Colombia: We won a big victory in the ‘death shifts’ campaign and publicised this widely.(Pictured – right.)

India: We are in discussions with a colleague who had been an active LabourStart correspondent about ramping up our activities by working together on an Indian labour news page on Facebook which he founded, and that already has tens of thousands of supporters.

Iran: We raised the question of a campaign in support of a workers’ rights activists who received 74 lashes — but have not yet heard back from our global union partner.

Kyrgyzstan: We launched a major new campaign, and now have nearly 6,000 supporters. The campaign has benefitted from repeated posts across social media, and the GUF partners all posting news stories on their home pages about this.

Philippines: We gave a lot of publicity to the global unions’ “Workers’ Quest for Justice – an international webinar on human rights and the labour movement” which took place on 23 November.

UK: I gave a talk (via Zoom) to a London branch of Unite the Union. The subject was LabourStart; the branch has made a donation to us.


Books: We have launched — just in time for Christmas — online bookshops in cooperation with bookshop.org in the USA and UK.

Correspondents: We cleared the backlog of new correspondent applications. At the moment, we have 1,007 correspondents, the majority of whom are inactive. Of those, 64 joined us in 2020. (See ‘webinars’ below.)

Internationalisation: We’re checking all our home pages in various languages to try to standardise features and have completed this for the Dutch page.

Interns: In addition to our two current interns in the USA, Nate and Hargun, we have agreed with the Global Labour University (based in Germany) to take on one or two more for a 6-week period starting in mid-February. We have already interviewed the first one, a young Israeli trade unionist.

Labour Newswire: Our language-based newswires have been broken for some time, but we finally managed to find the problem and fixed the Russian and Spanish ones. We can now begin to publicise these again. We purged the Labour Newswire Global Network page of the many websites which no longer use our newswires (or which have gone defunct).

Site security: Due to changes made by our Internet host (IONOS), we were compelled to close our CloudFlare account and instead have bought into IONOS’ system, SiteLock. We needed to work with IONOS tech support to get this all to work properly. We are working to ensure that all pages on our site are now SSL-protected and no longer trigger warning messages in browsers.

Social media: In addition to our LinkedIn group, we now have a LinkedIn page which we are starting to recruit to.

Webinars: We are today holding our first-ever Zoom webinar, for LabourStart correspondents. Over 50 people have registered to attend. We plan to hold many more webinars to support our campaigns, etc. We are hoping to hold another public webinar in support of FLOC in the US, with the support of the IUF, but are waiting.

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.

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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