20 campaigns in last year – some observations

We’ve run, as it turns out, 20 campaigns in the last 12 months.  The results appear below (English language totals only).  Here are some quick observations:

  • The country we protest the most about is Iran – and the 3 campaigns we waged in support of Iranian workers were among the top 6 campaigns we ran.  Clearly this a popular subject.
  • We also ran 3 campaigns in support of workers in Turkey – including our most popular campaign this year, and 2 of the top 5 campaigns we ran.
  • The most popular campaigns focus on workers’ rights issues – arrests, murders, whippings.  The campaigns at the bottom of the list are more traditional workplace issues like failure to negotiate or recognize a union.
  • Campaigns which we publicized to specific audiences only (Canada, Australia) in general were considerably smaller than the global campaigns.
  • The two biggest campaigns focussed on women — and both had good photos of the women.
  • Campaigns in support of workers in the countries our readers live in — Canada, the USA, Australia — were the weakest.

Here is the list:

7412 Turkey: Free jailed woman trade union leader [30-Jun-2008]
5771 Iran: Protest intensified repression against labour activists – No to whippings and executions! [14-Aug-2008]
5571 Iran: Save the life of Farzad Kamangar [28-Nov-2008]
5345 Korea: Stop arrests of trade union leaders [04-Aug-2008]
5121 Turkey: DESA leather workers fight for the right to have a union [16-Nov-2008]
still active
4271 Iran: Drop charges against jailed union leaders [20-Feb-2009] – still active
3439 Colombia: Protest murder of Leonidas Gomez Rozo [04-Apr-2008]
2807 Russia: North Urals mining company refuses to bargain with workers after hunger strike [18-Apr-2008]
2653 Tell the Gap: Don’t Harbor Worker Abuses [24-Oct-2008]
2625 Stop the Attack on Trade Union Rights in Saskatchewan [19-Mar-2008]
2309 USA: Pacific Beach Hotel workers have a right to a union [17-May-2008]
2275 Ireland: BT Discriminates Against own staff because they are Irish [25-Apr-2008]
2122 Russia: Stop attacks on auto workers union [03-Dec-2008] – still active
1452 Turkey: Release jailed road transport union members [30-May-2008]
1335 Australia: Boeing – recognize the union at Hawker de Havilland [10-Jun-2008]
937 South Africa: Woolworths engages in union-busting [10-Oct-2008]
855 USA: Union-busting in Minnesota Attorney General’s Office [27-Feb-2008]
833 Mexico: Reinstate sacked workers in Janos [26-Aug-2008]
825 Tell the Mayor of Ottawa to put an end to the public attack on ATU 279 and return to the bargaining table [24-Jan-2009]
15 Unions in Victoria – Save our TAFES [15-Aug-2008]

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

Iran campaign launched – so successful, it crashes our server

We had this problem before and forgot about it – our server cannot take a sudden load.  We’re going to take steps to begin moving parts of LabourStart over to the server we use to host UnionBook – starting with the campaigns.

The Iran campaign launched yesterday was a good example.  In the first hour online, some 400 people succeeded to send off messages – but a certain number hit ‘500’ error messages.  Over the course of about 20 hours, we got a total of 3,774 messages sent – which is very high for us.

The campaign is live in four languages – Dutch, French, German and English.  We’ve received the translation into Spanish and that will go live today.  We’re still waiting for translations into other languages, including Farsi.

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

The end of LNN?

I just had a request – as I frequently get – to publicize union news that doesn’t yet appear on the web.  In the past, we’ve always tried to get people to use our Labour News Network for this purpose.  But LNN, no matter how we did, has always been a bit tricky.  The latest version uses Jottit.com, which breaks one of our own rules (over-reliance on free tools that we can’t control).

Today I had an appeal to stop the deportation of a Saudi Arabian trade unionist from Britain.  Instead of posting it to the Jottit site, I used my own blog on UnionBook and made the blog entry public.  Then I linked to it from LabourStart. This way, it will be seen by every user visiting the public front page on UnionBook as well as those visiting LabourStart.

I’m thinking that if we slowly phase out the Jottit site, we can give people one more good reason to use UnionBook – as a publishing platform.

What do you think?

Written by admin in: Uncategorized |

UnionBook nears 2,000 users; mailing list nearly ready

We have over 1,900 people who’ve set up accounts.  Several hundred of them have not completed the process and I’m coping with a large number of emails about that.  We have a tool to manually validate, but I want to use it only when we’re sure that this is a genuine user.

We’ve not gotten access to our new MySQL database and I was able to easily download the user file, meaning that I now have access to all 1,900+ email addresses.

Rather than relying on Elgg’s own mass mailing facility (which crashed our server last time I tried it), I’ve imported these email addresses into a new list I’ve set up at unionlists.org.uk, which we use for all the other LabourStart lists.  Once this is approved by the listmaster (Nick Holden), we can do regular weekly mailings to UnionBook subscribers.  These mailings would aim to engage with readers, to help them use the site and deal with their most common problems, to let them know when there are new features and to encourage them to draw others in.

Written by admin in: UnionBook |

Over 40,000 unique visitors in first 5 weeks of 2009

Check out our latest stats from Google analytics.

Written by admin in: Site traffic |

Voting ends – and we have a winner (almost)

I’ve stopped further voting for the 2009 Labour Website of the Year competition and we should announce the results next week.  According to my preliminary tally, the winner this year is the UE, with 262 votes.

The runners up are:

  • Union Songs – 232
  • Our Times – 193
  • USLEAP – 185
  • New Unionism Network – 178

This is not the final tally.   There is the possibility of ballot box stuffing, so I’d like to ask for your help to ensure that we’ve got this right.

The only thing we need to determine with any degree of accuracy is which site won, so the question is, did UE get more votes than anyone else?  This requires looking over the raw data and making a decision.

You can help by doing this and adding your comments below this post.


Written by admin in: Labour Website of the Year |

UnionBook: Status report – teething problems

The upgrade to our new server on Friday has not only not improved the stability of the site, but has made things much worse.

We got some help from Kevin Jardine, who’s an Elgg expert, and much more help from Nick Holden, who knows his way around PHP and MySQL, but so far we’ve not gotten the crashes to stop.  The Elgg group on Google has tried to be helpful, but we haven’t gotten much practical advice from them.

Meanwhile, I’ve been updating the UnionBook group on Facebook which has 150 members.

The technical support team at Memset, our hosts, have tried to be helpful but their most practical bit of advice so far is to move over to ‘managed hosting’ where they “can take a hands on role in troubleshooting any problems with configuration, and also check that software updates have been applied,” as they put it.  I’ve just given them instructions to do this.

I’m flying out of London in another 19 hours and don’t want this hanging over my head while travelling.  Let’s hope this can be resolved today.

Written by admin in: UnionBook |

UnionBook nearly doubles in size in one day

UnionBook users - the first 3 months.

UnionBook users - the first 3 months.

UnionBook users – the first 3 months.
Written by admin in: UnionBook |

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