Fortnightly update – 18.12 – 31.12.12

bookcoverBook: We completed our campaigns book and published it, and publicized it today.

Campaigns: We closed the Guatemala campaign two weeks ago – still waiting for a report on how things turned out.  The Zimbabwe campaign was closed ten days ago.  The Histadrut has asked us about doing a campaign in support of striking Pelephone workers in Israel.

Newswires: We located the RSS version of the health & safety newswire for Australia which the ACTU had requested.

ActNOW DIY: Did some work on writing the code for this – moving slowly …

Site overhaul: Did a considerable amount of work on the new-look website for 2013.  Coming soon.

International Union Rights: Sales of subs to this were disappointing – we sold just 34 of them (as of 10 days ago).

Today in Labour History: This is now working fairly well, and displaying on our home page.  We have 4 or so people adding content and will soon go public in an attempt to get more correspondents.

Twitter: We are working to get our Spanish language Twitter feed working again and we’re exploring ways to get all our languages working.

Inactive correspondents: We’re building up a list of all those correspondents who are inactive and are beginning to write to each one individually.


Another campaign bites the dust

Our campaign in support of utility workers in Zimbabwe has been running for four months — it got a one-month extension after IndustriALL asked for it — but has now been closed.  The campaign generated 5,776 messages sent, and of the 4,780 sent in English, only 10 came from Zimbabwe and a very disappointing 16 from South Africa.  712 people recommended the campaign on Facebook.  We don’t yet have a report from IndustriALL on what the effect of the campaign was.

This means we are now down to six active campaigns – the largest of which (Bahrain) has 11,210 supporters.

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

Weekly update – 12.12 – 18.12.12

With Christmas nearly upon us, work is beginning to slow down – not taking on any new, major projects (and, I hope, no new campaigns) before the new year.

Successful campaigns book: This is now complete, with an introduction by the IUF’s Ron Oswald.  It runs more than 60 pages and we should be able to submit it to Amazon tomorrow (Wednesday) and should have books in hand by the end of the year.  The working title is Campaigning online – and winning: How LabourStart’s ActNOW campaigns are making unions stronger.

Labour newswires: We’ve now set up and tested labour newswires in JavaScript and RSS for the four nations of the UK – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  (This was Edd’s first ‘techie’ job, editing and uploading the files.)  We’ll be promoting these to UK union websites, hoping to grow our base of UK sites using our newswires from 20 to 40.  In the process of doing this, we discovered we had no recent stories from Wales, so we’ve added some and are following up with our Welsh correspondents to make them active.

Today in Labour History: Did more work setting this up; a version now appears on the front page of the website, but this is a very rough draft.   (The PHP version will look much nicer.) We have our first additional volunteer to help (from New Zealand), so we’re now a team of 3, but I hope we’ll begin recruiting others soon.

Book of the month: This month we promoted a subscription to International Union Rights; we earn £8 per sub sold, and as of yesterday morning we’d sold 33, so we’ve made £264,  This is more than we made in the previous four months selling books with UCS.  It is less than I’d hoped (I was hoping for at least 50 sales, maybe 100), but this is still much better than we normally do in a month.

Internationalization of campaigns: Edd reviewed how our campaigns appear in different languages and we found a number of places where English was still appearing.  I wrote to all our translators and we’ve made quite a few fixes in the Spanish, French, Norwegian, Indonesia, Vietnamese, and Chinese versions of campaigns.

New correspondents: We’ve added several new ones, including two more from Taiwan, our first active correspondent in the Bulgarian language for some time, and more.

Facebook: I wrote to key correspondents about doing additional versions beyond our English, French and Turkish pages.  Some interest has been shown in creating Indonesian and Chinese pages.

New site design: I spent several hours crafting a new front page for English (which could be the template for other languages).  It’s three columns wide, contains many more images, has a larger font, and features a much simpler navigation.  (That’s a screen shot of where we stand now with this, above.)  I hope to have something to show you all in 2013, but the adventurous among you can ask me for the URL so you can see the work-in-progress for yourself.

Closed campaigns: We’ll be closing the Guatemala campaign after three months today.


Weekly Monthly roundup – 18.11.12 – 12.12.12

Campaigns: We launched three campaigns during this 25-day period – “Cameroon: Musicians union march attacked by police“, “Nissan USA’s union busting is a global shame“, and “Netherlands: Union organizers, MP arrested; denied access to care-home workers“. We closed down several – including the Pakistan fire campaign (one of our very largest) and the Turkey DHL campaign. We’ve also started work on the ActNOW DIY project, but this is turning out to be quite complex and will take some time.

Campaign successes book: We’re nearly ready with this — a short book which we’ll distribute at cost which goes over our many victories in the last ten years.  The working title is Campaigning online – and winning: How LabourStart’s ActNOW campaigns are making unions stronger.

Labour Book of the Month: We’ve been exploring some interesting options including working with UK booksellers (three have come forward), reviving our account with, selling magazine subscriptions (we’ve been talking with Hazards and International Union Rights), selling our TUC book on the Iraqi labour movement (we have 100 in stock) and selling our campaign successes book (see above).  At present, we earn very, very little from our bookselling partnership with UCS.

Today in Labour History: This is nearly complete – we can now have multiple users and we’ve already got quite a few dates in the database, which can now be sorted by country and language, just like LabourStart’s news database.

Fundraising: We’ve now sent out our brochure and individual letters to the heads of every union in Australia.

Labour Newswires: Edd has gone through the whole directory deleting all the dead links and we’re down to 286 sites that use the newswire — 40% of where we were before, when we had over 700. It’s time to rebuild the list by getting all the newswires working, adding new ones, and promoting them aggressively.

Conferences: Work has begun — initially just some exploratory emails — on a Berlin conference in May 2014. Oh yes, and we held a Global Solidarity Conference in Sydney.


7,256 power users – now, what do we do with them?

I’ve fixed the script that shows us how many people have participated in at least 25 LabourStart campaigns — and it turns out that there are 7,256 of them.

This is a staggering number, I think. It’s our hardcore, the people who can be counted upon to nearly always support our efforts.

Once you keep this number in mind, it’s actually surprising how small some of our campaigns are — after all, if only the hardcore supporters sign up, that pretty much covers everyone.  Where are the casual supporters?

I think we need to make a special effort to engage with these people, to involve them in building a wider audience for the campaigns, and in getting their support for our fundraising. Use the comments to let me know what you think.

In response to Andy’s suggestion (see comments, below):

I’ve now looked into this.  Unfortunately, the database we’re reading doesn’t allow a breakdown by language.  The data we collect for each campaign participant is name, country, email address – not language.  In each case, the record does include the code for the specific campaign, so it would be possible to read the campaigns database and what language it is in, and then process the numbers.  But this would be a more ambitious programming job than I can manage.  If there is someone with PHP and MySQL skills who thinks this is important and wants to do it, let me know.

Written by admin in: Campaigns,Fund-raising |

New campaign launched – Netherlands

It’s extremely rare to get a campaign from a country like the Netherlands, which has an enormously powerful trade union movement, but we’ve been approached by the country’s largest public sector trade union for help. The campaign has just gone live in English, here.

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

More stuff about our conference – this time, a father-and-son affair

Chris White wrote this and his son Alex wrote this.

Written by admin in: 2012 conference |

Union television report on our conference in Sydney

Forward here to about 02:40 …

Written by admin in: 2012 conference |

LabourStart in Numbers – November 2012

The mailing lists grew by a net total of 587, which is not bad. The three largest growths were English (up by 292), French (up 48) and Hebrew (up 18 – a gain of 10%).

Our Facebook page also shot up by 261 new likes this month, a gain of 5%. The Facebook page is growing 7 times as fast as the Facebook group, and today has nearly 1,000 more members.

The largest gain, however, was the growth in followers on Twitter – up by 318 in the last month, and now just under 8,000.

Mailing lists

Total for all lists: 104,764 [104,177] +587

English: 75,686 [75,394] +292
French: 5,857 [5,809] +48
Spanish: 4,337 [4,329] +8
Italian: 3,879 [3,884]
Turkish: 3,112 [3,111] +1
German: 2,549 [2,538] +11
Norwegian: 2,328 [2,329]
Russian: 1,948 [1,949]
Dutch: 740 [740]
Chinese: 553 [551] +2
Polish: 310 [310]
Portuguese: 243 [244] +1
Japanese: 209 [ 209]
Hebrew: 207 [189] +18
Farsi: 201 [201]
Finnish: 186 [184] +2
Swedish: 186 [186]
Arabic: 183 [177] +6
Danish: 146 [146]

And just below the radar:

Korean 93 [93]
Indonesian 81 [76] +5

Social networks

UnionBook –
Members: 5,371 [5,342] +29

Facebook –
Like page (English): 5,715 [5,454] +261
Members of LabourStart group: 4,824 [4,787] +37
Like LabourStart page (French): 240 [237] +3
Like LabourStart page (Turkish): 72 [71] +1

Twitter followers –
English: 7,921 [7,603] +318

Union group on Flickr: 712 [709] +3

LinkedIn – LabourStart group: 1,100 [1,054] +46


Correspondents: 1,043 [1,042]

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