Promoting campaign targetting PepsiCo – union-busters in India

Today we helped the IUF with their new campaign to compel PepsiCo to stop union-busting in West Bengal. The help consisted of a mass mailing and promotion to social media (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit and Wikipedia). The campaign had 4,899 supporters and after 90 minutes of a LabourStart push, that had risen to 5,219 — a gain of 320. I hope we can get this campaign over 10,000, quickly.

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

The week in review – 19 – 26 June


The Turkey campaign has now reached an unprecedented level of support, with over 21,250 messages sent.  For the first time, German is the second language with 1,076 messages sent — a new record.  (This will be very helpful in raising our profile in Germany prior to our conference in Berlin next year.)

We launched a new Canadian campaign in support of beer workers in Newfoundland and Labrador.  It’s gotten over 1,530 messages sent in the first few days online – making it larger already than the UK-only campaign in support of University of London cleaners.

It’s been more than 3 weeks since we launched a global campaign, and as we expect to soon shut down the Thailand campaign (this week) and the USA Vancouver lockout campaign (in about 20 days), we may soon have just two live global campaigns running.

Next global solidarity conference – Berlin, May 2014

Eric, Edd and Gisela met in London on Monday in the first face-to-face discussion about the conference.  It was a very productive meeting and has been followed up with the creation of a shared Evernote notebook in which members of the organizing committee in Berlin and London are sharing ideas and information.


Our list of press contacts continues to grow, and we now have over 80 journalists we’ll be writing to regularly.  If anyone reading this has email addresses of journalists who cover labour news, please share those addresses with us.  Thanks.

I’ve been invited to speak next week at the ILO International Training Centre in Turin, Italy to a group of 15 trade union communicators from 9 countries in Asia.  There will be people from unions in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.  One of the subjects I’m expected to cover is LabourStart campaigns.  I’ll be giving each of the participants copies of the two LabourStart books and will attempt to awaken their interest in our project with a view toward recruiting more correspondents, translators, etc.

LabourStart books

Sales at last weekend’s Ideas for Freedom in London were disappointing.

The total sales CreateSpace reports on the Global Labour Movement book since its publication two months ago is 364 plus 27 Kindle editions, for a total of 391.  This doesn’t include sales from our office.

As for the Campaigning Online book, CreateSpace reports sales of 630 copies sold, plus 65 Kindle editions, for a total of 695.  In addition, we sold over 62 copies from our office and gave away at least 44, including review copies, so the total distribution of this book is over 800.  In addition,  the French edition of the Campaigning book has sold 78 copies through CreateSpace.


We just heard that a large British union has contributed £1,000.  Next week I’ll do the quarterly mailing to our 15,923 19,692 “power users” — the people who tend to support all our online campaigns.  The last mailing raised several thousand pounds, so I hope that this time we’ll do as well — or better.

Today in Labour History

We’ve made some progress in identifying a supplier and costing for the print calendar.  And we’ve made sure that for the next few weeks (until the end of July), there will be history items every day on our home page.

New home page

We’ve come up with draft home pages in the new format for the last two remaining languages — French and Norwegian.


20,000 — and still growing …


It was a goal I set for myself on New Year’s Day: to have the first LabourStart campaign with more than 20,000 participants some time this year.

We reached that goal early this morning and as I write these words, another 111 people have signed up.

This campaign continues to grow and grow.

Well done to all the comrades around the world who have worked so hard to make this possible.

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

The week in review – 10 – 18 June


The focus has been on Turkey, of course — our largest campaign ever and soon to be the first to break the 20,000 mark.  This week we launched a Turkey Twitter campaign in which hundreds of people tweeted the same message at Prime Minister Erdogan.  We live blogged developments, here on Inside LabourStart.  We ran a live feed on our Facebook page with reports from Ron Oswald of the IUF in Taksim Square.  A Greek language version of the campaign will go live today – our first-ever campaign in Greek.

The 3 Cosas campaign in the UK has been the focus of some attention as well — we’ve gotten a commitment from the student unions in London to email their members, thousands of students, many of whom are expected to support the campaign.

In Canada, we’re about to close one campaign and launch another one.

We raised the possibility of a Nike campaign with IndustriALL and are waiting to hear from them.

We followed up this week with the ITF regarding the Vancouver, Washington port dispute.  The campaign is now two months old and is just under 10,000 messages sent.

And as we do once a month, we wrote to all our campaign partners with updates and reminders.

Next global solidarity conference – Berlin, May 2014:

There’s been a lot of discussion by email about this, and next Monday, Eric, Edd and Gisela will meet in London to discuss.  We have draft 2 page conference document in English and German versions.  Matt and others have been scouring Berlin to find the best venue for our meeting.


As I reported earlier this week, we suspended the Facebook ad campaign.

We’ve begun building a list of press contacts in the hope of getting some coverage in mainstream (and alternative) media for LabourStart.  Within minutes of our first mailing yesterday (to about 70 addresses), the British left-wing magazine Red Pepper posted a very short version of what we sent them as a tweet to their nearly 10,000 followers.

LabourStart Books:

Sales remain slow, though have picked up slightly in mid-June.  We sold 11 copies of the Global Labour Movement book last week and 4 copies of the Online Campaigning book.

We have two more books in the pipeline both of which will come out in 2013.

Dormant languages:

As I reported, 11 of the approximately 30 languages on our website are not updated regularly. Edd and I selected the six most important (where we have mailing lists, or do campaigns, or both) in an effort to revitalize. We’ve recruited some new correspondents and will be checking to see if any of these pages have come alive. The next step is to deal with the other five languages.

Today in Labour History:

We’ve begun work on the next step of this project — a print calendar, to be available for purchase in Q4 of 2013.


Gokhan Bicici

Those of you who attended the LabourStart Global Solidarity Conference in Istanbul in 2011 may recognize some of the people in this photo.  That’s part of the organizing committee for the event.

The young man sitting on the far left of the photo is Gokhan Bicici.

He is the head of TAREM, an NGO that works closely with Turkish trade unions.

Gokhan played a central role in organizing our conference and he and I became friends.

Yesterday, he was brutally beaten and arrested by Turkish police as he was filming the demonstrations in Istanbul.

You can watch a shocking one-minute video of this here.

Please help us build the campaign – spread this URL around everywhere:



Written by admin in: 2011 conference,Campaigns |


Upgrade This banner now appears on the top right column on LabourStart’s global home page in English.


I’ll go into much greater detail when I tell you about our next book, but basically we’ve always supported open source software, and in the past have helped promote alternative software to the labour movement and so this fits into that long history.

Firefox is part of the broader non-profit, free Mozilla project and is very worthy of our support.

Written by admin in: Uncategorized |

Facebook campaign – closed

Our latest ad campaign on Facebook is now closed.  We spent US $336.89, showed our ad to 75,546 people, and picked up 773 new likes for our page.  In other words, each new like cost us about 50 US cents.  We’re now up to 7,585 likes for our page.  To reach 10,000 (getting another 2,415 likes) would cost us $1,200.  There is very little evidence to show that these new likes translate well into participants in our campaigns, correspondents, translators, or donors.  Any thoughts on whether we should continue to invest in Facebook ads?

Written by admin in: Publicity,Social networks |

Tweeting our solidarity with Taksim

angry-twitter-birdWe’re doing mass mailings today to encourage our supporters to Tweet this:

@RT_Erdogan Polis ?iddetini durdur, protestolara izin ver! Stop police violence, allow protests! http://bit.ly/18Q2O8Y #direngeziseninleyiz

And we’ve explained what this means:

  • @RT_Erdogan – This is a direct tweet to the Turkish Prime Minister – his staff will see it.
  • Polis ?iddetini durdur, protestolara izin ver! – The Turkish phrase meaning “Stop police violence, allow the protests!”
  • http://bit.ly/18Q2O8Y – The address for our campaign.  People will see and more will send email protests.
  • #direngeziseninleyiz – The most widely used hashtag by the demonstrators in Turkey today.  Using this hashtag guarantees that many thousands of them will see our tweets.

Please spread the word.  I’ll report back later to see what effect, if any, this has – including on support for our Turkish-language campaign (now 303 messages sent out of 17,229).

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

LIVE BLOG: Taksim Square attacked by riot police

It’s been a busy morning.  I’m going to live blog here what’s going on.

15:05: I’ll end the liveblogging now.  We’re up to 16,931 messages sent to Erdogan.  That’s a gain of 37 in the last 2 hours, which is again a slowing down.  The response to the crackdown in Taksim Square today has been very limited — only 163 in the last 7 hours.  We’re still 283 signatures short of a LabourStart record-breaking campaign, but I’m sure we’ll reach that now — probably by tomorrow morning.

13:12: There’s been a small growth in the campaign, with 29 people signing up in the last 50 minutes.  We’ve also picked up a grand total of 7 new Twitter followers today, which is very low.  Last month we got 258 new Twitter followers, an average of more than 8 per day.  So today is actually below average, and that’s despite one Twitterer with 135,000 followers having retwetted one of our Tweets including a link to the campaign three hours ago.  Odd.

12:23: Ron Oswald is nearly done with his texting.  Meanwhile, I continue to Tweet, FB, etc.  The total number of new messages sent to Erdogan in all languages in the last 4 hours is just 97.  Not good.

10:50: The Turkish Prime Minister is tweeting furiously – see https://twitter.com/RT_Erdogan.  Feel free to tweet at him using @RT_Erdogan.  Meanwhile, continuing with updates to Facebook, Twitter, our news page, etc.  Still disappointed in the (lack of) growth of our campaign — we’ve only picked up 56 new supporters this morning, in the last 2 1/2 hours.

10:36: Have just written to 508 LabourStart correspondents.  Here is what I asked each of them to do:

  • If you’ve not yet signed up to the campaign, please do so right now.
  • Please spread the news about the campaign in your union — let’s grow this rapidly and flood Prime Minister Erdogan with messages of protest.
  • If there is news from your country or union about what’s happening in Istanbul (e.g., your union issues a statement condemning the police violence) please make sure to post this.
  • On Facebook, please ‘like’ and ‘share’ our posts about what’s happening in Istanbul.
  • On Twitter, please re-tweet our posts today.

10:04: Continuing with Ron’s live reports. In the last two hours, the number of supporters of our Turkey campaign has gone from 16,768 to 16,808 — just 40.  Comrades — this is not good enough.

09:22: The IUF’s Ron Oswald is in Taksim Square; I’m getting live reports and sharing them on Facebook and Twitter.  Please help spread the word.  Posted several news stories.  Have tweeted 6 times in the last hour. Contact two members of the European Parliament, one of whom has already supported our campaign, to get their help.  Asked the British TUC if a demo was being planned.  Have been sharing Facebook stuff with other groups and pages.  Campaign has just under 16,800 supporters.

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

The week in review – 29 May – 10 June

Turkey – This is the big one, likely to become the largest campaign we’ve ever done, and possibly even reach my personal goal of 20,000 messages sent, sometime this week.  Lots of updates below.
Small screen version goes live – Our campaigns now look MUCH better on smartphones and tablets, a first example of “responsive web design” on LabourStart, with more to come.

Berlin 2014
Edd and I drafted a very short document explaining what we’re hoping to achieve in Berlin at next year’s LabourStart Global Solidarity Conference.  We’ll be having a phone call with the ITUC today and a meeting with Gisela, who is based in Berlin, in two weeks, in London.

We’ve been running a Facebook ad campaign for nearly 3 weeks now.  It’s cost us $288.00, the ads have been seen by 68,389 people in the UK and Germany, and we’ve picked up 677 new ‘likes’.  As a result of this, we now have 1,694 likes from the UK and 185 from Germany — making it our 6th strongest country.
As reported below, we got good publicity in the German/Austrian Esperanto magazine.

Book sales continue to be slow.  In June, we sold only 19 copies of the Global Labour Movement book, and 4 of Campaigning and Winning (all in English).

Site traffic
As reported below, we’ve started using Clicky to provide real-time updates on traffic to our sites.  It was quite fun to watch a world map light up when we launched the Turkey campaign.

We’ve identified 11 “dormant languages” on our news pages where correspondents have ceased to be active.  We prioritized six of these (Finnish, Swedish, Danish, Portuguese, Farsi, Italian) and have posted a message on each one explaining that the page is not currently being updated, but asking for volunteers to help.  We’ve also begun writing to each mailing list in these languages and have already gotten some new correspondents.
We have been able to do those mailings and post messages in those languages because we have picked up a number of new volunteer translators.  We did this by writing to people from different countries who had signed up to the English language version of our Turkey campaign.  As a result, we have an unprecedented 24 languages for the Turkey campaign.
Finally, we continue to constantly update our news pages.  Most recently, our French-language Canada page is shaping up well, with top stories now for the first time.

We now have a proper form to submit events and people have begun submitting them.  We’ll set this up so that events for specific countries are automatically sent by email to the appropriate editors who will decide what to post.  We’ll begin publicity to all our correspondents and subscribers once things quiet down a bit here …

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