Campaigns – testing a hypothesis

If we look at LabourStart’s ActNOW campaigns, I’d guess we’d find the following: campaigns that focus on extreme violations of workers’ rights (such as arrests and killings) attract far more support than those which build support for more ordinary disputes.

Now let’s look at the current active campaigns to see if this is actually true:

Jailings of trade unionists
India: Over 500 workers jailed in dispute with Foxconn – 4,368 supporters in 6 days (728/day)
Colombia: Free jailed university lecturer and trade unionist – 1,796 supporters in 14 days (128/day)
Vietnam: Labour rights advocates face prison – 1,326 supporters in 1 day (1,326/day)

Sacking of trade unionists
Turkey: Support sacked UPS workers – 3,137 supporters in 2 months and 24 days (37/day)
Mexico: Reinstate sacked workers, recognize union, and drop all charges – 2,048 supporters in 2 months and 22 days (24/day)
Cambodia: Reinstate sacked construction workers – 2,015 supporters in 2 months and 2 days (32/day)

Other repressive measures
Iraq: Minister closes all union offices in Saddam-style move – 3,575 in 3 months (40/day)

None of the above
Thailand: Migrant workers have the right to workers’ compensation – 1,788 supporters in 9 days (199/day)

Some quick thoughts on what might be happening:

  • Campaigns on Colombia and Iraq seem to occur fairly frequently and on the same themes, which might result in campaign fatigue.
  • The Turkey campaign might have done well in part because of the support of the ITF, with whom we’ve always had a good partnership on campaigns.
  • In general, campaigns about sacked workers barely go over the 2,000 mark, even after months online.
  • The publicity for all the campaigns above was essentially the same — though the Colombia and Thailand ones were publicized together which may have resulted in a smaller number of participants for both.
Written by admin in: Campaigns |

1 Comment »

  • Not sure the sums are correct. What actually happens is a “peak” of signatures when the newsletters go out and then a gradual fall off. “Foxconn India” may only hit 5.000 after 3 months, some 55 per day.
    I think there are other factors to take into account: attractiveness and readability of the message and headline, for example.
    For our readers, extreme violations of workers’ rights contribute to attractiveness. But do we have “action” colours? It is said that on paper, red-bordeaux ink on a salmon pink background will attract an immediate response whereas black on light green will more likely be folded and put in the pocket. Is this true on the net?
    The choice of fonts, the presence of photos and the number of subjects are other obvious factors affecting the attractiveness of our messages.
    As for readability, there are some that are much more readable than others. As a translator, I find that a message well written in English is more easily translatable. But of course, the messages come from unions around the world who do not have the same types of expression and for some; English isn’t their country’s first language. The quality of the message is no doubt a trigger to response.
    Our mailings often use the same texts as the campaign page lightly rewritten so there is no additional information available without clicking the “For more info” link or reading the associated headlines. When these are in a different language, link to another subject or worse, are broken, potential signatories can be discouraged.
    Do we have stats on timing? Does a message sent on Tuesday get a better response than a message sent on Friday?
    Lastly, perhaps we should consider automatically relaunching the less attractive campaigns with a report on progress/pictures of their action, from the union.

    Comment | October 22, 2010

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