This is the list of 1998 winners only. For websites of the week from 1996-1997, click here.
- 31 December 1998 Canadian Union of Postal Workers -- http://www.cupw.org/. How many unions made the case of imprisoned Chinese labour activist Zhang Shanguang page one news on their website? How many prepared comprehensive lists of email addresses and fax numbers for protests to the Chinese authorities? Click here for a clue. Not just a first class trade union website, but also an example of first class trade union internationalism. (Note that the official CUPW site is located at http://www.cupw-sttp.org/.)
- 24 December 1998 Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU) -- http://www.psiru.org/. An outstanding site, content-rich, intelligently designed, with public and private access areas. No surprise that this site turned out to be a winner, as it was created by Steve Davies, whose Cyber Picket Line is one of the very best labour websites.
- 17 December 1998 No award given this week.
- 10 December 1998 FedEx Pilots Association -- http://www.fedexpilots.org/. Not only the first union to try to break through Federal Express' wall of anti-unionism, but a terrific website, updated daily, with lots of features including streaming video and audio.
- 3 December 1998 United Farm Workers of America -- http://www.ufw.org.
- 26 November 1998 The International Labour Organization -- http://www.ilo.org.
- 19 November 1998 Canadian Union News -- A Weekly Digest, located at http://www.clc-ctc.ca/unews/index.html. Published by the Canadian Labour Congress.
- 12 November 1998 The Education International -- http://www.ei-ie.org -- representing 23,000,000 teachers around the world.
- 5 November 1998 The National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians -- the broadcasting and cable television workers sector of the Communications Workers of America -- get the latest on the ABC lockout from the locals involved.
- 29 October 1998 The FIET youth home page -- probably the first international labour site designed for (and by) young trade unionists. http://www.fiet.org/Youth/HOMEYouth.htm
- 22 October 1998 The Global Solidarity website, by Peter Waterman. http://www.antenna.nl/~waterman/
- 1 October 1998 Brazil's national elections (first round) take place on Sunday, and the race is on between the IMF's candidate and Lula -- the candidate of Brazil's Workers' Party (PT). Their site is in Portuguese, but it's attractive and even includes Real Audio versions of their campaign jingle. http://www.pt.org.br/.
- 24 September 1998 China Labour Bulletin. Just how much do you know about the largest working class in the world? This week's choice is the fascinating China Labour Bulletin. http://www.china-labour.org.hk/
- 17 September 1998 Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions. http://www.hk-labour.org.hk/english/english.htm (English language section of the site.)
- 10 September 1998 First national, comprehensive website of the Russian labour movement, sponsored by KAS-KOR, Solidarnost and the ILO -- http://www.trud.org/. (Click on link to English pages.)
- 3 September 1998 The Global Mariner website - the exhibition ship owned by the International Transport Workers Federation, spearheading its 50-year-old Flags of Convenience campaign http://www.itf-ship.org/
- 27 August 1998 People Challenging the IMF: Neo-liberalism, the IMF and international solidarity -- website of the Peoples International Conference in Seoul (Korea) http://kpd.sing-kr.org/pics/
- 13 August 1998 Communications, Electrical, Electronic, Energy, Information, Postal, Plumbing and Allied Services Union of Australia (CEPU) http://www.cepu.asn.au/Index.html
- 6 August 1998 The Miner's Picket Line (Russia)
- 30 July 1998 Global March Against Child Labour (India) http://www.globalmarch.org
- 23 July 1998 Labor Notes (USA)
- 16 July 1998 Airline Pilots Association of the Philippines
No labour website of the week award was given out on 25 June, 2 July, or 9 July 1998.
18 June 1998: UNISON (UK)As the Blair government in Great Britain angers trade unionists with its minimum wage proposal (as it did recently also with its union rights proposal) one union which is standing up and fighting is UNISON -- which has called for national demonstrations against Blair's wage policy. (For UNISON's own views on the minimum wage, click here.) UNISON, a public sector union, was the first British union with a website -- located at http://www.unison.org.uk. This week we award it the Labour Website of the Week.
11 June 1998: United Auto Workers (USA)The biggest strike happening in the USA today -- and it's getting bigger by the hour -- is the United Auto Workers strike at Flint Metal Fab, owned by General Motors. Seven GM plants have been shut down because of the strike.
What better week than this one to give the Labour Website of the Week award to the United Auto Workers website, located at http://www.uaw.org?
The site features a pop-up menu with the latest news from the strike -- but unfortunately, this is not updated daily, Local 569 seems to have no website of its own, and even its region -- 1C -- has a web page with lots of links, but no mention of the strike. If we can't find the workers' side of the story here, where can we find it?
4 June 1998: Four great labour news sites (Korea, Canada, USA)Where do we get all those great labour news links every day? Well, we're not going to give away all our secrets, but this week's site of the week award is a very special one, going to four sources of online DAILY labour news in three countries:
28 May 1998: Korean Metal Workers Federation (South Korea)The general strike taking place in Korea today and yesterday has been organized by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), whose recently-updated website is a past winner of the Labour Website of the Week award. It's only appropriate that this week we give the award to a union which is not only the largest group within the KCTU, but whose members at Hyundai and Daewoo are today spearheading the general strike movement -- the Korean Metal Workers Federation, whose website is located at http://www.kmwf.or.kr/english/main.html. The site is a rich multimedia experience even in its English version, and a valuable source of information on a union which is today leading the way -- and not only for workers in Korea -- in the struggle against global capital.
21 May 1998: "Pay Us Our Wages!" (Russia)Anyone who's been following LabourStart for the last few days knows that we think one of the most exciting developments taking place in the international labour movement these days is the ongoing struggle of Russian workers, led by the miners, for back pay. The blockades of railways has already led to the declaration of a state of emergency in one region, and the pro-government Izvestiya is talking about the miners being "used" by a secret group of "oligarchs" who want to undermine the Yeltsin regime.
To understand the issues -- and in particular, to see the workers' side of the story, you need the facts which are happily all located on a single website: the Pay us our wages! cyber-campaign launched a few months ago by the ICEM. There is simply no better place on the web today to get an understanding of the issues behind the current upsurge in Russia.
The "Pay us our wages!" site is located at http://www.icem.org/campaigns/no_pay_cc/index.html.
14 May 1998: Amnesty International, ASIET, PRD (Indonesia)The revolution taking place today in Indonesia is making headlines around the globe -- but there's little mention in the mainstream media (including the Web) of the struggle to create independent and democratic trade unions, nor of the role of working people in the battle for democracy.
This week, we're awarding the Labour Website of the Week to three sites, which are not strictly speaking "labour websites", but which together provide a source of information on the current struggles of Indonesian working people:
7 May 1998: FNV (Netherlands)The Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging (FNV) is the Netherland's powerful trade union center and its website, located at http://www.fnv.nl receives this week's award a day after the Dutch Labour Party won a big victory in national elections. OK, the site is in Dutch -- though for English-speakers it's really not a problem to understand the meaning of a phrase like "Campagne Stop Kinderarbeid" (Campaign to Stop Child Labour). Keeping the site entirely in Dutch probably explains why 78% of the visitors come from the Netherlands. How did I know that fact? This site displays detailed statistics, a rare example of a labour website which tells the world how many (or how few) visitors come every day.
30 April 1998No award given.
23 April 1998: Pilots Agree (USA)For three weeks now, towboat pilots have been on strike in the USA. Though there have been several links to mainstream media accounts of the strike on LabourStart I was not aware -- until today -- that the union itself, Pilots Agree, maintains a continuously-updated web site (located at http://www.pilotsagree.org) with details about why they are on strike and news of the strike. When I say "continuously-updated" I mean something utterly new in the labour movement. This is not a weekly or daily summary; this site is updated hourly. Show me another medium, other than the Web, which allows a union on strike to do this!
Websites selected prior to 16 April 1998 had a slightly different format than the ones above.
9 April 1998
Takver's Soapbox: War on the Wharfies (Australia)http://www.users.bigpond.com/Takver/soapbox/index.htm
Only a few weeks ago (on 19 February to be precise) we gave this award to the Maritime Union of Australia website, a union then facing unprecedented challenges as corporate and government power teamed up to try to crush organized labour in Australian ports.
Though the MUA site is an excellent one, it is complemented by this extraordinary effort -- a site so rich in content, so frequently updated, so intelligently designed, that it should have won the award weeks ago.
But today is an appropriate moment indeed to focus international trade union attention on this site, because of recent developments on the Australian waterfront. This site seems to be, like so many others, the product of one extremely energetic and committed trade unionist, at a time when official trade unions often lag behind events and can't get their news up quickly enough onto the net.
I encourage you all to visit this site daily (news is breaking on an hourly basis in this struggle), add links to it from your own websites (especially those of you who are wharfies, dockers, dockworkers and longshoremen), and emulate it -- build more labour websites like this one!
2 April 1998
Mayday on the Web (Canada)http://www.accessweb.com/mayday/
May Day is 29 days away, but we're celebrating early this year. This site, a project of the Edmonton May Day Committee and sponsored by the Alberta Federation of Labour and the Edmonton District Labour Council, is the first we've seen coming out of the mainstream, established labour movement and focussed exclusively on the international workers holiday.
Right now, it offers a contest for graphic designers, links to May Day sites in other countries, links to May Day history sites, etc. It even includes a special graphic which you are encouraged to download and link to the site (a good idea!).
A good effort. And where are the other May Day sites this year?
26 March 1998
NATCA Voice Online (USA)http://www.natcavoice.org
Sometime we select a labour website of the week because of the movement it represents or a burning issue it addresses. And sometimes those sites are not, well, the very best there are, technically speaking. This week we've chosen a website which is an example of technical excellence, an ambitious and forward-looking site, one which novice labour webmasters will want to study.
In conclusion, this site is ambitious, cutting edge, content-rich, dynamic -- hey, what else do we want from a labour website?
No award was given out on 5 March 1998.
12 March 1998
Social Democratic Party (Denmark)http://home.socialdemokratiet.dk/socdem/velkommen/index.html
All the polls predicted they would lose, but it now appears that the Danish Social Democratic Party won yesterday's election in that country. After 11 years in the political wilderness, the party returned to power in 1993 and now appears to have retained power in the face of all odds.
Danish prime minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen is a son of the labour movement who rose in the Danish national trade union centre (LO) to eventually become its chief economist. He has served in the parliament for a decade.
Our congratulations to the comrades in Denmark, a country with one of the highest rates of Internet use in the world (according to one report, 600,000 Danes are online -- 11.5% of the population).
You can't find the Danish Social Democratic Party's website using Yahoo!, so we're providing a service to the international labour movement by providing this link. For those of you who don't read Danish, visit these links for detailed results of the elections:
- CNN: Denmark's Rasmussen proves pollsters wrong
- BBC: Danish election cliffhanger
- New York Times: Center-Left Danish Coalition Leads in Close Vote
- MSNBC: Danish election expected to be close: Center-right poised to unseat Social Democrat government Oops -- got that headline wrong! Remind anyone of "Dewey Beats Truman"?
5 March 1998
IUF Cybercampaign Against Dolehttp://www.iuf.org
The Geneva-based international trade secretariat for food workers, the IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations), which represents some 10,000,000 workers in 113 countries, has been relatively late in getting online.
But its recent launch of a cyber-campaign focussing international attention on food multinational Dole -- which is busy crushing a trade union in the Philippines while simultaneously strangling local agrarian cooperatives there -- brings it into the front line of global labour websites.
The site explains the backgrounds to both situations and includes links to send protest letters (a sample text is included) to both Dole and a long list of supermarkets which sell Dole products in a number of countries. (As a member of an agricultural cooperative myself, I have a special interest in informing Dole that its activities in the Philippines are offensive.)
A very good beginning for the IUF's long-awaited work online.
26 February 1998
Carol Simpson's Labor Cartoon Page (USA)http://www.labornet.org/simpson/CartoonWeb.html
A picture, as Web download speeds have now proven, is worth a thousand words. Here's just one of many at this wonderful site:
19 February 1998
Maritime Union of Australiahttp://mua.tcp.net.au
I'll be honest -- I wanted to check out this website, possibly give it the Labour Website of the Week award, because the struggle being waged by this union is amazing, and deserves international attention. But I wasn't sure what kind of site I'd find.
I'm delighted to report that this brand-new website is beautiful, full of interesting information, and cutting-edge in design and concept.
There's a clickable client-side image map (literally, a map) that springs up on the first page that is one of the most attractive graphics I've ever seen on a labour website.
The spirit is incredibly militant; the stories are shocking. This is a union fighting for its life. It deserves our full support.
But don't waste time here reading my own thoughts -- click on the link above and go check out this wonderful site.
12 February 1998
Canadian Union of Postal Workers - Sudbury Local 612http://www.cyberbeach.net/~willows/cupw/index.html
We don't often select local or branch trade union websites for this weekly award, and that's probably a mistake. Some of the very best labour websites being created today come from local trade unions.
This is a very new site, just launched at the end of 1997, and as a first glance will show, labour webmasters have learned something since the early days of web page creation.
This is a crisp, clear and useful site. The navigation tools are easy to understand and they work. The site includes two interactive elements -- a guest book and a web forum (the first CUPW local with a web forum, we're told). The list of links is one of the very best we've seen.
And the online newsletter is actually up-to-date! (Though there's a broken link to one article -- these things happen . . .)
A good example for other local union webmasters to study and emulate.
5 February 1998
The Critchley Solidarity Page (UK)http://www.btinternet.com/~donald.macdonald/crit1.htm
On Thursday, 6 February 1997 -- one year ago -- 31 members of the Communications Workers Union in the UK were fired from their jobs at Critchley Label Technology in South Wales because they insisted on their right to belong to a trade union and their right to strike.
Over the years, we've grown somewhat hardened to news of repression of trade unions and denial of workers' rights in Third World dictatorships and in the remaining handful of Stalinist countries. But there is something truly outrageous about such news coming from Britain -- particularly Britain today, under the leadership of "New Labour" and Tony Blair.
Last week we awarded the Labour Website of the Week to the heroic Liverpool dockworkers, whose defeat came about because of what they felt was declining national and international support for their struggle. The Critchley workers, like the Liverpool dockers, have been able to focus broad international attention on their struggle through the Internet. Nevertheless, their struggle too has been a long one.
This week, their international trade secretariat -- the Communications International -- has called for a week of global labour protest, urging all of us to flood the Critchley corporate email box and fax machine with our letters. The Critchley workers' trade union -- the Communications Workers Union (CWU) -- has stood behind the workers completely in this struggle.
If we can learn anything from the Liverpool dockers' defeat, let us apply those lessons to the Critchley struggle today. As time goes by and the struggle continues, let's not grow tired, devoting less and less energy to their cause, but instead let's increase the pressure on the company to respect basic trade union rights, including the right to strike.
If you haven't done so, I suggest that everyone reading this include a link to the Critchley Solidarity Page in their home pages.
Let's turn up the pressure on Critchley starting right now.
29 January 1998
The Liverpool Dockers (UK)
- Liverpool dockers dispute is over: Letter from Jim Nolan to supporters
- The flame that lit the world: Statement by the Liverpool Dockers Victory Defense Committee, Oakland/San Francisco (USA)
- Tributes to the Dockers
Words fail me. But Peter Waterman's words on this occasion touched me:
"Some victories are not worth having; some defeats are worth more than victories."
On this occasion, I want to thank Chris Bailey, webmaster and founder of Labournet in the UK, whose tireless efforts on behalf of the Liverpool dockers have demonstrated to all of us the power of the new communications technologies -- and of the old vision of working class internationalism and solidarity.
22 January 1998
Working TV (Canada) and Labor Beat (USA)http://www.workingtv.com
Back in November, I attended the LaborMedia 97 conference in Seoul, where I was pleased to meet -- in addition to other online activists who use email and the Web to build the labour movement -- producers of labour television and video. Among these were Julius Fisher from Working TV in Vancouver and David Ohlenroth from Labor Beat in Chicago.
This week, I want to focus attention on both their websites. But first an introduction.
This is how Labor Beat describes itself:
Labor Beat is a series of television programs on grassroots labor and social issues. The programs are produced and distributed monthly in Chicago and in a growing list of other cities. There are about 300 shows in the series to date. Labor Beat is now also producing a weekly radio program, Labor Express!
And this is what Working TV has to say about itself:
Working TV is a labour television program broadcast weekly on community access television in the province of British Columbia, Canada. In 1997 the Vision network broadcast 12 of our shows to a national audience across Canada. We are also broadcast on other community access stations across Canada and the United States, and on kibbutz in Israel. Programs have been translated and screened in Korea and soon, in Japan. We have been on air since May 1 1993 and produce regular weekly half hour programs as well as longer programs for broadcast during special events. Several of our productions have won awards.
And here's what you can find on their websites:
- How to order tapes. These are very inexpensive; LaborBeat videos cost $25 each; Working TV videos are as low as $25 for individuals, more for institutions (but the price is negotiable). (Working TV, Labor Beat)
- Future programs and air times. (Working TV, Labor Beat)
- Labour links. (Working TV, Labor Beat)
- Email contact addresses (as well as fax and phone numbers). (Working TV, Labor Beat)
- Webcasting of audio and video using streaming media software like Real Player and VDOLive. (Labor Beat)
15 January 1998
South African Municipal Workers Union
What attracted me to this labour site was no so much its bright yellow background nor its appreciation for the "Bolshevik heroes of 1917" (the site would be better without either of these), but rather for its remarkable work building South-to-South contacts, including creating solidarity websites for unions in developing countries which cannot do this themselves.
This is an activity we usually associate with radical techno-visionaries living in places like London and San Francisco, coming to the rescue of African, Asian and Latin American unions which don't own computers, let alone have staff with HTML authoring skills. It is encouraging to see such activity originating in Africa itself.
This is an example of a South African union itself embroiled in a bitter struggle against privatization, coming to the assistance of a sister union in the Philippines (COURAGE) and creating a whole website for them -- accessible through the SAMWU home page. (The Congress of South African Trade Unions -- COSATU -- provides a similar service for the labour movement in Swaziland.)
This site is updated frequently, is rich in union documents, contains a guest book (which is, unfortunately, under-utilized), and has email addresses for officers, union staff, and regional centers. It also includes two recent issues of Workers' News, the SAMWU publication.
8 January 1998
Campaign for Labor Rights
(USA and Canada)
What a century of appeals to "proletarian internationalism" couldn't do, the enactment of NAFTA did in just a few years: create the basis for transnational labour activity in the Americas. The idea of a "Campaign for Labor Rights" may have been a good one even 50 years ago -- but today, it has become an imperative.
This website focusses on the economies most closely tied to the United States, in particular Mexico and some Central American countries. It also focusses on US-based companies like Nike and Disney and their outrageous behavior in developing countries.
Yesterday, by chance I visited the Nike corporate site. No, I wasn't looking for information that would help build international working class power. I had a question about sneakers. (Does anyone out there understand how kids' shoes can light up without batteries? Tell me.)
Nike had a FAQ -- a Frequently Asked Questions -- page. I thought, "Great, I'm sure some other parents also want to understand how high-tech shoes work." But what I found there was a long series of questions and answers about what a wonderful job Nike does to promote human and trade union rights around the world. I mean, Amnesty International and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions don't even come close to these guys. I never knew how dedicated Nike was to helping mankind; I always thought they made sneakers.
Anyway, back to planet Earth, we need websites like the Campaign for Labor Rights -- and not only for countries closely tied into the US economy. I encourage all of you to check of the CLR site, to join the organization and subscribe to its newsletter, and to link to this site from your own home pages.
1 January 1998
The Mining Company: Laborhttp://labor.miningco.com/
Imagine, if you will, that someone comes along and says: I will give you a perfect website. You'll have everything you need -- all you have to do is add some content. And I'll pay you for every hit your site gets. That's more or less what is happening with The Mining Company, which is creating a tremendous number of websites, each one run by an "expert" guide, in different fields. The sites all have identical structures, and the guide decides what to fill in.
Jerry Polner is the guide for Labor at the Mining Company, and he has begun to make use of the many options being offered in this potentially fabulous site. I say "potentially" because a number of features are not fully exploited. Here's a partial list of what's available, what's being used today, and what we should be looking out for in this site.
|Net Links||Partial list only. This is odd, because I thought at first that this would be the whole point of such a site. Actually, the list is rather short, and ignores such important sites as Labournet, with a heavy emphasis on US unions. But the organization is not bad, the sites are briefly reviewed (something all of us should be doing with our hotlists), and best of all, it includes at the end a link entitled "Everybody else" -- which points to the Global Labour Directory of Directories.|
|In the Spotlight||A series of occasional articles; the editorial page of the site.|
|Events||A well-designed labour calendar, just waiting to be filled in. (There are some events listed for December, but only one for January.)|
|Chat||The room is there, just not open yet.|
|Bulletin Board||Ditto. (Hey, where's the interactivity in this site?)|
|Newsletter||There seems to be the possibility here of signing up to receive a regular newsletter by email, but it's not clear if this is for Labor page, or the Mining Company as a whole.|
As I said earlier, Jerry Polner has been given a wonderful opportunity here, which he's begun to exploit since the site when online only a few months ago. This could be one of the great places to find links, a calendar, real-time live chat, a bulletin board, and more. The structure is already in place. All it needs is Jerry's efforts -- and our help.