- 7 October 1999:
WAL-MARTyrs (USA) -- click here. Retailing superpower Wal-Mart has managed to get a court injunction from its home state of Arkansas to block union organizing efforts. But the union has put the banned leaflet on the web -- and much more as well. This site has videos, forums for workers to talk with each other, and tons of information for the 780,000 employees of this notoriously anti-union company. It also has links to sites with delightful names like walmartsucks.com. Except for the frames -- and frames suck too -- this is a superb site.
- 30 September 1999:
SASBO - The Finance Union (South Africa) -- click here. With some 70,000 members in the banking and finance sector, you'd think that this COSATU-affiliated union would have a first-rate website -- and you'd be right. Too many things are under construction or under-utilized (no chats scheduled, the tantalizing "fun stuff" links to an empty page) but the site is strikingly attractive and includes some things we've never seen before on a labour website, like a monthly drawing to encourage members to register and an online poll asking members if they'd prefer to read union news on paper or on the web. Particularly cool, I thought, was the feature telling me how many people were logged onto the website at that moment. (How did they do that?)
- 23 September 1999:
Seattle Professional Engineering Employees Association (SPEEA) -- click here. There are trade union websites that don't mention organizing. (Lots of those.) And there are sites that mention organizing but don't actually do any organizing online. These sites allow you to send in an email request to receive more information. (Lots of those sites too.) There are very, very few sites that take "online organizing" much further than that. This site is one of them. You can actually print out an authorization card (encoded in PDF), thereby authorizing the union to represent you in collective bargaining with the employer (in this case, Boeing). OK, you have to print out and then sign the card using a pen and mail it to the union (digital signatures are apparently not yet recognized) but this is going a lot further than most unions have gone with the idea of online recruitment. Charles Bofferding, executive director of SPEEA, says that the collection of signatures through the Internet is "going really well", according to a recent news report. Anyone know of a better example of cyber-organizing than this one?
- 16 September 1999:
Free East Timor Now! -- click here. This first-rate Australian site differs from other excellent sites on human rights in that it is run "under the support and direction" of 4 organizations, two of them trade unions -- the ACTU and the Victorian Trades Hall Council. The Australian unions (and now the Canadian ones as well) have played a leading role in the struggle against the Indonesian military's brutal campaign in East Timor and their support of this website is a part of that effort.
- 9 September 1999:
No award was given this week.
- 2 September 1999:
New South Wales Fire Brigade Employees Union -- click here. A "virtual march on Parliament" -- that's one we haven't heard before and one of many reasons to check out this first-rate labour website from Australia.
- 26 August 1999:
Whitehall Online -- click here. One of the very best websites set up by a trade union educational institution, this is the "virtual learning centre" of Whitehall College, which belongs to one of the largest unions in Britain, MSF. This cutting edge site includes several features worthy of attention by trade union educators everywhere:
- Online courses, delivered in cooperation with the University of Leeds.
- A first rate Internet Handbook -- a terrific introduction to the subject.
- Live chat rooms, seminars and a cyber-cafe -- which are currently under-utilized but show great promise.
- 19 August 1999:
No award was given this week.
- 12 August 1999:
No award was given this week.
- 5 August 1999:
Conference on Organized Labour in the 21st Century -- click here. One is tempted to say that this online conference, beginning 15 September and continuing for a year, is unique in being the first time that so many trade unionists from so many countries, rank and file activists and leaders alike, have gotten together online. But that would be an understatement. This is actually the first time ever -- and not only online -- that we have all had the chance to speak to each other and to the international leadership of our movement.
- 29 July 1999:
No award was given this week.
- 22 July 1999:
Scratch! Media -- click here. David Pope has been drawing cartoons "for trade unions, socialist papers and various community organisations and campaigns in Australia since the mid-1980s" according to this site, and there are dozens of them available to view here. Terrific stuff. We don't see enough of this kind of material on the web and labour websites should be encouraged to use cartoons and other graphics done by artists associated with our movement (paying them, of course, for the service). On 26 February 1998, we awarded the Labour Website of the Week to an American labour cartoonist, Carol Simpson whose site is located at http://www.cartoonwork.com/ (note the new address).
- 15 July 1999:
Retail Worker -- click here. You've got to love the motto of this site: "Where the employee is always right." These words -- the first you see here -- set the tone for a site that campaigns for the rights of workers in stores but manages to sustain a light tone throughout. ("No pickles, no union" is an article about the attempt to decertify a union of McDonalds workers.) The site includes a discussion forum, a mailing list, and an opportunity for readers to send in stories and links. The organizers behind the site -- former employees of Borders Books and Music and Barnes and Noble, whose websites promoting unions in those notoriously anti-union companies are hosted here -- also offer free web pages, mailing lists, bulletin boards, and even Internet consulting for qualified groups of workers. The site is funded of the pockets of the unpaid staff doing it, making this a rather atypical labour website of the week -- and an all the more impressive achievement.
- 8 July 1999:
Quebec Nurses Federation - FIIQ -- click here. It seems to me like one of the most exciting struggles taking place today is the Quebec nurses strike which began in late June. Denounced by the government of the province as "illegal", threatened with massive punitive fines and arrests, the nurses have just voted with a 93% majority to continue their strike. Their website is almost entirely in French, though they launched a special page of English news -- click here to see it -- after the strike began. With daily news updates, a list of unions and political parties supporting the struggle (look who's not there), and one of the best trade union graphics ever, this is an exceptionally good site. Visit it, bookmark it, link to it from your sites -- the heroic struggle being waged by the Quebec nurses in defense not only of their own rights but of the very basic human right to strike needs our support.
- 1 July 1999:
International Metalworkers Federation -- click here. For all too long, this international trade secretariat (sometimes known as "the good IMF" to distinguish them from the "bad IMF" based in Washington DC) with its 21 million members in 95 countries was ill-served by a second rate website. But no more. The IMF has set the standard for global trade union websites with this newly-launched version, with its daily news updates.
- 24 June 1999:
No award was given this week.
- 17 June 1999:
No award was given this week.
- 10 June 1999:
Don't tread on us! USWA/ICEM Global Cybercampaign against Continental Tires -- click here. After more than 260 days on the picket line, the striking workers at Continental Tires (in the USA) have finally got a global cybercampaign of their own. This use of the net was pioneered years ago by the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions and has proved effective in a number of cases. This is a site not only to visit but to link to. Make sure your union's website links to this page!
- 3 June 1999:
Chelmsford & District Trades Union Council (UK) -- click here. One of the finest examples I've seen of a local trade union site, in the UK or anywhere. There's more information on this site -- including the lyrics to many labour songs -- than on well-funded, fully staffed national trade union sites (remembering always that some of the largest unions don't even have sites). Congratulations to Malcolm Wallace on this impressive achievement.
- 20 May 1999:
Australian Council of Trade Unions -- click here. Not many labour websites -- at least, not many outside Australia -- have a stylized kangaroo as their logo. For that reason alone, I'm tempted to give the award this week to the ACTU site. But seriously, this was a truly mediocre site a year ago, barely useful during the "war on the waterfront" when other sites -- most notably Takver's Soapbox -- filled the void. But returning to the ACTU site today, one finds a totally different picture. It looks fresh, full of content and best of all -- it's updated all the time. Unlike other national trade union centers, this one doesn't waste time with an introductory "splash" screen nor does it force you into some kind of "virtual building". Instead, the ACTU site opens straight away with current news. With the improvement of this central site and the launch a few weeks ago of Workers Online, the Australian labour movement as taken a couple of huge steps forward.
- 13 May 1999:
National Union of Teachers (UK) -- click here. The site is slick and professional and contains both updated news and the electronic version of the union's magazine. (Note the difference.) But why is the BBC website scooping this one on a possible national teachers' strike? (See LabourStart UK - http://www.labourstart.org/uk/ ) Nevertheless, a first-rate site, far superior to similar teachers' sites in other countries.
- 6 May 1999:
Achieve Justice @ New Balance (USA) -- click here. A very good example of how a campaigning union -- in this case, UNITE -- can use the web not only to put its newsletter online or to allow us to download images of its leaders, but also to do some serious outreach to the broader public about issues that concern it. Compare this to, for example, the Transport & General Workers Union (UK) which has not done anything like this in support of the locked-out SkyChef workers at Heathrow -- another cause which could attract widespread public support and which cries out for a website like this one.
- 29 April 1999:
International Day of Mourning (Canada) -- click here. (The site appears to have gone offline immediately after receiving the award -- could there be a connection?) An exceptional resource, one of the very best every produced by the labour movement, to commemorate 28 April -- the international day of mourning for workers killed on the job. Amazingly, this site was not produced by an international or even national union, but by a local branch of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers! Bookmark this one.
- 22 April 1999:
Labor Watch (USA) -- click here. Updated fortnightly, this new site publishes labour news briefs. It's produced by the Harvard Trade Union Program and the Mid-West Center for Labor Research. Well worth a visit.
- 15 April 1999:
PSA Public Service Association (New Zealand) -- click here. The website of New Zealand's largest union, with updated news and a likeable page giving reasons why people don't join unions such as "it costs too much," "they never do anything," and "we never see them." (If you want to know how PSA responds to these and other comments, visit the site.)
- 8 April 1999:
BECTU Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (UK) -- click here. It's attractive, professional and -- best of all -- updated all the time. (Are other UK trade union websites paying attention here? Hello?)
- 1 April 1999: No award given this week.
- 25 March 1999:
Public Services International - World Utilities Conference -- click here. Another excellent example of a site set up by an international trade secretariat (in this case, the PSI) to focus attention on a critical issue. The site is linked to the upcoming World Utilities Conference, to be held next month in Geneva.
- 18 March 1999:
FIET World Congress -- click here. Special website of the international trade secretariat for clerical workers, now taking place in Australia.
- 11 March 1999:
CEP (Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada) -- click here. Now on strike against Bell Canada -- check this site for daily updates. [In English and French.]
- 4 March 1999:
CFDT -- click here. One of France's national labour centres, with some three quarters of a million members, but representing far more than that in the workplaces. CFDT's website not only includes domestic issues such as the struggle for a 35 hour week, but also a page of international labour news, with recent reports on Pinochet, the assassination of trade unionists in Colombia, and trade union rights in Turkey. [The site is entirely in French.]
- 25 February 1999:
Workers Online -- click here. The brand-new, online weekly newspaper of the Labour Council of New South Wales (Australia). A very impressive achievement. Also features an email edition to which anyone can subscribe.
- 18 February 1999: No award given this week.
- 11 February 1999:
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions Youth site -- click here. The ICFTU represents over 125 million workers -- many of them young. This is their new website. (The site is also available in French and Spanish.)
- 4 February 1999:
Washington Alliance of Technology Workers -- http://www.washtech.org/. They're trying to organize workers at Microsoft. And succeeding. A first class website aimed at hi-tech workers.
- 28 January 1999:
Communication Workers of America -- http://www.cwa-union.org/. Whether it's daily updates on strikes and lockouts, or an online campaign to pressure Congress to not oust the President, the CWA's website is up-to-date, activist and interactive. In fact, the only thing we see that's wrong with it is that there's no link to LabourStart . . .
- 21 January 1999: No award given this week.
- 14 January 1999: No award given this week.
- 7 January 1999:
Labor Online -- http://www.laboronline.org/. Website of the first East Coast US conference (to be held next week in New York City) for trade unionists on the subject of the powerful new communications technologies. The website includes conference program and the possibility of registering online. (LabourStart editor Eric Lee will be one of the conference speakers.)