Thursday, August 28, 2008

Free Web Hosting Service

From the good folks at New Unionism:

Free web pages for developing countries
... and by donation for everyone else. The New Unionism Network is offering free web pages for unions in the world's 50 poorest countries (see
list). This is an added feature in the global union directory: Unions from other countries can have pages too, however we ask for a donation to cover costs. The pages can include RSS feeds and streaming video, as well as all the usual stuff. To find out what's involved see:

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Ever LabourStart Photo Contest Underway

2008 marks the first (of many we hope) LabourStart Labour Photo of the Year Contest.

The worldwide popularity of the Trade Unions group on suggests that there are a lot of talented picket line and workplace photographers out there. LabourStart would like to both encourage and recognize those talents.

First prize is a two year Pro account on Runners-up shall receive a one year Pro account. The top three photos will be featured on LabourStart and announced to the 54,000 trade unionists on our mailing list. They will also be displayed in the art gallery on the union island in Second Life.

In addition, LabourStart will work to place the winning photos with labour publications (online and paper) worldwide. And of course it will be featured on LabourStart as our Photo of the Week.

This is a judged and voted competition.

First, photos entered in the contest will be posted on Flickr. Public comments on the photos will be welcomed. A panel of three distinguished trade union photogs will select the finalists.

The winners will then be selected by a vote open to anyone on the LabourStart mailing list. If you've participated in our Labour Website of the Year contest then you know how this works.

Panel: David Bacon, Gretchen Donart, Mac Urata.


1. You may only submit your own work.

2. Only one photograph per entrant.

3. Photos should be, very broadly, of union members in action. At work, in struggle...surprise us! They must have a caption explaining the image.

4. When posting your photo on Flickr you should understand that you are allowing LabourStart to use your photo for contest purposes and to publicize the contest.

5. Entrants may be required to disclose to LabourStart their contact information, including their real names, in order to be qualified. This information will be kept strictly confidential if requested.

6. Photos must be entered via Flickr. If you do not already have an account you can register at no cost at Once on Flickr you can upload your photos to your account. Then join the group you can find here: . Then, when you view the photo you want to enter in the contest click on the 'send to group' button along the top of your image. A list of the groups you are a member of while appear. Click on 'Labour Photo of the Year' and you will have entered!

It's simpler than it sounds, really. And we're not getting anything from Flickr for using them, we just think the contest, in addition to recognizing all that photographic talent out there, is a great way to build the Unions group already established there.

Photos must be in place on Flickr by midnight (CUT) on 22 September 2008 to be considered. Voting will start as soon as the judges have selected the finalists.

Contact meat with any questions, including help in setting-up a Flickr account or in uploading and entering photos

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Shiva Kheirabadi - sentenced to 4 months imprisonment and 15 lashes for attending a Mayday rally.

Sousan Razani - sentenced to 9 months imprisonment and 70 lashes for attending a Mayday rally.

Here I Was Thinking It Couldn't Get Worse

Sousan Razani and Shiva Kheirabadi were sentenced to 70 lashes and 9 months in prison and 15 lashes and four months in prison respectively.

For attending a Mayday rally.

I am not often this speechless.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Unionists Being Flogged and Executed in Iran

From LabourStart today:

Repression against labour activists in Iran is intensifying. In recent weeks, there have been numerous cases of arrests and jailings. Most shocking perhaps was the sentencing of two women labour activists (Sousan Razani and Shiva Kheirabadi) to 15 lashes and four months in prison -- for the "crime" of participating in a May Day celebration.

Additional cases which concern us include:
Mr. Abdullah Khani, 40 lashes and 91 days in prison
Mr. Seyed Qaleb Hosseini, 50 lashes and 6 months in prison
Mr. Khaled Hosseini, 30 lashes and suspended prison sentence
Mr. Farzad Kamangar, a Kurdish teacher, sentenced to death
Mr. Afshin Shams, arrested
Mr. Mansour Osanloo, leader of Tehran's bus workers, in prison since July 2007.

Go here to help:

It Doesn't Get Any More Blatent Than This

After attempting to behead the Korean labour movement, the government there just announced an amnesty for 74 'business criminals', people convicted of everything from tax evasion and fraud through to kidnapping (in the business competition sense...err...).

Why, we may well ask?

Well, because their expertise is needed, says President Lee Myung-bak, to help get the economy going and create jobs.

One such is Hyundai Motor's Chung Mong-Koo, convicted of embezzeling roughly $100 million CAD.

Oh, and there's another reason for the amnesty: to help celebrate the anniversary of Korea's independence from Japan.

Wait a Minute!

A one-minute strike?

Alitalia workers, all concerned about the Italian government's plans to sell-off the flag carrier, are planning a symbolic one-minute strike for September.

A sign of weakness or of some creative thinking? I think the latter. A warning shot and an apprently pretty effective way of attracting public attention to what the loons in the Berlusconi administration (not that the previous centre-left government was much better in this regard) have planned for the airline.

Read more about it here:

Dog Days of August? Apparently Not

While the rest of us, in the northern hemisphere anyway, are slacking-off, taking vacation or getting caught-up while those around us do, the Korean government seems committed to beheading the labour movement there.

The KCTU has asked for international assistance and LabourStart is running an e-mail campaign at its request at:

Turkey isn't far behind and seems to have singled out one woman trade union leader for special attention. Meryem Özsögüt has not only been arrested but is being kept in one of the country's more unpleasant jails. Join the solidarity campaign at:

Why am I here?

Well, what with Facebook giving me the boot for a second time, what else am I going to do with that fuzzy hour in the early morning before the coffee kicks in?

Here you'll find random thoughts on the Canadian and international labour movement(s) and, especially, on their use and misuse of the internet.

Some of the postings will have appeared elsewhere, but in all cases I 'own' the material. Feel free to use it elsewhere, so long as it isn't modified and as long as my authorship is attributed to it.

Look for more of my musings at

If you object to anything here, contact John Wood at the TUC in the UK as it was his idea that I do this and his encouragement that made me think it worthwhile.