1) for Communications
2) for UnionWiki
The aim of the website, blog, FaceBook pages, Twitter feed and "Work in Progress" newsletter etc are to build engagement and knowledge around the network's four key principles (see below). You'll find the blog here. The Twitter feed is here. The FaceBook page is here and the website homepage is here.
We receive a large amount of material for publication. Some of it is brilliant, some of it is just commercially motivated, and some of it is... err... idiosyncratically strident or just plain whacky. Trying to negotiate this stream of texts and ideas and exhortations has led to some needlessly unpleasant discussions for our volunteers. Because of this, we've developed the following criteria and guidelines to focus your contributions and to avoid daft arguments.
• Eligibility: This network will only publish submissions from members. If you're interested in joining, see www.newunionism.net/join.htm. Sometimes members also post interviews and book reviews, or (in exceptional cases) articles that they have obtained the rights to republish. In all cases, the submissions should be in keeping with our principles.
• Word limit: The Internet is permissive in this respect, but our experience suggests you'll get the best audience if your piece is somewhere between 800 and 3,000 words.
• Timeframe: The newsletter comes out every two months or so, but this can vary hugely depending on the number of submissions we receive. If YOU have a timeframe in mind, please let us know, and allow plenty of time for editing and discussion.
• Editing: Sometimes your work may be edited. If this is not acceptable, please say so in advance. Our intention is to help our readers, not to mess with your work! We will always explain and ask for your approval before we publish anything in a changed form.
• References: Where you cite statistics or quotations, please provide links to an online source for verification. If this is not possible, paper-based sources may also be cited.
• The majority of our audience are union organisers and activists. Many of them speak English as a second language. Please keep your language simple, straightforward and direct. A friendly, conversational style also attracts a wider audience.
• We are not a megaphone or a marketing tool for those who wish to proselytise. Do not use us to promote your consultancy services. We are trying to build solidarity around 4 key principles (see below). If you believe you have a straighter, faster path, then by all means set up another network to promote it.
• Network members have agreed on four key principles: workplace democracy, organizing, internationalism and creativity (more). The work we publish should be in keeping with this conversation. If none of the principles are relevant to what you are saying, then we respectfully suggest you seek publication elsewhere. Where the priciples are relevant, please make this fact clear and explicit.
• It is not necessary to knock down other members' argument in order to promote your own. We're not a debating circle. However, if you wish to discuss an issue with another member, we'll gladly contact him/her and encourage 'direct dealing'.
It's not fair to expect the network to act as a conduit for direct criticism of specific unions, union federations, and/or other sections of the labour movement. The same applies to eulogies and self-promotion. These may or may not be warranted — we're not in a positon to know. Please raise your issues generally, so that the network can remain a hub for constructive dialogue, rather than a vehicle for alpha egos, service advertisement, flame wars or bun fights!
Your discussion needs to be relevant in some way to people from other countries. This means always seeking a broad perspective. Remember, what you perceive as a breach of rights in your country may seem very liberal by other members' standards! Similarly, your hardest won victory may seem oddly trivial to those in other countries. One way around this is to write the piece as a discussion of what the labour movements could learn from your organizing experience.
No advertorials or ideologistics
• This network exists for workers and their unions. An organised labour perspective needs to be central to your work (as opposed to, say, a corporatist "social partnership" line, or a Comintern one, or a spiritual path, or a productivity-centered discussion).
• Your ideas need to be grounded in evidence (facts and experience), rather than just postures and assertions. In keeping with this, we also ask you to declare any vested interests, affiliations, relevant political and/or employment influences so that readers know where you are coming from.
• Material that is clearly linked to commercial gain will not be published. You are most welcome to share your inspirations, but this is not the place for brand promotion. (Have we made this point often enough yet?).
Copyright and the right of reply
• We wish to acknowledge your authorship. We also agree to remove any item later on, at your request, unless it is not within our power to do so.
• We allow fair and open criticism of all work published (through online comments). Some of this you may not appreciate. If you feel you have been attacked in a personal manner, or that your work is being/has been belittled in an offensive manner, please let us know immediately. If your complaint is reasonable then the comment(s) will be removed.
• We encourage direct dealing at all times. If another member wishes to discuss your work, we will ask you for permission to provide your email address to them.
UnionWiki global union directory -- guidelines
Our team of national editors has built the world's largest database of unions. Much of their work is available online here. As you can imagine, we get the odd(!) email demanding that we include/exclude certain bodies. In order to keep things transparent we have developed the following criteria. Such parameters are also necessary in order to keep the database within a manageable size.
A note to national editors:
You are welcome to add details for any and every union you find, although we would ask you to apply the 'more than 200 members' rule. These criteria can be applied afterwards, so that some unions you add are in the database, but not displayed in the directory. If need be, we are happy to develop a customised interface for you.
1) Single employer unions
We do not include single-employer unions unless they have more than 1,000 paid-up members AND are known to be independent of the employer.
2) National unions
We include all unions which cover workers nationally and have over 200 paid-up members. Smaller unions can be added to the database (this is up to the national editor), but will not normally appear in the UnionWiki directory.
3) Locals, city-based and state-based unions
We do not include sub-national unions (eg Mumbai, London or Texas) unless they have over 5,000 paid up members.
We exclude all 'locals' except those that have a developed identity (naming, website) outside of their national federation AND have more than 5,000 members.
4) Union federations
We include all federations of unions (national, regional and international), irrespective of debates about their independence.
5) Membership numbers
We exclude all unions with less than 200 paid up members, unless national circumstances warrant including them (eg in countries where the movement is yet to gain an established presence). We include any union with over 10,000 paid up members, irrespective of any of the criteria above.
6) Discretion of national editors
Where union membership numbers cannot be found, or where they cannot be verified from an online source, the national editor has full discretion over whether a union is included in the directory. Any other criteria above can also be varied by the national editors if particular national circumstances warrant this.
7) Sectoral classification
We have used the United Nations' International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC Rev.4) to group unions sectorally. As we only tag by the ISIC top level, we have extended the naming of some categories. For full details and to search for classifications, see here.