Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tomorrow is Mayday, the premiere event in the labour calender. Molly has blogged quite a bit about this day, both this year and last (see our archives for April and May 2007). This year make sure to check in with the Labour Start website to see what unions across the world are doing this time around. But also- for something totally different- unions in several countries are using this MayDay to launch the 'Union island' is the virtual world of Second Life. Yes, that's right. After the success last year of the "virtual strike" (protest actually) against IBM , using the Second Life platform various union activists are hoping to develop this tool of working class struggle. See the site for more details. now Molly has her doubts about this sort of thing, but maybe she is just old-fashioned. In any case, here is the press release about this project.
Press release: Virtual May Day
1 May 2008 sees the launch of Union Island, an innovative new trade union project to build a home for unions and activists in the virtual world Second Life™.

Union Island will open with a virtual May Day, a day of training, networking and celebration, to bring activists from the global union movement together in a way never before possible.

Events planned for the day include:

*Celebrating May Day with a dance party, hosted by a live DJ from Second Life’s club Fracture.
*Training for activists in how to get more out of Second Life through networking with others and designing their own 3D creations, and how to run better websites for their unions.
*A photo and video exhibition for the DGB’s Mindestlohn campaign for a national minimum wage in Germany. May Day sees the culmination of a exhibition tour of Germany, and German unionists will be on hand at a Second Life replica of the real life touring set, to discuss the tour and campaign online with supporters from around Germany.
*Themed surgeries for union organisers in Union Island’s virtual bar, swapping practical tips from around the world over a pint of virtual beer from the UK Workers’ Beer Company.
*Guided gallery tours of “5 Photographers”, a virtual art exhibition of 20th century New York photography, presented by American arts group Labour Arts Inc.

Union Island plans to use Second Life to create a community for unionists, which will let activists from around the world meet and work together on shared issues in the global economy. The project also aims to use the virtual world to present union campaigns to a new audience, and enable a new generation of online activists to have more input into union activities.

TUC Deputy General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: ”Trade unions are all about people working together to improve things for themselves and others, and internet networks offer a powerful and cost-effective way for us to forge new links. As more businesses embrace virtual worlds such as Second Life to foster international networking and collaboration, it will be natural to find unions there too.”

UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings said: “UNI Global Union’s member unions around the world are constantly innovating, to show their relevance to today’s members and tomorrow’s potential members.”
*Second Life is an interactive 3D environment used by millions of people around the world (as well as thousands of companies and organisations) to chat, network, create, conduct business or play games.
*Union Island is a joint project of the TUC, UNI Global Union and the New Unionism Network, supported by unions from the UK, Germany and Italy.
*You can find a full programme of events for virtual May Day, as well as more information on the project and a direct link to Union Island at
*Contact for further information: instant message to Unionisland Republic (Union Island spokesperson in Second Life)

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