A Report, Some Plans and a Plea
by Bill Onasch, webmaster, kclabor.org
For those of you not familiar with us let me first say a few words about the KC Labor web site. We set out in March, 2000 to provide an "Internet port-of-entry for working people." This has included:
•Nearly two dozen resource pages with hundreds of links on a wide variety of topics of interest to working people
News Digest with links to labor related articles, updated
•Labor Advocate Online, an online magazine of opinion and analysis
•A direct e-mail link for workplace safety and health questions to Mary Erio, PE, CIH, CSP
•A collection of Know Your Rights articles by Kansas City labor attorney Doug Bonney
•A page to assist unorganized workers searching for an appropriate union
•An events calendar
We have also provided, at no charge, web space to the Kansas City Labor Party and Kansas City Labor Against the War.
We now typically get about 45,000 hits a month. We’ve recorded visitors from at least 29 different countries. Canadians are our top international guests making up about five percent of all visits.
We consider ourselves as part of the broader labor movement–not a commercial venture. We decided early on that we would never charge for content. All of the labor going into our site, including that of Mary Erio, Doug Bonney, and those submitting articles, as well as my day-to-day work as webmaster, has been strictly volunteer effort.
When I took an early retirement a little over a year ago I was determined to expand our perspective. Not only did I now have more time for technical work, and writing projects; I also was now free to travel to cover important labor related events. Since last September I was able to attend and report on:
million-strong March For Women’s Lives in Washington
•The commemoration of the seventieth anniversary of the 1934 Teamsters strike in Minneapolis
•The National Labor Assembly for Peace in Chicago
•Two meetings of the Labor Party Interim National Council (INC) in Washington
•The Meeting the Challenge Conference in St Paul
•Labor Party Midwest Health Care Conference in Chicago
•The Socialism 2004 conference in Chicago
There are some important events coming up in the next few months that I would like to cover:
Million Worker March in Washington
•Leadership Meeting of US Labor Against the War, December 4 in Chicago
•A Labor Party INC meeting in Washington December 10
We also have our sights set on launching an Internet radio edition of KC Labor.
These projects will mean some additional effort but we think they are important as we go into a post-election period of great challenges for working people.
Unfortunately, our perspective requires more than just our voluntary labor power. It also takes money.
Just to keep the site ticking over has taken a significant investment in hardware and software as well as monthly fees for web hosting and a broadband connection. Any travel expenses, and the radio project, will exceed our existing bare-bones budget.
We can’t go with a budget deficit for any extended period. We don’t have any corporate angels or foundation grants. We get no union dues money. And the webmaster has no personal income sources on the horizon beyond a modest Social Security check
Realistically, our only potential for raising needed additional funds is the generosity of our supporters. That brings us to the above mentioned plea.
How can you help?
Some of you have provided accommodations in your home during past trips. If you can again do that it would be much appreciated. That solves a good chunk–though far from all–of the travel expenses.
If you sometimes buy books, music, videos, Fair Trade coffee, for example, doing so through our KC Labor Store shopping links can be a relatively painless way of support.
Modest one-time cash donations can be easily made through our PayPal link
Best of all would be becoming one of our Sawbuck Club supporters, using a special PayPal link to authorize a ten dollar sustainer payment every month.
Whether or not you can help out financially we would welcome any comments about our site and, especially, our projected new plans.
Regards to all,