SLunionisland Union Island: International unions in Second Life Mon, 25 Jan 2010 16:04:53 +0000 en hourly 1 So long and thanks for all the solidarity Mon, 25 Jan 2010 16:04:53 +0000 Unionisland Republic Some not so great news today I’m afraid. Union Island is vanishing from the SL map.

We’ve had it running for 2 years now and learned a lot from the many excellent people we’ve met inside SL, and the good work many have been doing here. But the coalition style project for Union Island never really came off properly – all the organisations involved were too busy and short of resources to devote enough time to sharing the running of events, or just being in to chat to visitors, and so we’ve taken the decision that it’s better to close down the island than to have an inactive space, which may raise people’s expectations and disappoint.

You’ll still be able to find the union organisations involved on the web:,,,,

There are loads of places to go for continued action in SL, as most of you will probably know: SLLU, Imagine Network, SLDM, Commonwealth Islands, Nonprofit Commons and more. Check them out and give them your support if you can.

Thanks go to all the residents who’ve helped us with the island over these 2 years – a list too long to detail, but without whom, the island would have been less fun, less interactive, less noisy and less beautiful. We’ve had a very interesting time, and many of the people involved are still about as Avies to chat if you want us. Try getting hold of Uniglobalunion Oh, Wotcher Tenk, Johninnit Ni, or Unionisland Republic.

Best wishes and solidarity, virtual-world and real-world.

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Dress codes for virtual workers Tue, 13 Oct 2009 14:41:58 +0000 Johninnit Ni We’re having enough controversy with RL dress codes after a motion to the TUC’s conference called on employers to stop mandating their female staff to wear high heels, even if it might cause them health concerns. But it seems that could be pretty tame now compared to virtual world avatar dress codes!

IT analysts Gartner have predicted (on what evidence I’m not entirely sure) that by 2013, 70% of employers will have dress codes for their staff when in avatar form. This does sound pretty likely I guess. People want to make their avatars into extensions of themselves – possibly as augmentations or fantasies based around their self-image and feelings. As people start to work more and more in virtual worlds, issues of how they represent their (possibly squeamish) employer with clients are likely to arise.

I remember several tech firms making people turn down more unusual avatars whilst at work years ago, but there are going to be issues when people feel comfortable online in a certain way, potentially happier, liberated and more natural – will the company that insists on a grey suit and flexi-prim tie be helping employees feel as confident and connected to their work as they might by giving their employees the leeway?

Have you been told to take off the spacesuit in meetings, keep the Gor gear to the back office, or even just to turn down the bling on your Blackberry?

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Get ready for the Imagine Festival Thu, 08 Oct 2009 10:36:22 +0000 Unionisland Republic Tomorrow (Friday 9 October 2009) sees the start of another three day music and message extravaganza, from the very talented folks who brought you The Rings and SL HRF. The Imagine Festival will be spread over three locations, and will feature art installations, gigs and performances, and talks and discussions, anticipating a peaceful, fairer and more sustainable world.

One of the highlights will see Yoko Ono join the festival in to unveil a virtual version of Iceland’s Imagine Tower, in an RL/SL linkup with Iceland. But with events round the clock, it should be a great event, whenever you’re able to dip in.

Check out the opening event tomorrow 10am SLT at Four Bridges:

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SL Earth Week is coming! Mon, 06 Apr 2009 10:30:58 +0000 Johninnit Ni

A nicely made machinima trailer for Second Life’s Earth Week celebrations. Co-ordinated by a network of SL activists, 18th April to 25th April will see a programme of events, discussions, concerts, happening right across SL and right across timezones, but all aimed at raising awareness of environmental issues amongst Second Life users. Check out the organisers’ site at

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My Activist Second Life Mon, 02 Mar 2009 08:58:56 +0000 Johninnit Ni Plot Tracer of Second Life Left Unity has an article up at Red Pepper, a UK left politics and current affairs magazine, arguing for left activists to get more closely involved with new media tools and services as new channels for political activity.

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HRF slideshow Tue, 10 Feb 2009 22:26:32 +0000 Unionisland Republic For those who missed it – or those who want to remember some of the highlights, Human Rights Festival organiser Medora Chevalier has put together a slideshow of events and sims that took part in last December’s Second Life festival to mark the anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Check it out now.

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Virtual politics – Obama team reaches out to SL Wed, 14 Jan 2009 16:20:08 +0000 Johninnit Ni

Another great video from Draxtor Despres on civil society and virtual society. This machinima focuses on US President Elect Barack Obama’s transition team on healthcare, consulting with a wider audience on healthcare proposals with American SL residents, and how the huge volunteer effort behind Obama’s web presence is extended online.

Peter Mandelson

And in the UK, look out for trade and industry minister Peter Mandelson appearing in SL next month, to launch a new group blog and new media strategy for the UK Labour Party. Wonder if he’ll come by Union Island to talk industry policy with us – he’s always very welcome!   ;)

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Human Rights Network – new year, new beginnings Fri, 09 Jan 2009 13:40:16 +0000 Johninnit Ni Human Rights group meeting

I attended a follow up meeting last night for the SL Human Rights Festival, held last December to mark the 60th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights. It was nice to meet a bunch of really great individuals, with a lot of performing and organising talent, as well as a solid commitment to further work on promoting human rights in the medium of SL.

Human Rights group meeting

And that’s just what they’re planning. The festival generated so much enthusiasm that the group have decided to keep it going – helping use their talents and networks to bring together the many disparate human rights projects and groups already taking place in Second Life throughout the year, and coming together several times a year for bigger, more co-ordinated events.

Human Rights group meeting

Here’s some more information from their site if you’d like to come to the next meeting, or get involved in this great initiative in other ways.

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Big Rights Debate on Union Island Wed, 17 Dec 2008 16:41:32 +0000 Johninnit Ni snapshot_005.jpg

Thanks to everyone who came to our event for SL’s Human Rights Festival on Monday. We had an ambitious plan to link senior international unionists in Brussels, Geneva and London, and it nearly worked!

We had two great presentations from Philip Jennings, General Secretary of UNI Global Union, and Owen Tudor, Head of International for the TUC, and brought in Zuzanna Gorska, Polish federation Solidarnosc’s (Solidarity) member of the ITUC Human Rights Excecutive for a discussion afterwards.

Here’s a log of the questions to the panel that we took after the presentations (which were in voice):


[8:20]  Zuzanna Strazytski: So, hello, my name is Zuzanna, I work for Solidarnosc, the polish trade union
[8:21]  Zuzanna Strazytski: how about discussing a bit universal human rights from trade union perspective:)
[8:24]  Zuzanna Strazytski: i think solidarnosc has to reconsider its role and find the way back to the times when it was talking about workers rights not only in tradetional workplace context – ans perhaps that is why wwe all are here :)
[8:25]  Zuzanna Strazytski: because workers rights are human rights and human rights cannot be efficiently protected without solving workplace problems
[8:27]  Zuzanna Strazytski: ok, does anybody have any questions? or does anybody else want to talk ? :)
[8:29]  Monarchy Republic: how did Lech Walesa build the grassroots to gain support?
[8:29]  johninnit Ni: Thanks Monarchy
[8:29]  Amandeep Timeless: How can we introduce an environmental and working conditions index for all products? How can we give consumers power to choose to support environmental and humane working conditions? crazy proposition: LEWCI – Legacy Environmental Working Conditions Iindex
[8:29]  johninnit Ni: Zuzanna, are you able to answer that for us please?
[8:29]  Zuzanna Strazytski: :)
[8:31]  Zuzanna Strazytski: lech walesa and solidarnosc “success” – i think the key isseue was solidarity between workes of different sectors – some more powerful – who did not give up after gaining their goles – but were fighting for the weaker ones. and this has a symbolic meaning i think. solidarity is not ethical postulate. its a strategy that works
[8:32]  H3 Turbo: do you operate a open forum or have a sand box here in SL for all 20 million members to openly and publicly, maybe even annonomously, conect and voice issues
[8:32]  johninnit Ni: one for me I think
[8:32]  johninnit Ni: we do – sort of. this is still a young project, and only a section of unions from around the world are involved, but we have got plans for this kind of thing.
[8:33]  johninnit Ni: SL has a double digital divide for activism, you need first to explain what the medium is
[8:33]  H3 Turbo: 20 miliion members and you consider your orginization young?
[8:33]  johninnit Ni: before you can explain what you’re doing in it
[8:34]  johninnit Ni: no – the island here is 9 months
[8:34]  johninnit Ni: so we have training sessions for members and activists a sandbox, introductions and so on
[8:34]  Monarchy Republic: :)
[8:35]  johninnit Ni: but it’s very difficult to keep up on capacity, and we’re always after help (hint)


[8:35]  OwenT Turbo: To answer Ammandeep’s question, there are many tools consumers can use to buy ethical products – the well known Fair Trade logo means producers get a fairer wage – the Ethical Trading Initiative which the TUC supports encourages companies to improve working conditions and so on. But the best way to support trade union rights is to build trade unions, here and abroad – a donation to TUC Aid would help us do that in other countries! See
[8:35]  Monarchy Republic: it took the whole the Industrialrevolutionand TwoWorlds Wars to get anywhere last time
[8:35]  H3 Turbo: auto clear sand box…………after a day or so….is pretty simple
[8:36]  H3 Turbo: did we get anywhere?
[8:36]  Monarchy Republic: yes
[8:36]  johninnit Ni: you’ll find the sandbox behind the bar. it’s group user only, so you need to join union island user group,  which you’re very welcome to!
[8:36]  H3 Turbo: is group membership open?
[8:36]  johninnit Ni: yes
[8:36]  johninnit Ni: Junivers has a question from a question from Philip’s presentation – How come that woman still are so underpaid?
[8:37]  Carlo Sixpence: how to join?
[8:37]  johninnit Ni: Union Island User Group in search

[8:37]  OwenT Turbo: Women are still so underpiad partly because unions have not been able to secure sufficient legal protections, but we also have to admit that sometimes male leaderships don’t adequately reflect what women workers want. So we need to make sure more women are in the leaderships of unions, and that union leaders do more to represent ALL their members. But the main fault lies with the employers who refuse to pay women what they pay men!
[8:38]  Carlo Sixpence: thanks, johnninnit
[8:38]  pjennings Offcourse: UNI has projects in 70 countries to build trade unions. The key for us is to train women trade unionists. Union leadership is still too male dominated. Even if the HR declaration mentions equal pay it is far from being achieved in practice

[UNI GS Philip Jennings presenting on Union Island]

[8:38]  pjennings Offcourse: Why ? companies abuse, absence of collective agreement, fear of reprisals, when a women compains about unfairness. government not applying the law correctly [8:38]  johninnit Ni: 2 answers for the price of one
[8:39]  johninnit Ni: okay – has anyone else got questions they’d like to ask, or points to make?
[8:39]  Carlo Sixpence: EUROCADRES has a project based on “Female leadership”
[8:40]  Gorgeous Thespian: yes please, is there anything Polish trade unions are doing to for example stop homophobia?
[8:40]  Zuzanna Strazytski: also, still women’s discrimination in the workplace is reflected by insufficient political representation. not very original to say but still important i hope
[8:40]  pjennings Offcourse: Yes. UNI fights discrimination in all its forms.
[8:41]  OwenT Turbo: On homophobia, the Polish union confederations recently signed up to an all-Europe condemnation of politicians in Eastern Europe (it’s not just Poland) stirring up homophobia.
[8:41]  Gorgeous Thespian: any particular actions?
[8:42]  Monarchy Republic: divide and rule in any language
[8:42]  OwenT Turbo: The Polish unions are also part of a general Europe-wide move for LGBT rights, and will hopefully be involved in the Workers Out celebration and conference next year in Denmark.
[8:42]  Carlo Sixpence: it should be supported the depenalization of homosexuality
[8:43]  Zuzanna Strazytski: in poland still religion plays a political role and thats why so many homophobic argument coming sadly from poland but this is not represenative for the society.
[8:43]  Monarchy Republic: Catholism :)
[8:44]  johninnit Ni: Well, We need to wrap this up for our guests
[8:44]  johninnit Ni: thanks for questions.  though if anyone has a final point to make we still have time
[8:44]  Gorgeous Thespian: so does in Spain, but funny enough homophobia as raised as a result of gay marriage laws
[8:44]  OwenT Turbo: Sadly, no particular faith has a monopoly on homophobia.
[8:45]  Carlo Sixpence: Owen is right
[8:45]  Monarchy Republic: but keep faith in Human Rights in all spheres:)
[8:48]  junivers Stockholm: THX a lot Johninnit and UNI representers
[8:48]  Amandeep Timeless: thaks
[8:48]  Hazel Finney: thanx guys x
[8:48]  Amandeep Timeless: *n
[8:48]  OwenT Turbo: Bye!
[8:48]  Carlo Sixpence: thanks for organizing this event
[8:48]  Carlo Sixpence: bye
[8:48]  Zuzanna Strazytski: :)
[8:49]  Monarchy Republic: thank you everyone …good luck..have fun:)

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The Big Rights Debate – Union Island, Monday 15 Dec Fri, 12 Dec 2008 15:01:52 +0000 Johninnit Ni Discuss globalisation, human rights and labour rights with Philip Jennings (UNI Global Union GS), Zuzanna Gorska (Solidarnosc) and Owen Tudor (TUC).

Union Island is taking part in a huge, six day Second Life Human Rights Festival, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Some of Second Life’s leading musicians are coming together with human rights activists and organisations to stage dozens of special events, raising awareness, forming international links and having fun.

We’ve got our own special event on Union Island on 15 December at 8am SLT (4pm GMT, 5pm CET), when we’re delighted we’ll be discussing labour rights and human rights, with Philip Jennings, the General Secretary of UNI Global Union (the Switzerland-based global union federation for business services, representing over 20 million union members all around the world), Zuzanna Gorska, socio-political issues expert for Solidarnosc (The famous Polish union federation, Solidarity), Owen Tudor, Head of International Relations from the TUC (UK national union federation) and other unionists from countries all over the world.

From the adverse effects of globalisation to state repression of basic freedoms that many take for granted, there are a whole raft of issues where strong international action by unions and grassroots groups can make a real difference. Come and hear from our distinguished panel, have your own say on the issues, and meet our vibrant international user community.

For more information on the virtual world of Second Life and how to access it (via a free software download), visit

And for more information on what trade unions are doing in Second Life, see

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