From the TUC

Unions celebrate May Day in virtual world

28 Apr 2008, By

May Day (Thursday 1 May) 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 host the first ever 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 union 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 street party tour of Germany, and German trade 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 the country.
  • Themed surgeries for union organisers in Union Island’s virtual bar, where trade unionists can swap 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 trade 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 coming together to make things better, and online 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.’