April 26, 2000
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RTMARK DECLARES MAY 1 AN AMERICAN HOLIDAY
May 2 elsewhere; holiday to protest corporate erosion of leisure
Mayday info, Phone In Sick Day press, Codrescu clips:
Decadent Action: www.underbelly.demon.co.uk/decadent;
RTMark, a U.S.-based corporation whose "bottom line" is cultural
profit, has acquired the three-year-old Phone In Sick Day from the
Europe-based Decadent Action group.
The holiday comes with an impressive track record: it was considered
responsible for the "sickouts" of 2000 British Airways employees in
1997, and of thousands of Irish policemen in 1998.
Until this year, Phone In Sick Day was observed on April 6, the start
of the U.K. financial year. At the urging of its largest investors,
RTMark has moved the date to May 1 (May 2 outside the U.S. and
Canada) for three important reasons:
1. To bring an important American holiday back home.
Mayday commemorates ten Americans who lost their lives fighting for
the eight-hour day, and their sacrifice has been celebrated since
1889 nearly everywhere in the world except America. As the U.S. is
RTMark's primary market, RTMark wishes to help rectify this
imbalance. (See rtmark.com/mayday.html for more history.)
2. To call attention to the loss of the eight-hour day and other
quality-of-life indices in America.
Mayday heralds the approach of summer, a time that still means
"vacation" to those in most First-World nations. But substantial
vacations, like the eight-hour day, have passed into American
leisure history. While the average number of hours worked per year has gone down throughout the First World, it has gone up in America, with Americans now working six weeks more per year than they did in 1973 to achieve the same standard of living. Phoning in sick en masse will function as a "mayday" distress call by increasingly harried Americans. (Visit rtmark.com/sickday.html to see Andrei Codrescu explain this most eloquently.)
3. To call attention to the dwindling quality of life everywhere.
The erosion of leisure is no longer limited to America. As European
countries are increasingly forced to dismantle social programs and
adopt American-style measures to benefit corporate health, we can be
sure that they will all go the way of the United States: two-month
vacations will shrink to two weeks, maternity leave will go from six
months to five days, etc. Therefore RTMark encourages Europeans, and other First Worlders for whom May 1 is already a holiday, to
phone in sick on May 2. (In the Third World, of course, the effects
of neoliberalism are unspeakably worse than a mere erosion of
leisure; it would be tasteless to suggest that phoning in sick might
accomplish anything there.)
RTMark's primary goal is to publicize corporate attacks on the
public welfare. To this end it acts as a clearinghouse for anti-corporate sabotage projects. RTMark's Phone In Sick Day takeover bid
was accepted by Decadent Action in part because of RTMark's greater
rights as a U.S. corporation, which permits it to pursue profit with
fewer legal hindrances than anywhere else. As Decadent Action
spokesperson Kitty Banks says, "We are pleased with the handover to
RTMark, who are in a better legal and geographical position to take
the event to a global audience."