Chicago Jail Employees Can’t Stop Calling In Sick For Major Sporting Events

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Cook County Jailers Playing Hooky

One of the greatest and most oppressive issues we face on a recurring basis is the steadfast refusal of our employers to declare the night of or day after a major sporting event a paid holiday of some sort. Chances are, most people are totally unproductive at work following a night of partying for a big game, especially if one of the teams involved is a hometown team. Even worse are those who have to work during the actual game itself. Nobody wants to experience those levels of FOMO.

That’s the situation workers at the Cook County Jail in Chicago found themselves in on Sunday, which was Father’s Day, Game 7 of the NBA Finals, and overall a gorgeous summer day in the greatest city on Earth. So in order to fully enjoy that glorious day, a few of them decided to call in sick on Sunday. “A few” meaning almost a quarter of the scheduled 1,296 staff workers who were supposed to work during that time.

“While I can’t prove that with certainty, it’s my very strong belief that the call-outs were caused by those events and the beautiful summer day,” Cook County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Cara Smith told the Daily News.

Yeah, Cara, I would say there’s some correlation with the day’s events and having 300 workers decide to all call in sick on the same day. I appreciate the union rushing in to the defense of the staff too, mostly because they’re right. The union fought for their members’ right to use sick time pretty much whenever they want with minimal proof or explanation, so who’s to say they can’t exercise it whenever they please? As a current unionized government employee who has done the same thing for Blackhawks and Cubs playoff games, I fully support this Total Union Move.

Incredibly enough, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened either. In fact, it happens so often at the Cook County Jail that Chicago NBC affiliate WMAQ-TV conducted an investigation about it back in February and found that the jail experiences a significant increase in sick calls on the nights of or mornings after big sporting events, including Super Bowls, NCAA National Championship games, the Kentucky Derby, and more specifically, the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight last summer. This phenomenon also happens on Mother’s Day, which shows that workers are clearly doing this on only the most important days of the year.

As you can imagine, though, having a large swarm of jail workers unexpectedly call off work is a little more problematic than an office of cubicle monkeys playing hooky. Lightened jail security puts the entire community at risk, so the workers who actually bother to show up have to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of both the county’s citizens as well as the few staff members that are there. There’s also the fact that the jail is a government institution and its employees are government employees, so the local news will always report any time this happens, which upsets taxpayers whose taxes go towards paying these people to take off whenever they please. This reinforces the negative perception that government workers are lazy and undeserving of their compensation, and I simply will not stand for that.

But can you really blame these people for calling off work to spend time with their parents on Mother’s and Father’s Day? Or not wanting to miss out on a big event? Especially when their workplace is a jail, I’d have to imagine that’s the last place they want to be during that time. I’m sure the prisoners they’re supposed to guard will agree with that.

[via The New York Daily News]

Image via Shutterstock

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