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Nearly 400 Cook County Jail Workers Call Off, Possibly For Cubs Game

CHICAGO (CBS) -- This is not the first time it happens.

A spokesperson for the Cook County Sheriff's Office says these unusually large amounts of call-offs are taking place during major sporting or weather events, and it's becoming an ongoing problem.

Edna Garcia visited her loved one at the Cook County Jail, a day after more than 370 correctional officers called off, possibly due to Cubs fever, CBS 2's Sandra Torres reports.

"I'm a Cubs fan myself, so I understand the need want to be part of history. But everybody is an adult. We all have responsibilities, and unfortunately we have to sacrifice and need to attend to business," Garcia said.

The sheriff's office said less officers called off today, but insists this is an ongoing problem that needs to be addressed by the union.

"It puts in enormous burden on the hardworking men and women who do come into work and taxpayers because we have to hire overtime to keep jail running," said Cara Smith of the Cook County Sheriff's office.

Smith says the majority of workers are using the family medical leave coverage. "Even if we suspect that someone maybe misusing that benefit, our only recourse is to send it back to the same doctors that certified them. So we have, the federal law is a problem "

And while no issues were reported during the lock-down, jail visitors hope there's a prompt solution.

"Sometimes we don't get our whole visit because they're short on staff," visitor Veronica Morris said.

"Stuff like this shouldn't happen, especially it being a correctional facility," Garcia said.

CBS 2 reached out to Teamster Local, 700 which represents these correctional officers, but was unable to get a hold them. However in the past, they've said "The earned sick time of our members can be used at their discretion."

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