Striking for Dummies: How to skip work to join Occupy Wall Street’s May 1 General Strike
On May 1 (May Day), or the International Worker’s Day holiday, Occupy Wall Street will stage a general strike. Oddly, though, union workers suffer under the yolk of a piece of 1947 GOP legislation called the Taft-Hartley Act, which requires unions to give 60 days notice for any strike action, and bans a variety of actions like the general strike.
However, as we saw wtih Wisconsin’s Scott Walker protests last year, many schoolteachers took a personal day or called in sick, so there are ways around Taft-Hartley. This, of course, doesn’t cover non-union workers who might be sympathetic to the May 1 General Strike, but are worried that showing solidarity will imperil their job.
And so I present to you a list of methods for union and non-union workers to skip work and join the strike and protest actions on May 1. Some are serious, some less so. If none seem to work, then the hope is that they’ll get you thinking creatively.
Be sure to start laying the groundwork in the next few days—some of these will take some prep work prior to May 1. And if you don’t plan to strike, at least have some fun reading the get-out-of-work tactics.
1. Schedule a physical exam: No one will question a medical check-up. And what’s best with this scenario is that you simultaneously tend to your health and that of this country’s economy. It’s multi-tasking at its finest. To reassure your boss, jokingly say, “Want a Doctor’s note?”
2. Walpurgis Night and Beltane: In this scenario, you claim that your religion observes a May 1 holiday. If asked what the religion is (which would probably be illegal anyway), reply, “Neo-pagan. I’m Celtic on my mother’s side and German on my father’s. It’s a religious observance.” Since there’s freedom of religion, no one can fire you without violating your First Amendment rights.
After you leave the General Strike, do head over to the nearest Walpurgis Night and Beltane celebrations and have some fun. They typically feature huge bonfires and revelry, sort of like Burning Man Festival. Be sure to take some photos.
3. Christian Feast Day: More proof that religion can be useful for something. This works for both the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches alike. Simply tell your boss or supervisor that you must observe Christian Feast Day.
4. International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day: Tell your boss that you’re participating in the International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day and you’ll likely get an odd look, but if you tell them it’s about dropping Sunflower seeds all around your neighborhood for aesthetic purposes, maybe they’ll be sympathetic. Then again, they’ll probably think you’re crazy.
5. Use a personal day: If your job provides paid personal days, partake. Personal days can be used for a child’s illness or just a break (as with public school teachers), amongst other things.
6. Schedule a vacation: If you have some vacation days, schedule your vacation’s last or first day on May 1.
7. The Ferris Bueller: This is a variation on Ferris Bueller’s tactic for getting Sloan out of school. Enlist a friend to call your place of work with news of a friend’s death or ill health. Be sure to call the supervisor or boss’s number and sound very concerned. Also, rehearse.
8. Jury Duty: No one will argue with a jury summons.
9. You’re moving into a new apartment: This might not work well if you’re particularly friendly with your co-workers, who will know about your personal life, but if you aren’t, tell your boss you need the day off to move into a new apartment. This tactic will have all the appearances of legitimacy because apartment move-ins nearly always fall on the first of the month. May 1!
10. Updating your last will and testament: Tell your boss that you need to see your lawyer to either draft or make changes to your last will and testament. This isn’t something one does on the weekend, so you’re boss will be none the wiser.
11. You’ve gotten a callback for a reality TV show role: This one is ballsy, but your boss will likely be more interested in the reason for the day off than the day off itself. It’s classic legerdemain. That is, this tactic observes a major rule of the illusionist’s stagecraft: show them one thing while you do another.
12. First ultrasound: Another risky tactic. However, you needn’t say that you are 100% pregnant. Simply say that you think you might be pregnant, and you want to be certain one way or another. The following day, just say, “False alarm.” Cry if you must for added effect.
13. Divorce proceedings: This one would only work if you are relatively new to your job or keep to yourself. Either way, no one will know shit about your romantic life. In fact, this tactic might have the effect of gaining a lot of sympathy. Bring eyedrops, an onion, or use Method Acting tips to facilitate tears. Cry on your boss if necessary.
14. Son or daughter has been expelled, suspended or skipped school: A boss with a child will be sympathetic to this situation. Besides, you are the only person who can pick Bobby or Kathy up from school. If you use the excuse that your child skipped school, you’ll also be getting into a bit of reflexivity that is pretty absurdist. Lulz.
15. Mother and father are throwing poop at the retirement community: Your father and mother needn’t be throwing poop, but they could certainly be causing trouble at the retirement community. This would also work best if co-workers and your boss know little about your personal life. But, if your parents happen to live in such a community, then it will lend some realism to the tactic.
16. ADT or Brinks home security called—the house is being burgled: If you do this one and tell me about it, I will love you forever.
17. Migraine: As a regular migraine sufferer, I can vouch for the condition’s debilitating effects. This would work well for people who already suffer migraines, but also for those who don’t. Here are a few tips. Migraines create crystalline, shimmering lattices and geometric shapes in one’s vision, making it hard to see. They are beautiful but terrible at the same time. Five to ten minutes later comes the vice-grip like headache. Nausea soon follows. No one is going to make you work with a migraine. Just hope that karma doesn’t rear its ugly head and give you the condition.
18. Relative at the airport: A family member from out of state is flying into town and you need to pick them up from the airport and let them in the house or apartment. This would work especially well for those who are a few hours from the city, which means that, logistically, the commute there and back would knock out the entire work day.
19. Puppy’s sick: Nothing is more heart-wrenching than a sick pet. Use this to your advantage by telling the boss that your dog, cat, parakeet, hamster, so forth, is sick and needs to go to the veterinarian’s office. Instant empathy from the suits and no questions asked.
20. Pest Infestation: Any number of pests could work here—rats, mice, termites, fleas, cucarachas, ants, bees, cobra snake, raccoon, skunk, opossum, seagulls, Latter Day Saints, Jehova’s Witness, aphids, bed bugs, carpet beetles, bookworms (or paper louse), squirrels, moles, bats and lice. The boss will likely shiver at the mention of these pests and want you out of the office immediately.