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AFSCME Local 448, a union representing State of Illinois employees and workers in Northwestern Illinois.
AFSCME Local 448 . . . Northwestern Illinois State Employees

AFSCME Local 448 . . . Proudly Representing Over 600 Workers in the Illinois Counties of Boone, Bureau, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago

Get To Know Your Contract: Affirmative Attendance Policy

Each month in this segment I would like to bring your attention to one or two sections of the contract. I hope this will make everyone a little more familiar with our contract and where to find things. If you would like me to discuss a specific Article or have questions about specific items let me know. Send your questions to Alice Sutherland at

This month let’s take a look at the Affirmative Attendance Policy which begins on page 243 of the Master Contract.


1. The Employer recognizes that personal problems may affect employee attendance and encourages utilization of the Personal Support Program.


2. Unauthorized absences shall be those absences for which time is not approved. The threshold between late arrival and unauthorized absence is one hour after the starting time. Although tardiness is not considered an unauthorized absence under this agreement, employees are expected to report to work on time each day as scheduled. Any negotiated tardiness policies shall remain in full force and effect during the life of the Master Agreement unless otherwise negotiated by the parties.

Where current practices exist, any unauthorized absence which is less than a ½ day will be treated under Article IX of the Master Contract as misuse of time inclusive of all other time related infractions (including late arrival, extended breaks and lunch hours, leaving work without authorization, etc.) as one progressive and corrective disciplinary track. However, such absences shall not be subject to #8 of this agreement.

3. Authorized dock time shall be granted when sick time has been exhausted if proper medical certification is provided within three (3) work days. It is the employee’s responsibility to provide medical certification to their supervisor. Documents that do not contain the necessary elements will not be accepted and the employee will be so notified. The absences shall be considered unauthorized if acceptable certification is not subsequently provided within five (5) work days.


Proper medical certification must contain the following elements:

a) Signature, address, and phone number of the medical practitioner (or the authorized designee);
b) The pertinent dates in question of the illness or injury;
c) An Indication that the employee was unable to work on the date(s) in question for the reasons of personal or family illness;
d) The original medical statement; if the employee needs a copy management will provide.


Notwithstanding the above, the Employer may accept an electronically generated statement with an electronic signature or a facsimile with cover page, as long as the necessary information is provided as set forth in 3(a), (b), (c) and (d).

Vacation, holiday, compensatory and personal business time shall be requested in advance, except in emergency situations and as set forth in Paragraph #5. If no personal business, vacation, holiday or compensatory time is available, authorized dock time shall be approved for emergency situations, subject to verification of the emergency situation.

What does this mean? Basically, an absence cannot be approved if you do not have leave time to cover it. And unless department policies differ you have 1 hour from the start of your shift to call in. The time between 1 hour after the start of your shift and the time you call in is considered unauthorized, even if you have leave time to cover it.
Watch the March newsletter for more on this topic.


Respect Our Work! Respect Our Rights!

Negotiations for a new State of Illinois Master Agreement officially got underway on January 10, 11, and 12 with a bargaining session in Champaign. The AFSCME Bargaining Committee had presented the Union’s proposals at a statewide labor-management meeting in December; On January 11th, the Employer brought its proposals to the table, emphasizing that their goal is to address the dire understaffing crisis in state government.

Unfortunately, few, if any, of the proposals presented by Management representatives seemed likely to advance that aim. Rather, dozens of proposals introduced could have the effect of significantly undermining worker protections long enshrined in the union contract as a means of promoting fairness and restricting favoritism.

While there was considerable confusion about exactly how these new provisions would be implemented, it appears likely that they would limit opportunities for transfers, assignment changes, and promotions — while doing little to improve hiring and retention. The Union Bargaining Committee is prepared to resist any changes that would strip employees of their rights.


AFSCME negotiators are arguing that addressing the under-staffing crisis requires making state government a better place to work. While the Union proposals are aimed at reducing the excessive amount of overtime that employees currently are working in a number of agencies, Management’s proposals would make it easier for the employer to mandate overtime — and would have the effect of reducing overtime pay.

The Union proposals put forward thus far focus only on workplace rights and working conditions — economic proposals will not be developed until later in the bargaining process.

The current union contract expires on June 30, 2023. It will take a concerted effort by all AFSCME members in state government to secure the fair contract that state employees deserve after having worked tirelessly — and at considerable personal risk and sacrifice — to keep vital state services operational throughout these recent pandemic years. Stay tuned for more information on how you can help win fairness and respect.

Progress on Safety Measures in DCFS

After more than a year of intensive advocacy by the members of the AFSCME DCFS Standing Committee — and almost exactly one year since the murder of DCFS investigator, Deidre Silas — the department has finally announced significant new measures to improve the safety of DCFS employees on the job. They include:

• Partnering with local law enforcement;
• Providing special safety belts and shirts;
• A pilot project to test out some form of “lone worker safety device”;
• A number of new state vehicles for staff to use in the field that are outfitted with cell boosters; and
• Voluntary training sessions on self-defense and the use of OC spray.


These changes have already had an impact. In January the availability of a Sheriff’s Deputy in the Peoria office kept an employee safe. An investigator had been attempting to locate a mother with a long history with DCFS and her new baby. Due to the history, the officer accompanied the investigator. The mother attacked the officer. He was able to defend himself, and with assistance from other law enforcement he arrested the mother. It is good to know that the investigator did not have to face that challenging situation alone.

Thank you to Tanya Burns and the Statewide DCFS Standing Committee for their never ending battle to keep workers safe.


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Bad Addresses


If you move, don't forget to let your steward know your new address or send an email to Alice Sutherland. Each month, we get several newsletters back because members have moved and we don't have an updated address. If you know of someone who has moved, make sure to reach out to them and let them know they need to update their address with us. We want everyone to stay informed.

Now It's Even Easier To Join AFSCME!


We are stronger together. Employees can now join our union online. If you or a co-worker haven't yet signed an AFSCME membership card, click the button below to sign up today!

Your Right To

Union Representation:


"If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated or have any effect on

my personal working conditions, I respectfully request my union representative, officer or steward to be present at this meeting. Without union representation, I choose not to participate in this discussion."

Want To Receive Text and Email Updates?

In an effort to keep everyone up to date on what is going on, we are trying to gather personal email addresses and cell phone numbers so that this can be used as a method of contact when important things come up and we need to get the word out fast. If you would like to receive email and text updates, please send your PERSONAL email address and cell phone information to Alice Sutherland at You can also do this by going to and entering your email address in the “Sign UP for Email” space, then completing the information asked for.


Welcome To Our AFSCME 448 Website!

It is a pleasure to present our AFSCME 448 website to our members! The website launched publicly on December 6, 2019, and the primary purpose of the website is to communicate noteworthy news, events and information to our 600+ local 448 members. Like any well-planned and useful website, our website will never be “completed” or “finished”; we will make regular updates to it as new information and needs dictate.


I invite you to tour and experience the website, from page to page, to learn what we are sharing and communicating, and to also solicit from you what information our website lacks and needs. We look very forward to your review of the website, and any “wish list” items going forward. Email your comments to us at, or by using this website's contact form. Also, while you are visiting the site, please be sure to sign up for emailed news alerts from us. Sign up takes just a moment, and it lets us build a database of local 448 members’ email addresses so that we can, as needs arise, email important and timely news and information to our membership.

Help Is Just A Call Away!

We wanted to take a moment to remind you that if you are experiencing excessive stress, depression or anxiety, help is available through the AFSCME Personal Support Program. It's now even easier to access the help you need as PSP services are available via Telehealth. You can call 1-800-647-8776 for assistance.

Meet Our Members

As you know, our Local represents employees in many State agencies throughout Northern Illinois. We would like to get to know each and every one of you better. So, if you would like to help us do that, answer the following questions and we will feature a different employee in each newsletter and here on the website. Email your submissions to Alice Sutherland at

1. Tell us about your job, and let us know the agency you work for.

2. How does your job provide a valuable public service?

3. What's your inspiration to go to work every day?

4. How does your union improve your work?

5. How has your union job impacted your family?

Submit Your Photos!

Do you have any photos from your union workplace, union meetings and gatherings or other union-related events that can help tell a story about Local 448? If so, we'd like you to submit them to for our review and possible use here on this website, and/or other AFSCME-related materials. When submitting images, please submit images in .jpg format and images should not exceed 2MB in file size. Also, please provide some brief information/caption regarding each submitted image. Thank you!

AFSCME Local 448 Union representing State of Illinois employees in Northwestern Illinois | Council 31 |  AFL-CIO

Membership meetings are held at least quarterly and always on the first Thursday of the month. Food will be served (when allowed) beginning at 5:30 pm with the meeting beginning promptly at 6:30 pm.

The next Membership Meeting is January 5, 2023,

in person, at 212 South 1st Street (2nd floor) in Rockford

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