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

Nominations for Executive Board Results

​​Nominations were held at our in-person membership meeting on November 10, 2022. Only one nominee was presented for each position (3 for members at large) so all nominees are declared the winner of that position based on the AFSCME International election rules.


Effective January 5, 2023 the Local 448 Executive Board will be as follows:
Officers: President: Alice Sutherland, Vice President: Robin Aebly, Treasurer: Laurie Scudder, Secretary: Tina Wren. Three Members at Large: Tom Soresie, Aaron Sockwell, Jeff Bergstrom, Chapter Chairs: Tanya Burns: DCFS, Donna Wellman: DHS, Ryan Gladhill: DNR, Jenifer Strock: DOT, Troy Morse: IGB, Marie Reck: Revenue. Trustee: Tina Alber. Trustees Dawn Chavez and Greg Duffy have terms that have not yet expired.


I want to thank everyone that has stepped up to either retain their seat on the executive board or taken on new challenges. We have an awesome board and they never cease to amaze me as to what we can accomplish together.

I would also like to give a HUGE thank you to out-going Vice President Diane Ritter. She has been great help these last two years and I wish her well in her future endeavors. And Diane, if your life plans change we can always use your help.


Big Win for DCFS

Hiring in all agencies needs to be a priority. But, currently, DCFS is seeing staff shortages like never before. Especially when it comes to Investigations staff. In our Sterling field office there is currently only one investigator. That is ridiculous, and we do have grievances filed in more than one agency related to the filling of vacancies those things take time.

DCFS investigations takes a special kind of person. It is not easy to fill these positions nor is it easy to retain people once they are hired. That is why AFSCME Council 31 has pushed so hard to find a way to do both. It wasn’t easy, but AFSCME Council 31 and CMS have come to an agreement to hire new DCFS Investigators at step 2 and to bring those investigators not yet on step 2 up to that level. The

agreement was effective November 1, 2022.

Get To Know Your Contract: Vacations

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 Vacations. 


Section 5. Vacation Schedules
Subject to Section 6 and the Employer's operating needs, vacations shall be scheduled as requested by the employee in writing. The Employer shall respond to vacation requests within five (5) work days. Where current

practice provides for a quicker response, such practice shall continue. Once scheduled vacation is approved it will only be canceled if the Employer's operating needs require that employee's services. The necessity of an overtime assignment shall not be a consideration in the cancellation of approved vacation. In any event, upon request, vacation time must be scheduled so that it may be taken no later than twenty-four (24) months after the expiration of the calendar year in which such vacation time was earned. If an employee does not request and take accrued vacation within such twenty-four (24) month period, vacation earned during such calendar year shall be lost. Except that the period of time an employee is on an approved leave of absence pursuant to Article XXIII, Leaves of Absence, shall not count toward the twenty-four (24) month period.

Section 6. Vacation Schedules by Seniority
By January 31 of each calendar year, employees may submit in writing to the Employer their preferences for different time periods for vacation, provided an employee may not submit more than three (3) preferences. Such request may include vacation through the end of February of the following calendar year.


In establishing vacation schedules, the Employer shall consider both the employee's preference and the operating needs of the agency. Where the Employer is unable to grant and schedule vacation preferences for all employees within a position classification within a facility but is able to grant some of such (one or more) employees such vacation preferences, employees within the position classification shall be granted such preferred vacation period on the basis of seniority. An employee who has been granted his/her first preference shall not be granted another preference request if such would require denial of the first preference of a less senior employee. An employee's preference shall be defined as a specific block of time uninterrupted by work days.

Employees who file their preference by January 31, shall be notified of the vacation schedules by March 1 of that calendar year. Employees requesting vacation time who have moved at their prerogative to a different work unit, and whose preference conflicts with another employee in that work unit, or those employees who have not filed their preference by January 31 or were not granted such request, shall be scheduled on the basis of the employee's preference and the operating needs of the Employer.

I chose this article because there seems to be a lot of confusion around what it means and since we will soon be submitting these requests I thought it was a good time to review this section so let’s get started.

Under Article X Section 6 is the only time that vacation requests are granted by seniority. After this process is complete, vacation is granted to those requests that are submitted 1st. During the vacation by seniority process staff are asked to submit a form containing their 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices for vacation. Management then reviewed these submissions and grants as many 1st choices as they can based on position and seniority. If they cannot grant your 1st choice they then see if they can grant your 2nd choice. If they cannot then they move to your 3rd choice. Hopefully one of your choices is granted. The objective of this process is to grant all staff at least one of their choices, that’s it. While it has been the practice in some locations, management is not obligated to, nor should they, grant all 3 requests based on your seniority. So if your 1st choice is granted, that’s it, you don’t get your 2nd and 3rd choices as well. You MAY be granted those requests IF they do not block someone lower in seniority from getting their 1st, 2nd or 3rd choice. We cannot file a grievance if you are not granted all 3 of your choices. This does not violate the contact.

A few other things related to vacation request. Management does NOT have to grant your request just because you have already paid for a trip. You need to get your time approved BEFORE you make non-refundable reservations or purchase airline tickets.

Management should not be holding requests for time off “to see” if anyone else is going to ask for that same time. After the vacation by seniority process is complete they only have 5 days to return your request and it doesn’t matter if someone asked for the same time off. If both requests cannot be granted then the person who submitted the request 1st should get the time off.

Always, always, always, put your request in writing. Just asking if you can take a block of time off and them telling you no is not a request that has been denied. You have to submit the request on your official form and they have to respond in writing. If you don’t, we can’t file a grievance if you are denied. And in these situations, when someone has verbally been told no and they then put in an official request, in most cases the time off is approved.

VIDEO: AFSCME Council 31 On The Front Lines


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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