top of page
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 (continued from March)


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 continue to look at the Affirmative Attendance Policy which begins on page 243 of the Master Contract.


6. Supervisors must process all completed forms generated from call-ins within five (5) calendar days of submission, either approving or disapproving the request.

7. As long as the employee meets the applicable Leave of Absence requirements, the Employer will approve leave for the time frame documented, including request for short- term leaves.

It is the employee’s responsibility to provide proper 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) workdays. Proper medical certification must contain the following elements:

a. Signature, address, and phone number of the medical practitioner (or authorized designee)
b. The pertinent date(s) in question of the illness or injury.
c. An indication that the employee was unable to work on the date(s) in question for reasons of personal or family illness.
d. The original medical statement must be submitted; 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 7(a), (b), (c) and (d).

8.A. Unauthorized absences with call in shall be subject to the following corrective and progressive disciplinary action:.


1st / Counseling

2nd / Oral reprimand

3rd / Written reprimand

4th / 2nd written reprimand

5th / 1 day suspension

6th / 3 day suspension

7th / 5 day suspension

8th / 7 day suspension

9th / 10 day suspension

10th / 15 day suspension

11th / 20 day suspension

12th / Discharge

B. Each day of unauthorized absence shall be considered a Separate offense for the purposes of progressive discipline.

C. Each day of unauthorized absence without a call-in shall be considered as two offenses, and appropriate progressive discipline shall be administrated pursuant to Paragraph 8.A. above.

Under this Affirmative Attendance Agreement, except for the last offense before discharge, no employee will serve any suspension time. Employees will be given the usual notice of a suspension but will be expected to report to work and lose no wages. An employee will only serve five (5) days of actual suspension time for the last offense prior to discharge.

D. The parties agree that this section does not alter the provision in Article IX of the Master Agreement regarding discharge for five (5) consecutive days of unauthorized absence with no call-in (XA).

What does this mean? Basically, you have to submit your leave request as soon possible after your return from any absence that was not pre-approved. Once submitted your supervisor must process your request within 5 calendar days. As long as you have sufficient leave of the type you are requesting your request will approved.

If you are required to submit medical documentation you have to do it within 5 work days or the request will be unauthorized.


What is considered an Unauthorized Absence? Any absence can be considered if you do not follow the rules when calling in. For example, you have one hour after your start time to notify your supervisor that you will not be in for whatever reason. If you call in after that one hour the time between the start of your shift and the time you called in is considered an unauthorized absence.

If you call in sick and don’t have any sick leave to cover your time, while we know that the hours entered as sick leave for payroll purposes will be taken first out of any Personal leave you have and then Vacation leave and then Comp time so the hours will be paid. The fact that you called in sick and you have no sick time makes it an unauthorized absence.


Standing Up for a Fair Contract!

Negotiations for a new SOI Master Agreement have been moving steadily forward over the past two months — but we have still got a long way to go to reach the fair settlement that AFSCME members deserve.

Negotiations are proceeding slowly because the Union Bargaining Committee has put a large number of proposals on the table aimed at addressing a wide variety of problems that AFSCME members confront on the job — especially the current crisis of understaffing.

The employer has also put forth proposals to address the hiring crisis but union negotiators believe they could actually make the problem worse, jeopardizing current rights on promotions, job assignment, transfer, or recall. The AFSCME Bargaining Committee is determined to ensure that our contract language will continue to uphold those rights no matter what administrative changes are made.

Management negotiators are continuing to press for contract changes that would greatly expand the use of mandatory overtime — and reduce overtime pay. The Union is resisting those changes.


While we will continue our efforts to resolve outstanding differences. We have also set up a subcommittee of Union and management representatives to review and discuss a number of proposals our Union has made that would affirm the right of members to work remotely, as well as the potential for alternative schedules.

Most importantly, the committee will begin developing the Union’s economic proposals. It will take ongoing activism at workplaces all across the state in solidarity with the AFSCME bargaining committee to demonstrate our determination to secure a contract that recognizes the sacrifices that state employees made throughout the pandemic and the extreme demands that continue to be placed on so many due to the staffing shortages.

Stay tuned for more information on how you can help win fairness and respect!

I have received questions from many of you regarding rumors you are hearing about returning to work a the office. The current MOU is in affect until 6-30-23. As stated above we have a subcommittee working on all the remote work and alternative schedule proposals that we received. Until 6-30-23 we don’t expect anything to change relating to remote work.


Larry Marquardt College Scholarship

AFSCME Council 31 is accepting applications for the annual Larry Marquardt Scholarship through Friday, April 21. Children of AFSCME members, as well as members in good standing, who plan to attend school full-time, are eligible to apply. Three winners will be awarded $2,000 each for the school year beginning in September 2023.

The scholarship honors Larry Marquardt, the first executive director of Council 31 and a tireless union organizer who dedicated his life to improving the lives of working people. To get more information about Council 31's Marquardt Scholarship and other AFSCME Scholarships go to and click on the scholarship link.

And don’t for get to watch for our Cindi Overton Memorial scholarship information which will be mailed to all worksites 5-1-23.


Attend Your
Union Meetings!

Sign Up For Emailed

Membership News Alerts

April 2023 AFSCME 448 Newsletter.jpg


To view/download/print the newsletter,

click here

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 TBD

bottom of page