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

VIDEO: AFSCME Council 31 On The Front Lines

Executive Board Nominations

Nominations for executive board positions will be held on November 10, 2022. The meeting will be held at the Sterling DCFS office located at 2607 South Woodlawn Road in Sterling beginnning at 6:30 PM. The following positions are up for nomination: President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Chapter Chair for all agencies, three Executive Board members at large and one three-year Trustee. If you are nominated for a position you must accept or decline that nomination. If you are not able to be at the meeting in person you must submit your acceptance in writing to an executive board member or via email to Alice Sutherland at All letters of acceptance must be submitted prior to the start of the nomination meeting.


A Threat To Public Employee Pensions

As your union’s Legislative & Political Director at the state Capitol in Springfield, it’s my job to look out for the interests of AFSCME members, and to track how the politicians are voting, for or against us.


Since Senator Darren Bailey became the Republican nominee for governor, many members have asked me where he stands on issues of importance to public employees.


I can tell you that his voting record with our union is not good. But what’s even more disturbing to me is what Darren Bailey has said and done on the issue that is perhaps of greatest concern to both active and retired AFSCME members — retirement security.


Senator Bailey has been a consistent and vigorous critic of public employee pensions — probably the biggest critic in the entire General Assembly.


Darren Bailey has actually gone so far as to introduce legislation that would repeal the pension protection clause in our state constitution — eliminating the legal safeguard that enabled our union to block laws that would have drastically cut our retirement benefits.  


Not only does Bailey’s constitutional amendment repeal that fundamental protection, but it gives politicians “the power to reduce or change pension benefits, regardless of whether those benefits have been earned”.


Bailey is the chief and sole sponsor of this amendment.


Senator Bailey also says outright that he would end pensions for new employees (“We must move to 401(k)-style plans for all new hires,” he told the Peoria Journal-Star), a change that would jeopardize the solvency of the retirement systems by robbing them of funding going forward — and making it impossible for them to meet their obligations to current employees when they retire.


Bailey has also hinted that he would reduce the 3% annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA, also known as the automatic annual increase or AAI) now in place for public pensions and increase health insurance costs for current employees and retirees.


For decades AFSCME members have stood and fought to protect retirement security from the pension-slashers in both parties, in the media and in the corporate world. As we consider candidates in the fall election, we aren’t about to back down from that commitment to safeguard the pensions we’ve earned and paid into for years.


In unity,


Joanna Webb-Gauvin

Legislative & Political Director

Workers' Rights Amendment

This fall, Illinois voters will have the opportunity to vote yes for the Workers’ Rights Amendment.


WHAT IS THE WORKERS' RIGHTS AMENDMENT? It’s an important step to add protection to the state Constitution that will make it much harder for current or future politicians to limit your voice on the job, weaken your union or take away your right to collective bargaining.


WHY DOES IT MATTER? With the Workers’ Rights Amendment in place, politicians couldn’t simply change the law to take away wages, benefits, workplace safety protections or other provisions of your union contract — the state Constitution would stand in their way.


WHAT WILL THE BALLOT QUESTION LOOK LIKE? At the top of your ballot, vote 'Yes' on this question.

Section 25: Workers Rights

a) Employees shall have the fundamental right to organize and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing for the purpose of negotiating wages, hours, and working conditions, and to protect their economic welfare and safety at work. No law shall be passed that interferes with, negates, or diminished the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively over their wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment and workplace safety, including any law or ordinance that prohibits the execution or application of agreements between employers and labor organizations that represent employees requiring membership in an organization as a condition of employment.


WHEN IS THE ELECTION? Early voting starts September 28. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8. Even though we have had election day as a state holiday in our contract for many years, for the first time, Election Day is an official state holiday.


WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE? The campaign supporting the amendment is Vote Yes for Workers Rights. Their website is

I have been asked if this segment of the amendment would require employees to join a union. “...including any law or ordinance that prohibits the execution or application of agreements between employers and labor organizations that represent employees requiring membership in an organization as a condition of employment.”

The fact is that only Public Sector employees have a choice. We are not required to join the union. This amendment would not change that. In very other industry when you accept a position you know you if the company is union or not. If they are you must join as a condition of employment. So please encourage everyone you know to vote YES for this amendment!



Get To Know Your Contract

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 our look at Article I Recognition picking up where we left off with section 4 and 5.

Section 4. Union Exclusivity

The Employer shall not meet, discuss, confer, subsidize or negotiate with any other employee organization or its representatives on matters pertaining to hours, wages, and working conditions. Nor shall the Employer negotiate with employees over their hours, wages and working conditions, except as provided herein.


Section 5. Employer Neutrality
It is the policy of the Employer to support its employees’ legal right to freely choose to be represented by a union. The Employer will not oppose efforts by any of its employees to be represented by a union; provided however, nothing herein shall limit the Employer’s rights before the Illinois Labor Relations Board to determine the appropriateness of an employee’s placement in a bargaining unit. The Employer shall not discourage employees from becoming union members or authorizing dues deductions, and shall not otherwise interfere with the relationship between employees and their exclusive representative. The Employer shall refer all inquiries about union membership to the Union, except that the Employer may communicate with employees regarding payroll processes and procedures. The Employer will establish email safe-guards in an effort to prohibit the use of its email system and review safeguards for access to other systems by outside sources.


So what does this mean? For section 4 it means that the employees sole representative is the union and the employer cannot negotiate individually with employees.

For section 5 it means, basically, that the employer needs to stay out of it. They cannot give their opinion to employees as to whether or not they should join the union. I mean we won’t stop them from encouraging people to join. They cannot decide which titles are included in representation. If they disagree they need to take their objections to the Labor Board to review. They also need to insure that outside entities, such as the Illinois Policy Institute, do not have access to our email to spread their propaganda.


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Membership News Alerts

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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