Waukegan, IL – One hundred and sixty-four probation department employees in Lake County, an industrial suburb of Chicago, have become members of AFSCME after winning certification of their union.
AFSCME Local 3182 will now include the employees of the 19th Judicial Circuit, including probation, detention and counseling employees.
“Only by organizing did we ever have a chance to be heard,” said new AFSCME member Nina Naus, a probation officer. “When we act collectively, we can achieve a fair and safe work environment.”
The probation and counseling employees had to withstand an intense anti-union campaign conducted in February by the probation department administration. They join hundreds of other probation employees in nearby Cook, DuPage and McHenry counties and will join the Lake County circuit clerk’s staff in the local.
AFSCME Council 31 Associate Director Tracey Abman said the campaign was inspired by the county’s attempt to reduce the workers’ benefits.
“The challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic made it evidently clear that our voices need to be heard and answered,” Senior Probation Officer Kim Spasari said. “Our dedicated employees united together to advocate for equal treatment, safer working conditions and appropriate wages and benefits.”