State Senator Ram VillivalamCHICAGO– State Senator  Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) testified on Monday, May 11 to the Chicago City Council’s Committee on Workforce Development, urging it to support his proposal to enshrine the right to unionize in the Illinois Constitution.
 
“We hear the term ‘backbone of the economy’ all the time,” Villivalam said. “This amendment to the Illinois Constitution would protect the real backbone of our economy: the women and men who work the everyday jobs that keep all companies, big and small, in business.”
 
Villivalam’s legislation would create constitutional protections for workers’ rights to collectively bargain over wages, hours, terms, and conditions. Though these rights are currently protected by Illinois law, there have been efforts across the country to weaken union bargaining rights.
 
In his remarks to the committee, Villivalam acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for businesses and workers alike, but he believes this is exactly the time we need to be talking about workers’ rights.
 
“As our economy recovers, I want to see businesses succeed and prosper,” Villivalam said. “But, I also want to make sure that Illinois’ workers have a significant seat at the table as we rebuild our economy so that our recovery benefits everyone – not just the CEOs.”
 
Villivalam’s legislation is Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 23, which will be read into the record when the General Assembly returns to Springfield. If approved by the legislature, voters would have the opportunity to approve it during the next eligible General Election.
Category: Press Releases
CHICAGO — With workers at nearly 70 nursing homes across the state planning to go on strike because of unsafe working conditions, several Illinois Senate Democrats wrote a letter to the Illinois Department of Public Health and many local health departments Tuesday requesting to know the amount of Personal Protective Equipment that has been distributed to those nursing homes and the process by which it was distributed.
 
“The hardworking people who put their own health on the line to care for our state’s most vulnerable population should not have to do so without proper protection,” said State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago). “Workers shouldn’t be left wondering when and if they’ll get more supplies, and management shouldn’t have to find and pay for most PPE that is needed out of its own pockets.” 
 
The request comes from members of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus who have at least one nursing home in the district they represent where management received strike notices last week. Employees of 64 nursing homes across the state sent strike notices to management, saying facilities do not have enough PPE, safety protocols, and adequate hazard pay. 
 
In an effort to stand up for those workers in their districts, the group sent a letter to IDPH and local health departments to ask how facilities are chosen to receive PPE and how much PPE these nursing homes have received since the start of the outbreak.
 
"When our nursing home staffs aren't afforded adequate PPE, that puts worker and resident lives in danger," said State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview). "PPE is scarce right now, but our frontline workers need these supplies in order to continue caring for those who need it the most.”
 
Late last month, WBEZ — a Chicago-based public radio station — reported 625 Illinois nursing home patients and staff have died from COVID-19. Nursing home deaths make up more than a third of the state’s COVID-19 deaths. 
 
“We need to do everything possible to provide a safe environment for our nursing home workers, who day in and day out protect our most vulnerable loved ones,” said State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Schaumburg). 
Category: Press Releases
To continue our progress in containing the novel Coronavirus pandemic, Governor JB Pritzker announced he will extend and modify the Stay at Home Order from May 1, 2020 through May 31, 2020.
 
This modification is an effort to give Illinoisans more flexibility while maintaining social distancing--under the new Stay at Home Order, you may be able to spend more time outside, reopen your business, or even return to work. 
 
Here are some changes you can expect to see beginning May 1:
 
  • Face coverings will be required in public indoor spaces. Beginning May 1, individuals over the age of 2 will be required to wear face coverings in public indoor spaces where they can't maintain six feet of social distance, including grocery stores. The modified order will also include occupancy limits for essential businesses. 
  • You will have more options for outdoor activities. State parks will begin a phased reopening in May, and fishing and boating in groups of no more than two people will be permitted. A list of parks that will be open on May 1 and additional guidelines can be found on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Website. Golf will also be permitted, as long as golfers respect strict safety guidelines and social distancing measures. 
  • Some businesses will reopen. Greenhouses, garden centers, and nurseries, as well as animal grooming services, will be allowed to reopen as essential businesses. Non-essential retail stores may reopen to fulfill curbside pickup and delivery orders. However, these businesses must follow social distancing guidelines and require customers and employees to wear face coverings.
  • If you return to work you'll be safer. Manufacturers will be required to provide face coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain six feet of social distance. The order will also require manufacturers to adopt new practices to protect customers and employees, including staggering shifts and operating only essential lines.
  • Navigating unexpected effects of the outbreak. Schools with dormitories will be given direction on allowing students to pick up belongings, and surgical centers and hospitals that meet strict safety criteria may be able to resume certain elective surgeries. 

Find more details on the modified Stay at Home Order here.

Staying home isn't easy, but it's the best tool we have to fight COVID-19. According to data from top academic institutions and researchers across Illinois, the Stay at Home Order has saved thousands of Illinoisans, if not more--without these restrictions in place, we may have seen up to 20 times as many deaths as we are currently experiencing. 

But, the fight isn't over. The data also suggests the state will see a second wave of the virus if social distancing requirements are lifted now, which could claim tens of thousands more lives.


So, for the health and safety of our friends, families, neighbors, and front line workers, we must continue our efforts to contain the spread of the virus. We know many people are eager to return to their jobs, social lives, and daily routines--we're hoping that this modified order will help ease some of that restlessness. 

If you have questions, are in need of resources, or otherwise need assistance during this difficult time, please don't hesitate to reach out by calling 872-208-5188 or visiting www.senatorram.com/contact-us.

Together, we can finish the job and put a stop to COVID-19. 

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay home. 

Category: News

CHICAGO – State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) has worked closely with members of the communities he represents to support people in need during the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To date, his office has provided and participated in:

  • Calls to more than 100,000 constituents to offer assistance and to answer questions,
  • Regular newsletter updates, FAQs, and resource guides with the latest information,
  • Wellness check calls made to 6,139 seniors, speaking with 855 of them to connect them to vital federal, state, and local services,
  • Assisting on 122 COVID-19 related constituent cases, having resolved 64 of them,
  • 59 food pantry/grocery deliveries,
  • Creation of a GoFundMe that raised approximately $15,000 in support of local food pantries,
  • Coordination of constituent services with other governmental offices and,
  • Several online presentations and briefings with fellow local lawmakers and community leaders, including town halls on resources for small businesses, first responders, and schools. 

“People need the support of their elected officials more than ever during this unsettling time,” Villivalam said. “I encourage anyone in the 8th District who needs help and/or has suggestions on how we can help to reach out to my office.” 

To contact Villivalam and his staff, call (872) 208-5188 or visit his website, www.senatorram.com, to send an email.

Category: Press Releases

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Chicago, IL 60659
(872) 208-5188

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