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Ventra Puts Financial, Administrative Burdens On Chicago-Area Social Service Providers, Report Finds

Chicago-area social service providers that offer transit assistance to their clients want some relief from the financial and administrative challenges they claim to face when using Ventra, the regional fare-payment system.

That's according to a new survey-based report by the Chicago Jobs Council, a coalition of organizations, businesses and individuals focused on improving access to employment opportunities for people living in poverty.

Fifty-three social service providers, funded by multiple city of Chicago and Cook County agencies, participated in CJC's survey about their experiences with Ventra. The providers operate various programs, including workforce initiatives, and serve youth, the homeless and other individuals in need, according to CJC.

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Wage Theft Alleged In Lawsuit Against Chicago Dunkin' Donuts Franchisee (VIDEO)

Former Dunkin' Donuts franchise workers filed a federal class action lawsuit Wednesday, alleging wage theft at 16 downtown Chicago locations operated by the same owner.

The suit alleges that the franchise owner frequently made unauthorized deductions from workers' paychecks for cash register shortages, manipulated time cards and failed to pay the minimum wage and overtime.

Christina Padilla, 23, is one of two former Dunkin' Donuts franchise workers named as plaintiffs in the suit, which is seeking class action status to cover over 100 current and former employees of the locations in question.

"Workers have [had their] wages stolen, and they have been mistreated until they quit," Padilla said in announcing the class action suit.

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Fight For $15 Takes Battle For A Living Wage To Chicago Suburbs

The Fight for $15 campaign is taking their call for a wage increase and better working conditions to the Chicago suburbs. The workers' rights campaign held a rally at Evanston's Fountain Square over the weekend.

Emboldened by recent Fight for $15 victories in New York and California, speakers called out McDonald's and other low-wage employers, demanding that they at least match Chicago's recent minimum wage increase.

"We all know Evanston is becoming increasingly less welcome to low-income residents by way of rising property values and less affordable housing," said Gabriel Machabanski, of the Open Communities organization. "Equally important, but less emphasized, is the stagnant poverty wages. Chicago has taken action and increased its minimum wage. There's no reason workers on this side of Howard should be making less than $10 an hour."

Illinois Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) also spoke at the event, saying that the economic landscape of the country has changed over the last 30 years, concentrating the distribution of wealth among the elite.

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Homeless Chicagoans, Advocates Skeptical Of Housing Pilot Program For 'Tent City' Residents

Homeless individuals who live under Lake Shore Drive viaducts on Chicago's North Side met Monday morning with city officials to discuss a new pilot program that will provide them with housing and support services. 

Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler and North Side Alds. James Cappleman (46th) and Harry Osterman (48th) were at the meeting, held at Weiss Memorial Hospital. Also in attendance were various homeless advocates, service providers and community members.

At issue was a city pilot program, announced late last month, aimed at placing 75 chronically homeless individuals into permanent housing. The homeless individuals live in tent encampments, also known as tent cities, under viaducts near Lake Shore Drive at Irving Park Road and Foster, Lawrence and Wilson Avenues. 

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