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Workers' Rights Center Opens in Rhinelander

Rhinelander will be home to northern Wisconsin’s only workers’ rights center after Monday.

The Northern Wisconsin Center for Working People opens today in the ArtStart building downtown.

President Jackie Cody says workers need advocates and access to information throughout the state, not just in cities.

“So what we are doing is taking an urban concept and putting it in rural Wisconsin. Because we feel workers whether they’re urban or rural, have probably the same issues in common – those being wage claims and worker comp. And family medical leave questions. And a place where they can feel safe talking about problems at the work site.”

It aims to provide workers with free resources to help them navigate on-the-job issues, providing knowledge like how to file a complaint with a state agency or know when to take legal action. 

The center will offer free advocacy, resources, and legal referrals…as well as train people to assist others in their own workplace. 

Cody says nothing like the Center currently exists in the state outside of Madison and Milwaukee. 

“We have no idea who or how many people will access us – and because there’s no data, that’s what part of our work will be, to collect that data that is now basically nonexistent.”

Cody says the Center could provide a model for other rural communities who want to give workers better representation and access to information. 

The Center will be staffed by volunteers, and open by appointment Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

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