What is the Workers’ Rights Center?

What is the Workers’ Rights Center?

In 2000, the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice of South Central Wisconsin launched a study of actual workplace conditions in Dane County through the Latino Worker Project. The Latino Worker Project fact-finding delegation was a collaborative effort of faith community representatives, union leaders, workers, and local social service providers. The final published report, "Can't Afford to Lose a Bad Job," highlighted the difficulties and barriers these workers face.

One of the recommendations of the delegation was the establishment of a Workers' Rights Center to address the needs of low-wage and immigrant workers. The ICWJ recognized that many of the workplace problems that were identified affect all low-wage workers, regardless of ethnicity, and hired a full-time staff person to help fulfill this recommendation. Using resources and best practices from successful faith/labor initiatives around the country, the ICWJ researched and developed a plan for a local Workers' Rights Center. Find out how you can help.

In 2007, after over four years of operating the Workers' Rights Center, the ICWJ Board determined that it was time for the WRC to become a stand alone organization.  A founding board was formed and the Workers' Rights Center established itself as a 501(c)(3) organization.  The ICWJ and WRC still share office space and work closely on numerous campaigns, but now each is able to pursue its' mission with a greater focus.  To find out more about the Workers' Rights Center visit their website at www.wrcmadison.org.

The Workers' Rights Center is a community center dedicated to educating and advocating for worker justice. The Center is committed to empowering workers. A major focus has been training people in the community as advocates to assist others in resolving workplace problems. By its work and advocacy, the Workers' Rights Center seeks to affirm the dignity of work and the dignity and respect that should be afforded to all members of our community, as expressed in the social teachings of many faiths. To read more about religious teachings on workers rights, visit http://iwj.org/materials/materials_ged.html.

The Workers’ Rights Center is a place for workers to go for:

  • Information
  • Education
  • Legal Referrals
  • Reflections on workers’ rights, focusing on:
    • Searching for solutions
    • Organizing for change

What services are provided?

  • Workshops on workers’ rights
  • Training of volunteer Workers’ Rights Advocates
  • Legal advocacy and advice in collaboration with the UW Neighborhood Law Project
  • Drop-in hours for workers to get assistance in addressing workplace problems
  • English and Spanish Wisconsin Workers’ Rights Handbooks with an overview of rights and procedures for enforcing them
  • Referrals to other community organizations

Who runs the Center?

The goal of the Workers’ Rights Center is that it will be run by the workers who use it.

The Center is staffed by volunteers. Volunteer trainings are held four times a year. For information on volunteering at the Workers’ Rights Center, or to sign up for a training, call 608.255-0376 or e-mail [email protected] Here are the "Role Descriptions for Workers' Rights Center Volunteers".

Where is the Center located?


The Center is located in the Villager Mall, at 2300 S. Park Street, Suite 6.

To get to the Center, drive down South Park Street away from campus, towards the Beltline. The Villager Mall will be on your right. It is across from a gas station and a Walgreen’s, and before the bus station and the Beltline. Alternately, take the bus to the South Side bus station and walk to the Villager Mall. Map.

Hours of Operation:

Hours for appointments vary.  We strive to make the Center as accessible as possible and try to be flexible in scheduling.  Hours of advocates vary, please call 608-255-0376 to make an appointment.  If you get voicemail leave a message for the Worker's Rights Center and someone will call you back to schedule an appointment.  We can currently make appointments in English and Spanish.  With sufficient notice we will work with clients to arrange for interpretation.

The Wisconsin Workers' Rights Manual

In 2002 the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice of South Central Wisconsin produced a manual in English and Spanish to bring together information about the laws that cover the workplace and the agencies that enforce those laws.  The manual is intended to serve as a starting point.  It has been designed for use by advocates and workers alike.  It's not intended to serve as legal advice, but to help workers and those who assist them gain a broad understanding of the laws and policies that affect and control their workplace rights, safety, protections and well-being.  Please feel free to copy all portions of the manual and distribute them to family, friends and coworkers.

Special thanks to all who helped put the manuals together and for the generous support of the Teaching Assistants' Association and the Dane County Bar Association for funding the manuals printing.

The Wisconsin Workers' Rights Manual

Manual De Derechos Laborales De Los Trabajadores En Wisconsin

The manuals will be updated periodically.  Copies are available for a modest fee from the WRC by contacting us at 608-255-0376.  If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, send them to [email protected].


WR Handbook 5-09-05 full page.pdf358.51 KB
WR Manual Spanish 2006 full page.pdf365.54 KB