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New workers advocacy center opens in Lansing

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WKAR Photo
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David Mitchell stands with other members of the Lansing Workers Center during the center's official opening on Monday.

By Kevin Lavery, WKAR News

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wkar/local-wkar-859126.mp3

Lansing, MI – Volunteers in Lansing are forming a new labor advocacy organization that aims to help workers protect themselves from abusive practices on the job.

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Members of the Lansing Workers Center say one of their top priorities is to prevent wage theft -- instances when an employer illegally withholds a worker's pay or benefits. They say they're willing to negotiate with companies, but add they'll also use embarrassment tactics and litigation if necessary.

Member David Mitchell says their program is based on similar groups in Kalamazoo and Detroit.

"Workers are trying to get their wages back, filing wage claims, nothing happens and in five or six hours of meetings with other workers and taking a couple of steps, they're getting it back on their own," Mitchell says.

The Lansing Workers Center is funded by donations and member dues. The organization currently has less than a dozen members.

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