Wisconsin, UW employee pay raises to be approved

MADISON — A 2% pay raise in each of the next two years for University of Wisconsin and state employees were slated to be approved Wednesday by a Republican-controlled committee of legislative leaders.

The panel planned to reject Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' proposal to set the state minimum wage at $15. It was also not voting on a contract for the Wisconsin State Patrol that would extend a retroactive 2% pay raise for existing employees and increase starting salaries by 23%. Republicans objected to that high of a pay raise, even though the patrol and backers said it was needed to be competitive with other law enforcement agencies.

The Joint Committee on Employment Relations could vote on the trooper contract at a later date, but Republicans indicated that would not happen unless the raises were scaled back.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who is on the committee, said in a statement ahead of the vote that “it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone” that the proposed trooper pay increase was too high. The proposed contract for about 370 troopers would have increased starting salaries from about $44,000 to about $54,000.

The troopers deal was to cover 2017-2019. They did not have an agreement between 2015 and 2017.

The 2% pay raises for state and university employees was approved as part of the state budget earlier this year. But the raises can't take effect until the committee meeting Wednesday signs off.