Tens of thousands of state employees wait for committee to approve raises, no meeting scheduled

Next month, tens of thousands of state employees are expecting raises that were approved seven months ago, but the last step before those become official – one final committee meeting – has yet to happen.

The Joint Committee on Employment Relations is required to approve the 2 percent raise that passed the state Legislature’s finance committee in May, but the committee hasn’t met in 2019 and has no meetings scheduled so far in December.

The committee is co-chaired by Senate President Roger Roth and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. A spokesperson for Vos said the two are working on a time to meet, but gave no further details. A spokesperson for Roth’s office did not return a request for comment.

40k+ state workers wait for a committee to sign off raises approved in May. The committee in question hasn’t met all year&doesn’t have any meetings on the books. Valerie Landowski w/AFSCME WI hopes union member calls to co-chairs @SpeakerVos and @SenatorRoth will speed things up. pic.twitter.com/2QE59mJdTW

— Amy Reid (@amyreidreports) December 5, 2019

Valerie Landowski, the communications director for the Wisconsin chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is hoping her union’s members will take action and call legislators and get them to act.

“The fact is, the Legislature has already approved these wages,” Landowski said. “We’re just waiting for them to finally get through the committee session.”

Other unions are getting involved as well.

Stephanie Bloomingdale, the president of the Wisconsin state AFL-CIO, sent a letter to Vos and Roth urging them to convene immediately.

“The decision not to hold a meeting of the Joint Committee on Employment Relations is really irresponsible,” Bloomingdale said.

Bloomingdale’s letter expanded on the other pieces the committee needs to go over, including a compensation plan with a new pay progression for correctional officers, psychiatric care technicians, youth counselors and certain nurse clinicians. The committee also needs to discuss a $15 minimum wage for permanent state and University of Wisconsin system employees Gov. Tony Evers announced in November.

A spokesperson for Vos noted how the committee could not meet to approve the compensation plan until the governor sent it over, and both Vos and Roth sent a letter to Evers in October asking him to do so. She did not say why there has been no meeting scheduled since the compensation plan has been released.

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