Gov. Evers lawsuit challenges pay plan inaction

Dear Colleagues,

Today, we learned Gov. Tony Evers has filed a lawsuit that, in part, challenges a state Legislature committee’s withholding of previously approved pay increases for Universities of Wisconsin employees. I share a message from Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman below, which I fully support. I remain grateful for your important work and the extraordinary impact it has on countless numbers of students, families and people in our communities.

As you may have heard this morning, Governor Evers and the Department of Justice have filed a lawsuit against the legislature challenging the legality of withholding the pay plan from Universities of Wisconsin employees. 

Even with the announced lawsuit, we will continue to advocate to the legislature in our ongoing effort to release the pay plan adjustments for our tens of thousands of UW faculty and staff. We are hopeful that our legislators do what is right, not only for our employees and their families, but for the students, parents, and communities we serve. 

As I have said from the beginning, it was unprecedented to withhold pay from our employees as part of a political disagreement between two separate branches of government. Targeting Universities of Wisconsin employees and their families to compel our universities to eliminate all diversity and inclusion positions, which action was vetoed by the Governor, left us in an incredible predicament. I am deeply troubled by our employees being stuck in the middle of this dispute. This is not the Wisconsin that I know.

I appreciate the feedback I have received from the hundreds of UW faculty and staff I have visited with over the past month as we have engaged in advocacy efforts throughout the state. While the legislative inaction has been beyond disappointing, I have been heartened by the supportive comments our universities have received from business and community leaders, as well as members of both political parties. What you do, every day, is critical to the vibrancy and success of all Wisconsinites and is inspirational to me personally as we advocate on your behalf. 

Thank you for your patience during these challenging times, and thank you for your commitment to the Universities of Wisconsin.

Sincerely, Jay Rothman, President, Universities of Wisconsin

Many of you may have questions about what happens next, and right now there are few definitive answers. What we do know is that it will take approximately one month for the Wisconsin Supreme Court to determine whether it will hear the case.

I promise that we will continue to share updates and to advocate for UWM, our remarkable employees and UWM’s commitment to support our students and communities.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone, PhD