Assembly Speaker Robin Vos tells WisPolitics he will seek to block pay raises for UW System employees unless the university first cuts DEI positions, ramping up pressure on university leaders.

The Rochester Republican has already made clear that he would oppose releasing $32 million to the system. The money was set aside in the state budget for the university unless those positions are cut.

His comments in the WisPolitics interview illustrate the steps he’s willing to go in cutting off additional aid to the system unless his demands are met.

“I don’t think that they deserve to have any more resources until they accomplish the goal,” Vos said.

“Not a nickel. When I say a nickel, that’s what I mean.”

Raises for state employees are now before the Joint Committee on Employment Relations, co-chaired by Vos. Those pay hikes for UW employees are separate from the state plan, though they’re in line for the same raises of 4 percent and 2 percent in each year of the budget as other state workers.

UW System President Jay Rothman said in a statement to WisPolitics that the university remains hopeful its employees will see the pay raises that have already been funded in the state budget.

“We continue to have discussions with the Speaker and appreciate that there are differing views on ED&I,” Rothman said, referring to DEI. “We believe we can work through these issues without adversely affecting employees and their families. I am proud of our employees who have demonstrated their commitment to our students and our state.”

WisPolitics interviewed Vos and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, last week to look ahead to the rest of the fall floor period.

See highlights from the interviews in the Sept. 15 FRI REPORT.

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