Attorney General Moves to Block Pay Raise for Wisconsin Workers

New overtime rule would be an economic boon for Wisconsin

Statewide – Wisconsin has joined a group of states suing the U.S. Department of Labor over revised overtime rules that will raise wages for millions of workers. The rule is slated to take effect December 1. If the lawsuit is successful, workers across Wisconsin would be denied a much needed pay raise at the start of the holiday season.

The candidates in the Wisconsin U.S. Senate races also strongly disagree on the overtime rule, with Russ Feingold supporting it and Senator Ron Johnson opposing it.

If enacted, workers in every region of Wisconsin will be be rewarded for their hard work. When workers have more money in their pockets to spend in local communities, employment increases and prosperity expands. The economic impact of the overtime rule will be dramatic in every metro area of Wisconsin.

Table: Overtime bonus per average worker from new federal rule by metropolitan area

Metropolitan Area

Median Annual Wage, 2015 1

Average Weekly Overtime bonus, 47 hours 2

Average Annual Overtime Bonus, 47 hours/week 2




+$188 per week

+$9,776 per year





Green Bay








Eau Claire












Fond Du Lac








La Crosse

















The Department of Labor announced that salaried workers earning up to $47,476 per year will be eligible for overtime pay. Previous rules relied on an outdated formula which excluded employees making more than $23,660 a year.

An estimated 198,000 salaried employees in Wisconsin, one out of four, will be eligible for substantial pay raises if they work more than 40 hours per week. Gallup reports that half of all salaried employees work over 40 hours, and the average salaried employee works 47 hours in per week.

The federal overtime rule revision is overwhelmingly popular in Wisconsin, with support from 81% of voters, according to Public Policy Polling.

“For years the economic deck has been stacked against working families, who have been working harder and harder with little more to show for it,” said Robert Kraig, executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “The new federal overtime rule will mean that more will be rewarded for working longer hours, boosting consumer spending in our local economies as families can afford to go out to dinner, buy necessities, and send their kids to college. That Wisconsin’s Attorney General would take it upon himself to try and block this much needed pay raise reveals the economic bankruptcy of the low road labor strategy conservatives in charge of state government have pursued.”

A salaried employee in Waukesha earning the median annual salary of $37,190 working 47 hours a week will earn an extra $188 per week, or $9,776 per year. Under current rules that stack the deck against working families, that same employee today would be uncompensated for the extra hours they work.

This change will be especially beneficial in Wisconsin, which has seen the largest decline in middle class wages in the United States since 2000.

Media Contacts 

Contacts: Robert Kraig (414) 322-5324

Kevin Kane (414) 550 8280


1 - Source: May 2015 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Median Annual Salary for All Occupations, Bureau of Labor Statistics

2 - Source: Economic Policy Institute Overtime Calculator

Showing 1 reaction

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • commented 2016-09-21 16:06:21 -0500
    I think it really stinks that one party gives people some hope of finally getting ahead and the other party snatches it away as quick as they can. The GOP is so anti-people and so pro-corporation that they should be voted out of office. Government is supposed to take care of the people’s needs first, not the corporations. When will they get it through their heads that it’s the consumer that makes the economy work well for all and that trickle down has not worked for 30 years and isn’t going to start working now. When people don’t have money to spend the economy suffers, businesses close, and people lose their jobs.