Local Wisconsin Mayor To Unions: Don’t Kick GOP Out Of Labor Day Parade — Or Pay The Costs

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The local AFL-CIO council in Wausau, Wisconsin, is getting some pushback for its decision to disinvite local Republican politicians from the upcoming Labor Day parade as a result of Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union legislation. Now, the mayor of that city is demanding that the unions re-invite the Republicans — or reimburse the city for the costs it has agreed to bear for the public event.

On Monday, Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple released the following statement:

The City is a co-sponsor of the Labor Day parade event, because we provided the payment for the insurance premium for the event, and we agreed to erect a stage and provide city services at no cost to the Marathon County Central Labor Council.

The banning of a political party from participation at any event co-sponsored by the City is against public policy and not in the best interest of all the citizens of the City of Wausau. And therefore, we encourage the event organizer to invite all interested parties, or reimburse the city for other costs.

In an interview with TPM, Tipple said that the city’s costs for the parade could vary, based on the parade route, but typically range from $1,500-$2,000.Tipple also said that his decision was not based on any politics of his own.

“I am not a card-carrying Republican or a Democrat. It’s a non-partisan office, and I classify myself as an independent,” said Tipple. “So this is not a political fight for me; it’s all about inclusiveness in a process. And this is truly a community parade, and we should keep politics out of it so it’s there for all to enjoy.”

The Marathon County Central Labor Council could not immediately be reached for comment on Tipple’s ultimatum.

Previously, the Council put out this statement from president Randy Radtke, explaining its decision:

The Wausau Labor Day Parade is a time to celebrate the working men and women of Wisconsin. It is not a political event or stop on the campaign trail. It is a time for working families to come together to celebrate their hard work and a time where we recognize the labor movement for all they have given us — the weekend, the 40 hour work week, child labor protection, a safe work environment. It should come as no surprise that organizers choose not to invite elected officials who have openly attacked worker’s rights or stood idly by while their political party fought to strip public workers of their right to collectively bargain.

(Via the Wausau Daily Herald)

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