Local Wis. Union Backs Down, Will Allow Republicans In Labor Day Parade

The local AFL-CIO council in Wausau, Wisconsin, has now backed down from its previous declaration that local Republican politicians would not be allowed to march in the city’s Labor Day Parade — following a response by the mayor that the labor council would have to reimburse the city for its share of co-sponsoring the annual public event.

The Wausau Daily Herald reports:

In an email statement issued shortly before midnight, Marathon County Labor Council President Randy Radtke said everyone will be permitted to march in the parade “because we don’t want to have community groups and school bands affected.”

“We didn’t start this fight in Wisconsin, but were responding to anti-worker positions and policies supported by local Republican politicians, including those who have complained about not being invited,” Radtke’s statement read. “With the track records that [state Sen.] Pam Galloway, [U.S. Rep.] Sean Duffy, [Gov.] Scott Walker, and [state Rep.] Jerry Petrowski have all put together this year, they should be ashamed to even show their faces at a Labor Day parade.”

On Monday, Marathon County Central Labor Council president Randy Radtke disinvited local Republican politicians, as a reaction against Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union legislation, saying in a statement:

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.

In response, Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple, who identifies as a political independent, released a statement pointing out that the city is a co-sponsor of the event — paying for an insurance premium, erecting a stage, and providing city services at no charge to the labor council — and wanted the event to be non-partisan.

“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,” Tipple said in his statement. “And therefore, we encourage the event organizer to invite all interested parties, or reimburse the city for other costs.”

The estimated costs, Tipple told TPM, could have ranged from $1,500-$2,000.

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