July 24, 2014

GOP can march in Labor Day parade

Everyone will get to march in Wausau’s Labor Day parade after all, after the Marathon County Labor Council  dropped a policy that would have banned Republicans from participating.

The move comes after Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple threatened to pull city funding and resources for the parade. Tipple says it should be an inclusive event and limiting who can march when taxpayer dollars are being used to support the parade is bad public policy.

The Labor Council wanted to block Republicans from marching in the parade because of their support for a change in state law approved earlier this year that greatly reduced the collective bargaining powers of public employee unions.

In a statement released Wednesday morning, Council President Randy Radtke said “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. With the track records that Pam Galloway, Sean Duffy, Scott Walker, and Jerry Petrowski have all put together this year, they should be ashamed to even show their faces at a Labor Day parade.”

Republican Congressman Sean Duffy (R-WI) denied that he’s anti-worker, arguing that the focus of his first term in office has been on creating jobs.

AUDIO: Rep. Sean Duffy (:13)

Radtke says there have been countless offers from across the area to help pay for parade costs if the city revoked funding. However, he says they don’t “want to wind up having community groups and school bands affected in the process,” so the decision was made to “let everyone march and hope these Republican politicians finally take away some lessons about what Labor Day really means.”

Radtke says the decision to block GOP politicians from marching did what they hoped by stimulating “a great debate in our community about the meaning of Labor Day.”

AUDIO: Matt Lehman reports (:36)