- (Photo: AP/Andy Manis)
Republican elected officials and candidates will be allowed to march in the Wausau, Wis., Labor Day Parade after labor officials reserved an earlier decision to prohibit GOP lawmakers from participating in the event.
This reversal comes after Mayor Jim Tipple told the labor council that taxpayer dollars would not be used for the parade if Republicans were banned. Instead, the labor council would have to reimburse the city for its share of co-sponsoring the public event.
The banning of a political party is against public policy and “is not in the best interest of all citizens of the City of Wausau,” Tipple, a political Independent, said in a statement.
The Wausau Daily Herald reports that Marathon County Labor Council AFL-CIO President, Randy Radtke, sent an email out saying that everyone, regardless of political affiliation, would 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 on WAOW-TV 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, Radtke said in a statement he had disinvited local Republican politicians, as a payback to Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union legislation.
“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 chose 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,” Radtke continued.
“Why would (Republicans) even want to show their face in the labor parade anyways?” the spokesperson for the Wisconsin Democrats asked. “Republicans are the enemies of labor. They harm workers and attack collective bargaining.”
When asked to respond to the critics’ comments regarding the unions’ initial decision, a spokesperson for the Wisconsin Democratic Party who answered the phone declared:
“Maturity? What does maturity have to do with this? The Republicans are the ones who are immature,” the unidentified Democrat said.
“Your Christian readers will be interested to know that the Republicans are not pursuing Christ-like policies. Dignity of the worker is a key element in Christianity and Republicans are obviously the enemy on this,” said the staffer before abruptly terminating the phone call with The Christian Post:
Republican Rep. Sean Duffy, one of the disinvited Republicans and representative of the district, told Fox News it's time to start moving on.
"It's been a little contentious in Wisconsin, but we all just went through a whole recall election and the folks in Wausau, they're sick of partisanship," he said Tuesday. "They want to see people start working together. They want to see all the bickering set aside."
He went on to emphasize the need for cooperation on both sides in order to create jobs and declared that some union members were even opposed to the GOP ban.
Critics of the initial decision to ban GOP members have also used the words “petty,” “immature,” and “thuggish” to describe labor’s handling of the parade.
Republican State Senator Pam Galloway, who represents the district where the parade takes place, told Fox News, “We’re looking very forward to being there.”
“We’ll be there with bells on and be out there talking with the people and just having a great time like it should have been from the beginning.”