Republicans unwelcome at Wausau Labor Day paradeFor apparently the first time in its history, Republicans will not be allowed to march in Wausau's traditional Labor Day parade.
By: Glen Moberg, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
(WAUSAU) For apparently the first time in its history, Republicans will not be allowed to march in Wausau's traditional Labor Day parade.
The parade is organized each year by the Marathon County Labor Council, a coalition of about thirty local unions. Republican office holders have always been a part of it, but not this year. Randy Radtke, president of the Labor Council, says it's because of their support of Gov. Walker's move to strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights.
"They went along with Scott Walker's attack on workers, you know, with the attack on workers' rights,” Radtke said. “I didn't even really think they would be asking to be in our Labor Day parade this year because of what happened down in Madison."
Freshman state Sen. Pam Galloway is one of the Republicans who would have liked to march.
"I think it's disappointing because a parade is supposed to be a family/people-oriented event and they've introduced some partisan rancor into it,” she said. “After all we are their elected officials."
Galloway says Republicans voted to remove privileges from union workers, not fundamental rights.
"Well the only thing that we did was remove the collective bargaining privileges, and I call them privileges, for the government workers,” Galloway said. “Remember that only about 15 percent of the working population is unionized, and Republicans represent all workers." Radtke says Galloway isn't being excluded just because she's a Republican.
"There were some Republicans like Dale Schultz that went against their party and Scott Walker,” he said. “If that was the case up here, we would have let them in."
The Labor Council also refused to allow freshman Republican Congressman Sean Duffy to march in the parade, in part because he didn't condemn the governor's actions.
UPDATE: The City of Wausau is now threatening to charge the Labor Council for parade-related expenses, unless the event is open to all political parties.