UPDATE: Labor Council Changes Mind, GOP Allowed in Parade

UPDATED Wednesday, August 31, 2011 --- 8:55 a.m.

WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) -- The Marathon County Labor Council has reversed a decision that excluded Republican politicians from participating in the Labor Day parade in Wausau.

Labor Council President Randy Radtke earlier said Republican elected officials were not invited because they supported changes to collective bargaining for public employee unions. Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple responded by threatening to withhold financial support for the parade unless everyone was allowed to participate.

WSAW-TV (http://bit.ly/nbfCj4 ) says Radtke released a statement Wednesday which said the Labor Council didn't want community groups and school bands affected, so Republicans will be allowed in the parade.

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Information from: WSAW-TV, http://www.wsaw.com

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Wednesday, August 31, 2011 --- 8:10 a.m.

Late Tuesday night, organizers of the Labor Day parade in Wausau backed away from an earlier decision to bar Republican lawmakers from participating in the event.

According to Marathon County Labor Council President Randy Radtke, Republican-elected officials were not invited to participate in the parade because they supported changes to collective bargaining for public employee unions.

However, late Tuesday night, Radtke released this statement:

Labor Day is meant to celebrate the accomplishments of labor for the citizens of our country: things like better workplace safety, some retirement security through Social Security, higher pay, and some time off so workers can spend it with their families. These things have raised workplace conditions at union and non-union companies alike, and collective bargaining helps keep them strong.

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.

Just like we'd hoped, our decision has stimulated a great debate in our community about the meaning of Labor Day. But because we don't want to wind up having community groups and school bands affected in the process, we will let everyone march and hope these Republican politicians finally take away some lessons about what Labor Day really means. We know their actions and voting records speak more loudly than waving at any parade.

We have had countless offers from across our area pour in to help pay for parade costs. While we thank everyone for your generosity, we urge you instead to use it to support charities that are helping working class people who may be laid off or struggling due to the difficult economy.

Randy Radtke
President Marathon County Labor Council AFL-CIO

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UPDATED Tuesday, August 30, 2011 --- 6:45 a.m.

WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) -- The mayor of Wausau says the city won't help with the cost of staging the annual Labor Day parade unless a decision to ban Republican politicians is reversed.

Marathon County Labor Council President Randy Radtke earlier said Republican elected officials were not invited to participate in the parade because they supported changes to collective bargaining for public employee unions.

Mayor Jim Tipple says the city provides an insurance premium, a stage setup and police traffic control for the parade. WAOW-TV (http://bit.ly/q5B5pD ) says Tipple will require the Labor Council to reimburse the city for those expenses if its decision isn't reversed.

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Information from: WAOW-TV, http://www.waow.com

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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Posted: Saturday, August 27, 2011 --- 6:47p.m.

WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) -- Organizers of the Labor Day parade in Wausau say Republican lawmakers aren't welcome in this year's event.

The Marathon County Central Labor Council sponsors the Sept. 5 parade. The council includes about 30 local unions from the Marathon County area.

Council president Randy Radtke says they choose not to invite elected officials who have "openly attacked worker's rights" or did nothing when state public workers lost most of their right to collectively bargain.

Republican Rep. Sean Duffy's office received notice from parade organizers this week that no Republicans would be invited to walk in the parade. Duffy's chief of staff, Brandon Moody, tells WAOW-TV (http://bit.ly/nhXbft) the congressman was hoping differences could be set aside for the family-friendly event.

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Information from: WAOW-TV, http://www.waow.com

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.