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Wausau Unions to Let GOP March in Parade

While we were sleeping…

Organizers of the Labor Day parade in Wausau backtracked on Tuesday night from an earlier decision to bar Republican lawmakers from participating in the event.

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 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.”

On Tuesday afternoon, one day after demanding organizers allow members of all political parties to participate or lose financial support for the event from the city, Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple said the decision was intended to make the parade all inclusive.

“I don’t think the Labor Day parade was ever intended to be a political statement,” Tipple said Tuesday afternoon. “It’s meant to honor workers, who may be predominantly Democratic. But we’ve got Republican, Green and Independent workers here, too.”

In the past four years, the city provided a staff to assemble a stage for the event and guide traffic around the parade route, and paid an insurance premium of about $400.

If the labor council didn’t make the change, Wausau officials estimated the organization could owe the city anywhere from $1,300 to $2,300, based on insurance, equipment and staffing costs from the past four Labor Day parades.

The Wausau Police Department also assists with traffic control during the parade. The city did not provide an estimate Tuesday for costs associated with the police presence.

Must say, I’m a little shocked to see the Marathon Co. Labor folks bend like this.  On Twitter last night, DPW’s 2nd Vice Chair Jef Hall went so far as to say he’d give them $25 to help pay for the costs.

Actually, I’m a tad surprised DPW didn’t just call them up and say, “Hey. We made a boatload in donations over the first half of the year thanks to Scott Walker and these clowns, how much do you need?”

Unless of course…the money’s gone already.  (Has anyone asked DPW if they still have that huge war chest anymore, or did they blow it all during the recalls?)

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