Wisconsin Unions Reverse Decision to Bar Republicans from Labor Day Parade

Published August 31, 2011

| FoxNews.com

After barring Republican officials from their local Labor Day event, a group of unions in Wisconsin decided not to rain on the parade.

The Marathon County Labor Council, a coalition of unions which sponsors the parade in Wassau, Wis., had excluded Republican politicians from participating in a Labor Day parade in retaliation for legislation earlier this year that weakened the collective bargaining power of public employee unions.

But the group reversed the decision late Tuesday after Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple threatened to withhold financial support for the parade if everyone could not participate.

Labor Council President Randy Radtke issued a statement to the local newspaper that Republicans will be allowed 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 said, according to Wausau Daily Herald.

“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.

But state Sen. 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,” she said.

Galloway said tension still exists between Democrats and Republicans over the legislation but both sides realize they have to work together.

“I think that one of the reasons the labor council may have reversed their decision was they realized it wasn’t appropriate to inject this political vitriol into a fun event,” she said. "I think the people in the state of Wisconsin are wanting us to work together and that’s going to be our plan."

The political wrangling over the collective bargaining law led to a round of recalls this month that resulted in a gain of two Senate seats for Democrats but failed to change the majority in the Senate or the partisan dynamic in the state. 

Some have threatened to mount a recall campaign against Republican Gov. Scott Walker, whose events have been repeatedly disrupted by protesters in recent months.

A new lawsuit against the law was filed after the state Supreme Court upheld the legislation.

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