It seems Wisconsin labor leaders are still fuming over the recent collective bargaining bill signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker. Not only did they try to recall six state senators, but now one county labor council president in Wausau has banned Republican lawmakers from the city's Labor Day Parade.
That leader, Randy Radtke, is upset GOP lawmakers supported the legislation signed by Republican Governor Scott Walker on issues Walker campaigned on in the 2010 gubernatorial election, where Walker won with 52% of the electorate.
According to WAOW-TV, Radtke says Labor Day is about honoring hard-working people and, in his opinion, "Republicans don't represent those values:"
"They only want something to do with us one day out of the year," Radtke told the outlet. "What about the other 364? What about those? Why now..why this one day?"
WAOW sums it up:
The council president says that after Governor Walker signed the bill, stripping most union workers of their rights to collectively bargain, a bill, he says was pushed through thanks to the support of area Republicans, he decided to ban them from the parade.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, however, Labor Day is about more than unions. Instead, it's "dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers," and that "it constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."
Gov.Walker signed a two-year $66 billion budget deal in June that will balance the state’s $3 billion shortfall without raising taxes. Democrats and organized labor have criticized the bill Gov. Walker signed in May which they claim eliminates nearly all collective bargaining for public unions. According to the Rockefeller Institute, state government employment has dropped 5.4 percent in Wisconsin over the past year, but local government employment has risen 2.7 percent. Both figures are the largest decrease and gain in each category in the nation.
The Marathon County Central Labor Council sponsors the Wausau Labor Day Parade, and Radtke has indicated that if there were Republicans from Central Wisconsin who supported laborers rights, they would have been invited to walk in the parade. The council is made up of about 30 local unions from the Marathon County area.
"Usually they've been in the parade, but it seems like they only want to stand with us one day a year, and the other 364 days they don't really care," Radtke told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"It should come as no surprise that organizers choose 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."
Snubbed local Republicans include U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, state Sen. Pam Galloway and state Rep. Jerry Petrowski.
Considering the civility that liberal protestors have shown to those who don't agree with them over the last year in Wisconsin, NewsBusters Tom Blumer asks why Republicans would even want to go:
"After all, memories of death threats (ignored by the broadcast media, of course), other threats, shoving, being chased down and trapped by hecklers, and other items detailed by Brent Bozell six months ago during the ultimately successful attempt to pass Governor Scott Walker's budget repair and collective bargaining reform bill are surely fresh in every state GOP legislator's mind."
WAOW reports that reactions to the council's announcement have been mixed:
"'We've had some negative comments but mostly it has been overwhelmingly positive,' Radtke explains.
William Gau, a Wausau resident says, 'I can understand the emotions and why the council would be upset. But, I don't necessarily agree that them limiting the situation is right.'"
The usually fun, family-orientated parade is set for 4:00p.m. September 5.