City slaps labor…over a parade
Picture this, if you will. Wausau, WI has slapped a local labor council around a bit over that town’s Labor Day parade. The reason? The labor council said that Republican politicians weren’t welcome due to their party’s stance over collective bargaining. The only problem with that stance is that the city is the one apparently footing the bill for the parade.
Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple told Reuters on Tuesday that the decision to exclude elected Republicans “flies in the face of public policy.”
“This is not a political rally, it’s a parade, for God’s sake,” Tipple said, noting that taxpayer money is used by the city to pay for staging the event. Tipple’s office is nonpartisan, and he claims no affiliation with either political party.
He said the annual cost of the parade, including insurance, setting up and taking down a stage, and police personnel, runs anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 each year.
Obviously, I agree with Tipple. More importantly, as Wausau has apparently made clear, public money shouldn’t be used to advance anyone group’s political agenda. By excluding a group based on their stand on an issue, you’ve essentially done just that. Now, if the labor council was footing the bill, that’s a whole other situation. It seems that Wausau doesn’t disagree with that either, since the choice is now to either allow GOP politicians to participate or to pay for it themselves.
“It should come as no surprise that organizers choose not to invite elected officials who have openly attacked workers’ rights or stood idly by while their political party fought to strip public workers of their right to collectively bargain,” Marathon County Labor Council President Randy Radtke said in announcing the decision.
No, it shouldn’t. However, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the city isn’t going to pay for you to advance your political agenda with taxpayer dollars…some of which came from people who supported those officials. That’s how it should work everywhere. If you want to advance an agenda, use your own money. Plain and simple.
Of course, Wisconsin is now well known for battling over collective bargaining for public workers by this point, so Mayor Tipple’s stance was probably not the easiest one to make. However, it was the right one.