Wausau mayor to unions: Pay up if you ban Republicans from Labor Day parade

Yesterday I wrote about the decision by the Marathon County Labor Council to ban Republicans from the Wausau, Wisconsin parade on Labor Day.  The mayor of Wausau has responded with an ultimatum to the union board — reimburse the city for all costs or reinvite the Republicans.  WSAW reports on Jim Tipple’s challenge to the union activists and the potential for an end to the Labor Day parade altogether:

A parade organizer with the Marathon County Labor Council made it clear some Republican lawmakers aren’t invited. The reason: not supporting workers’ collective bargaining rights back in February.

But Mayor Jim Tipple says because the city of Wausau pays for a portion of the parade’s costs including liability insurance, the event is required to be non-partisan.

“The city does sponsor the parade[,] we have staff that close streets put up barricades police protection,’ says Tipple.

Tipple issued this statement:

The City is a co-sponsor of the Labor Day parade event, because we provided the payment for the insurance premium for the event, and we agreed to erect a stage and provide city services at no cost to the Marathon County Central Labor Council.

The banning of a political party from participation at any event co-sponsored by the City is against public policy and not in the best interest of all the citizens of the City of Wausau. And therefore, we encourage the event organizer to invite all interested parties, or reimburse the city for other costs.

WSAW’s report indicates that Tipple and the labor board have entered into negotiations over the direction of the Labor Day event, and the mayor thinks it will be resolved shortly. I’m guessing that after blowing tens of millions of dollars on failed recall efforts, the unions won’t have a lot of cash to reimburse Wausau for its costs, and that Republicans will once again be invited to participate in the parade. That should set up this event as something to watch on an otherwise slow news day.