September 1, 2011

Wausau, Wis. Labor Council Bitterly Reverses Ban on GOP Pols’ Labor Day Parade Participation

In Wausau, Wisconsin, after being told by the town’s mayor that it couldn’t exclude GOP politicians from a Labor Day parade unless it reimbursed the city for its out-of-pocket costs (noted Tuesday night at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the Marathon County Labor Council reversed its earlier decision and will allow them to participate.

Labor Council President Randy Radtke is not handling it well, something readers of the Associated Press’s terse three-paragraph locally distributed story predictably won’t learn. Reuters and Fox News have far more complete coverage. Here is the portion of Mr. Radtke’s rant carried at Reuters:

“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 said in the statement, posted on the website of WAOW-TV in Wausau.

“Just like we’d hoped, our decision has stimulated a great debate in our community about the meaning of Labor Day,” Radtke said.

“But because we don’t want to wind up having community groups and school bands affected in the process, we will let everyone march and hope these Republican politicians finally take away some lessons about what Labor Day really means. We know their actions and voting records speak more loudly than waving at any parade.”

Reuters clearly identified the contentious legislation passed by Wisconsin’s legislature earlier this year as being about public-sector workers’ collective-bargaining rights. Yesterday, its story’s opening paragraph gave readers the erroneous impression that the law applies to all unionized workers.

Here is additional Radtke verbiage found at Fox News:

“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.”

Kudos to Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple for his principled insistence that an exclusionary Labor Day parade would have to foot the bill for city services used.

Before Mr. Radtke tries to take ownership of Labor Day in Wausau again, he should consider the following words from Samuel Gompers, whom writer Aaron Steelman accurately described in 1997 as “the greatest friend labor has ever known”:

“Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country,” said Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor. “All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man’s prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day…is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation.”

Contrary to what you and your “brothers” believe, Mr. Radtke, Labor Day is not exclusively about unionized workers. It’s about all workers, and all producers.

Readers would be interested to know that the quote from Mr. Gompers, who recognized the need for unionized business to progress and make profits while opposing the welfare state and heavy-handed government regulation, was scrubbed from the Department of Labor’s “History of Labor Day” web page last year after appearing there during at least the previous nine. That would appear to be because Hilda Solis’s Department of Labor is now populated with more than a few Randy Radtke’s — and we’re decidedly not better off for it.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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1 Comment

  1. There’s a big difference between being anti-union and anti-worker. My union doesn’t get that either.

    deskbox

    Comment by deskbox — September 1, 2011 @ 9:25 am

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