If You Are a Republican, You Can’t Be a Part of A Labor Day Parade.

If you are an elected Republican official in the area of Wausau, Wisconsin, unions and trade groups have a message for you: stay away from the annual Labor Day Parade.

That’s because the head of the group that sponsors the Wausau Labor Day Parade, the Marathon County Central Labor Council, is telling Republican lawmakers from the area that they’re not welcome Sept. 5.

That’s right, the side of the political spectrum that tells everyone that they are all inclusive and welcome diversity and diverse points of view is banning Republicans from appearing in the parade because of the dust up with the teacher’s union in Wisconsin.

Just last week, union protesters allegedly super-glued the locks of a school at which Governor Walker was going to appear in order to praise the teachers, parents and students.

The doors of an inner city Milwaukee Catholic school were super glued shut Thursday ahead of a visit by Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

“Some of these folks super glued our front doors at the prep school,” Messmer Prepatory School President Br. Bob Smith told WTMJ Newsradio.

Classy, huh?

That type of classlessness is exhibited in the decision to exclude elected representatives from a parade.

The decision is the continuation of a political blood feud between Republicans and Wisconsin labor unions, stemming from the contentious teacher’s union battle last year. State Republicans, headed by Governor, Scott Walker, have worked to limit some of the powers of labor unions, including a handcuffing of workers’ ability to exercise collective bargaining.

“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,” said Randy Radtke, president of the council. “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.”

Actually, it comes as no surprise to us that the unions and their leaders choose to ignore reality.

For example, take a look at this:

In a statement, Radtke added that the parade is intended to celebrate working men and women and what the labor movement has given them: weekends, a 40-hour workweek, child labor protection and a safe working environment.

Reading Radtke’s statement, one would think that teachers have suddenly been forced to work 16 hours a day in a locked jail cell. In actuality, the end of collective bargaining meant something much different….. and much better:

Then there are work rules. “In the collective bargaining agreement, high school teachers only had to teach five periods a day, out of seven,” says [Kaukauna School District President Todd] Arnoldussen. “Now, they’re going to teach six.” In addition, the collective bargaining agreement specified that teachers had to be in the school 37 1/2 hours a week. Now, it will be 40 hours.

The changes mean Kaukauna can reduce the size of its classes — from 31 students to 26 students in high school and from 26 students to 23 students in elementary school. In addition, there will be more teacher time for one-on-one sessions with troubled students. Those changes would not have been possible without the much-maligned changes in collective bargaining.

If, as the teachers’ unions always claim, that collective bargaining will hurt the children (that is a leap of logic we have never understood) then why are the sizes of classes growing smaller?

The Kaukauna School District alone went from running a massive $400,000 deficit to a $1.5 million dollar surplus.

In the past, teachers and other staff at Kaukauna were required to pay 10 percent of the cost of their health insurance coverage and none of their pension costs. Now, they’ll pay 12.6 percent of the cost of their coverage (still well below rates in much of the private sector) and also contribute 5.8 percent of salary to their pensions. The changes will save the school board an estimated $1.2 million this year, according to board President Todd Arnoldussen.

In the past, Kaukauna’s agreement with the teachers union required the school district to purchase health insurance coverage from something called WEA Trust — a company created by the Wisconsin teachers union. “It was in the collective bargaining agreement that we could only negotiate with them,” says Arnoldussen. “Well, you know what happens when you can only negotiate with one vendor.” This year, WEA Trust told Kaukauna that it would face a significant increase in premiums.

Now, the collective bargaining agreement is gone, and the school district is free to shop around for coverage. And all of a sudden, WEA Trust has changed its position. “With these changes, the schools could go out for bids, and lo and behold, WEA Trust said, ‘We can match the lowest bid,'” says Republican state Rep. Jim Steineke, who represents the area and supports the Walker changes. At least for the moment, Kaukauna is staying with WEA Trust, but saving substantial amounts of money.

How many teachers can be hired with an additional $1.5 million? How much smaller can class sizes be? How many more books can we put in the libraries? How many more new textbooks can be bought?

And that is what the unions are truly complaining about. It is not that they are over worked and underpaid. (The top salary is around $80,000 per year, with about $35,000 in additional benefits, for 184 days of work per year — summers off.) The teachers’ union fight in Wisconsin was about power, money and control. The unions wanted it all at the expense of the education system.

The teachers’ unions lost that fight and in many ways, the people and children of Wisconsin won.

Because of that, the unions are now saying “we are taking our ball and going home.”

Or, “you can’t be in our parade.”

And that is fine. People have the right to associate with whom they want. We are not denying them that right.

But Labor Day is supposed to celebrate labor in all its forms. Do we value a worker who is not in a union any less simply because he makes a choice not to be in a union? Shouldn’t we be celebrating the American worker, and not just the American union worker?

The unions believe it is they and they alone who built the county. Perhaps that is the history the unionized teachers want in the classroom. We don’t know. Nothing could be further from the truth, but truth is not a strong point of unions.

The fact of the matter is that once again we see that the unions have ratcheted up the rhetoric and the partisanship of not only an issue, but of a holiday.

We believe that not only are the unions sending a direct message that Republicans are not welcome in their world, but also anyone that does not believe as they do is not welcome. Non-union workers are not welcome.

We believe that position is against the spirit of America, and against the true, red, white and blue, American worker.

2 Responses to “If You Are a Republican, You Can’t Be a Part of A Labor Day Parade.”

  1. Jerry says:

    “Union leaders say GOP now welcome at Labor Day parade”

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