Virginia Republicans are holding the second phase of the metrorail project to Dulles International Airport hostage with hopes of making names for themselves on the Conservative stage. Questioning the legality of the Project Labor Agreement (PLA) that has been entered in to in order to complete Phase II (just as Phase I) on time and on budget, Governor Robert McDonnell, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, and Representative Frank Wolf are all speaking out.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority decided to use a PLA to maximize efficiency when building Phase I of the project. Phase I has exceeded safety goals, lowered overtime by adding more night shifts and “definitely saved money” according to the Dulles Transit Partners’ executive director. It makes sense for Virginia Republicans to take a stand even in the face of success according to The Washington Post,
“In a way, it’s understandable that the politicians should latch onto the PLA. Ever since November’s elections, anti-labor politicians in Virginia have watched from the sidelines as their counterparts in other states captured headlines and soaked up right-wing applause for their efforts to hobble union activity. Mostly, the Virginians were at a disadvantage because there isn’t much more the Old Dominion can do to restrict unions.
Virginia Republicans have a long history of anti-worker behaviors. Stopping a metro project because it benefits them in the political eye should be expected. Despite the success of Phase I of the project, anti-union politicians would rather see the area hurt than labor make good on their promise to efficiently complete the project while effectively lowering taxpayer costs. It all seems to be part of Virginia’s plan to be the shining beacon on the hill of “Right-to-Work.”
Of the 22 states that have passed right-to-work laws under the Taft-Hartley Act, probably none is more militantly right-to-work than we are (attempts are currently afoot to enshrine right-to-work in our state Constitution, rather than leaving it as merely law of the land in the Virginia Code). It’s not coincidental that the anti-union National Right to Work Committee chose to locate its headquarters just outside the Beltway in Springfield, rather than in labor-friendly Maryland or Washington. Waving the bloody shirt of “Big Labor” is a time-honored political tactic on this side of the Potomac.
At a time when the MWAA, Metro, state and local governments are all negotiating the financial package to begin phase II Virginia Republicans are seeing this as their only opportunity to make a stand. It makes little to no sense to halt something that seems to be working, especially at a time when jobs are hard to come by, but the bulldozer that is the GOP war against unions doesn’t take a break for common sense. It keeps on rolling forward, as long as no union workers are driving it