FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Virginia’s Big Dig? Union Protesters Disrupt Congressman’s Press Conference
On Monday, members of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) protested a press conference held by Rep. Frank Wolf [R-VA] due to his opposition to the building of an underground Metrorail station at Dulles Airport that he says will cost $300 million more than an above ground station.
The press conference was scheduled to urge the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to overturn their decision to build the underground station as well as to urge the Authority to reverse its decision to build using a discriminatory, union-only Project Labor Agreement* (PLA).
Back in December, Wolf stated that he did not want the Dulles rail project to become “Virginia’s version of the ‘Big Dig.’”
On Monday, union militants interrupted Wolf’s press conference almost from the outset:
In what was supposed to be an afternoon press conference focused on a call to reverse plans to construct an underground Metrorail station at Dulles Airport, attention instead was turned to the more than 100 protestors who showed up at Rep. Frank Wolf’s (R-VA-10) Herndon office to make their voices heard.
With chants of “Cut Wolf’s pay,” protestors representing the Laborers’ International Union of North America objected to the congressman’s criticism of a Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board vote to require Project Labor Agreement bids on Phase 2 of Metrorail construction to Dulles. A PLA is a type of pre-hire collective bargaining agreement that establishes the terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project. While contract terms for the Phase 1 project had similar language, Wolf pointed out in a letter to MWAA board chairman Charles Snelling, “it was entered into voluntarily by Dulles Transit Partners and Bechtel after the contract was signed, and expressly exempted merit shop contractors from agreeing to the PLA.
Previously, Wolf had called for the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Transportation to audit the Dulles Metrorail project and the U.S Government Accountability Office to conduct a comprehensive review of MWAA’s operations.
MWAA had a chance to cut more than $600 million from the project and chose not to. I am disappointed and share the concerns of state and the local partners.
At this point, watching construction unions protest to spend more taxpayer money–while discriminating against union-free workers–is becoming an almost everyday occurrence.
This was only Monday’s protest.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776