The regional authority overseeing the $6 billion Dulles rail project dealt a blow to union labor on Wednesday — a day after voters in Wisconsin and California did much the same.
The authority’s move to quash union-friendly language for a crucial component of one of the largest public works projects in the country comes on the heels of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s historic win in that state’s first-ever recall election — a vote triggered by his move to sharply curb the collective bargaining rights of public-sector unions.
Meanwhile, voters in both San Jose and San Diego approved ballot initiatives that scale back retirement benefits for public workers. The union representing city employees in San Diego unsuccessfully fought to keep that city’s measure off the California primary ballot.
The Dulles rail development, while more nuanced, represents a similar example of pushback against unions.
The issue divided members of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) board largely on ideological lines between those who support and oppose requiring project labor agreements (PLAs) — pre-project collective bargaining pacts made between contractors and unions that outline conditions and wages for workers.