Union activists showed up at a Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) press conference in April to speak out against Republicans' view that the Dulles Rail project should be allowed to pay non-union wages. The labor issue could come to a head now that the project needs a handout from the state of Virgina.
In fact, the negotiations have only just begun.
The Airports Authority voted to scrap the underground Metro station at Dulles Airport on the condition that Virginia contribute an additional $150 million to the Dulles Metrorail project.
Without this money, Authority officials say they can't make the project's financial ends meet.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says he won't even discuss contributing more money until the Airports Authority makes changes to its labor agreement. In April, the Authority passed a labor agreement that would require all contractors working on the project to conform to union-level standards for wages, benefits, and skills.
The Authority says this will streamline the project's operations, but McDonnell says the agreement might violate Virginia's right-to-work laws. The area's labor unions have entrenched themselves on the issue, however, which could potentially cause a standoff between MWAA officials, state and local lawmakers, and union representatives.