There's good news for subway commuters who are waiting to use the Yellow Line, but don't try to go down into the Archives station soon to catch a train.
The bitter 6 1/2-month strike by the United Electrical Workers against the Westinghouse Air Brake Co. (Wabco) plant in suburban Pittsburgh has been ended by a 2,692-to-347 vote of union members. The plant will reopen later this week, clearing the way for resumed production of brakes for cars being built for Washington's Metro and other transit systems.
Metro had hoped that, by now, it would be receiving the first of about 300 cars ordered from an Italian car maker, containing Wabco brake equipment.
The first group of those, once accepted, would permit the Yellow Line to open, connecting the Pentagon with the L'Enfant Plaza, Archives and Gallery Place stations on Washington's lower Seventh Street. For thousands who commute from Northern Virginia to central Washington, that would permit a shortcut from the current roundabout route through Rosslyn.
Later deliveries from the same batch of cars would permit the opening of Blue Line service from National Airport south to Huntington and the extension of the Red Line from Van Ness toward its ultimate destination at Shady Grove.
Cody Pfanstiehl, the chief Metro spokesman, calling the end of the strike "certainly good news," said it was too early to know when the new cars will be received. He said he expects a report to be delivered to the Metro board next week. The earliest time is likely to be sometime next year, he said.
The accepted union contract at Wabco calls for a $3.17 hourly pay increase over the three-year duration of the contract, an uncapped cost-of-living escalator and improved fringe benefits. Wabco's parent company, American Standard Inc., had sought 10 work-rule changes, including the introduction of work-monitoring computers. The contract was agreed to after a session at the U.S. Mediation and Conciliation Service in Washington.