This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner:

Good news for faithful Metro riders – DC Metro is making it easier for customers to cram exercise into their busy schedules. Instead of using private contractors to fix broken escalators, DC Metro uses overpaid union labor to ensure inefficiency in all repair attempts.

These union contract workers make certain Metro provides rush hour crowds with muscle cramps and back-aches as they hike up broken steps. If Metro decided to hire private sector construction workers, the escalators would be fixed promptly, clearing customer congestion, and denying the public the forced-opportunity to define their calf muscles.

Although the DC Metro is hoping to cut $154 million out of their budget, they are increasing wages for unionized employees by $44 million to keep customers stepping. Just twenty-five minutes on those broken down escalators, and you will have burned off about 150 calories.

On Wednesday April 29th the Metro website reported that fifty-three escalators, and six elevators, were experiencing problems and still await repair. Several of which, are not scheduled for maintenance until mid June to July.

DuPont Circle is amongst the more frequented of stops with infamous escalator malfunctions. Riders who use the DuPont Circle stop daily face a 170 ft. ascend. To put this figure into perspective, a round-trip use is equivalent to the height of an average Redwood tree.

Not everyone is appreciative of Metro’s union-backed “fit initiative”. According to Metro, in the current fiscal year Metro has received over 5,332 Metrorail complaints – most of which concern escalators.

Unfortunately, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) isn’t offering this new “fitness plan” for free. The Metro may not be increasing fare costs, but don’t be fooled; Metro is receiving $230 million dollars in federal stimulus money.

Originally, the stimulus money was intended to save jobs that the DC Metro proposed to cut to help render their budget deficit. However, WMATA has decided to spend taxpayer money on those employees who manufacture Metro Buses. Most of these employees aren’t even located within the region. Yet another example of creating work, not jobs.

Brian M Johnson, MPA is executive director of the Alliance for Worker Freedom and author of the 2007 Index of Worker Freedom. Co-authored by Rachel Sessa.