In his last column (“Mytheology: ’Wesploiting’ our bleeding hearts,” April 29, Volume CXLIII, Number 44), Mytheos Holt decided to apply something he called “scrutiny” to the article I had written about the Physical Plant march (“’No Wesploitation’: Physical Plant workers protest contract,” April 22, Volume CXLIII, Number 42) and decided that he had revealed that, and I quote, “if one actually examines the union’s arguments, one finds gaping holes which make the arguments smack more of a cynical appeal to Wesleyan students’ predisposition towards ’social justice’ than of a principled fight against exploitation.” Despite his rhetorical flair, Holt essentially made two points: there were inconsistencies in the statements of one of my sources, Dean Canalia; and that it is hypothetically possible for someone to end up profiting from an annual 2.5 percent raise for three years, a $2,500 bonus, and doubling cost of insurance. I don’t want to speak for Mr. Canalia, who is perfectly capable of explaining himself. I’m sure he has more detailed figures than I do. But I can still take Holt to task for his dishonesty.
It was disingenuous of Holt to suggest that he had somehow blown the lid off dishonesty on the part of the union by using invented figures to show that someone might profit from this contract. He proved absolutely nothing. The figures he imagined were laughably implausible for blue-collar workers. And this calculation does not take into account rising healthcare costs or the 4 percent inflation rate. He did manage to reveal that I made a mistake in failing to provide concrete figures. But when he claims that he has proven that the union is dishonest, he is simply lying.
Now, Holt also faults my article for relying too heavily on sources inside of the union or friendly to it. I acknowledge that this was a problem in the article. I tried to avoid it. I contacted numerous administrators to try and get the University’s side of the story. But people involved in the negotiations would not talk to me, and the people I did talk to did not have any detailed information about labor issues. I received an official statement from the University only after the story in question ran. Workers, union officials, and students in USLAC, on the other hand, were eager to share their side of the story. If the administration wants sympathy from students, it might do well to consider making its case to us.