To the Editor:
Let me start by saying that I love my dining hall and maintenance workers. They are kind, good people who make my life easier and who have added cheer to my day on many occasions.
My opposition to the unionsâ proposals comes from an economic perspective. And while Alberto Medina ’06 (“What students really think about Yale workers,” 9/25) may hypothesize that it is because I am a rich, white Yale student, the truth is that my reasons come from not being the stereotypical Yalie.
I come from a neighborhood that is composed of mostly Hispanic, black, and other minorities. Most of my friends are from poor minority homes and I have lived in a couple. I don’t consider myself white because culturally, I’m not. Medina may look at my skin and judge my anti-Union beliefs for that, but it’s just not so.
My mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother will never be able to retire. My mom makes barely over minimum wage and doesn’t have insurance benefits. My great-grandmother is on housing help from the state plus social security and has to work, and she’s 80 years old. I’m not rich, and my family certainly isn’t.
So, since I thought living at Yale may have influenced my thinking, I consulted my friends and family about the proposals on both sides of the table to see where people in the real world stand. Were they outraged by Yale’s stance? Did they frown in disgust at the current policies? No. As a matter of fact, they couldn’t believe the unions were being so greedy. Neither could I.
Medina may lead one to believe that all students who did not support union views and openly spoke out against them simply don’t understand or respect the workersâ way of life, but it’s a blatant lie. And just because some students think the unions were being greedy doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate the workers or don’t like them.
Judging a person (or an entire group of people) based on an opinion or belief of theirs is hardly the way to make friends or live a pleasant life.
But I have a joke for those of you who still agree with Medina, just to add some joy to your lonely lives of judgment. Now, I haven’t heard the one about the unions and al-Qaida, but have you heard the one about the Yale administration and the right-wing conspiracy to pit blacks against Hispanics? It’s a hoot.
Mary Elizabeth Rehm ’07
September 25, 2003