|Róger Calero, Socialist Worker presidential candidate, joins January 24 union rally at Dakota Premium on eve of vote.|
He was welcomed by the unionists. A number of them recognized Calero, who worked on the kill floor at the slaughterhouse in 2000. They remembered him as one of the activists in their fight to win a union and a union contract, which they finally won in 2002.
Calero said he supported workers who were calling for a yes vote in the next days election that was to decide whether or not the union would remain at the plant (see news article on this page).
In a discussion with workers while waiting for others to exit the plant, Calero said, This is what our campaign is about. The Socialists Workers candidates are joining workers struggles. We are pointing to the workers at Dakota as an example of how we can use our unions to fight for better wages and conditions in the face of the worsening economic crisis.
The next day Calero was among those at the UFCW Local 789 union hall who greeted Dakota workers arriving after work to celebrate their victorya nearly 2-1 vote in favor of the union.
Rebecca Williamson, who works at Dakota Premium and is the Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. Congress in Minnesotas 5th district, joined Calero at a January 25 forum at the socialist campaign headquarters here. Both candidates pointed to the fight at Dakota as an example of how workers, both born here and abroad, can fight shoulder to shoulder as part of the broader emerging working-class vanguard in this country.
Calero noted that the conditions working people facefrom lower real wages to dangerous job conditions, racist and sexist discrimination, and imperialist warare not a malfunction in the system but rather are produced by the natural workings of capitalism.
Our real enemy is the capitalist class itself and its two-party system, through which they rule. Working people need to build their own partya labor partythrough which we can fight for our own class interests in the political arena, in opposition to the Democrats, Republicans, and any other capitalist parties, he said.
Calero and campaign supporters introduced workers to What the Socialist Workers 2008 campaign fights for, the special four-page section in a recent issue of the Militant. Some of the former AMPAC workers enjoyed seeing again the photo of Calero with fellow inmates in a Houston federal immigration jail in 2002, having joined in the successful campaign to win Caleros release from jail and his later victory over la migras efforts to deport him.
When Calero said that running mate Alyson Kennedy would be on tour here later, several workers expressed interest in getting together with her to find out more about the campaign.
Minnesota meat packers vote 2-1 to keep union
Defeat company-backed decertification drive
Salute Dakota unionists victory
Socialist candidate Kennedy brings campaign to longshore, other workers in Miami area
SWP candidates join Houston immigrant rights event
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