Richter campaigns with bakery workers in Chicago

By David Rosenfeld
May 20, 2024
Richter campaigns with bakery workers in Chicago
Militant/David Rosenfeld

CHICAGO — Workers changing shifts or on break at Alpha Baking Co. here May 7 talked with Dennis Richter, running mate of Rachele Fruit, the Socialist Workers Party candidate for president, as he shook hands with workers and campaigned there.

“Inflation keeps going up,” said one worker. “We may be in a conflict here when our contract expires soon.” Richter pledged that if the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers members do go on strike, supporters of the Rachele Fruit for president campaign will help organize solidarity. “All workers need to fight for cost-of-living adjustments in our contracts so that inflation doesn’t eat up our wages,” he said.

Richter, a member of the UNITE HERE union in Texas and a former bakery worker, explained he is very familiar with the conditions they face, including inadequate pay, unpredictable schedules and grueling temperatures in the summer. Richter and his supporters sold six subscriptions to the Militant, three books by leaders of the Socialist Workers Party and 10 single copies of the Militant. One of the new subscribers, Derrick Hogan, signed up to endorse the Rachele Fruit for president campaign.

Jorge Aguaya, a shop steward and a plant mechanic, above, was very excited to meet the socialist candidate. After he took several selfies with Richter, they began discussing the big questions facing working people worldwide. “As we campaign in our unions and in working-class communities, we explain that Jew-hatred is a life-and-death question for the working class,” Richter said. “My party says that Hamas must be defeated, or they will carry out more pogroms against Jews in Israel.”

“That’s right,” Aguaya replied. “If they are not defeated it will keep spreading.” Aguaya, who had read the Militant in the past, signed up for a one-year subscription, and bought The Fight Against Jew-Hatred in the Imperialist Epoch: Stakes for the International Working Class.

Richter was joined by Naomi Craine, SWP candidate for U.S. Congress from Illinois, and several campaign supporters who worked in the plant before and introduced many of their former co-workers to the candidates. Two workers bought the Spanish edition of The Low Point of Labor Resistance Is Behind Us: The Socialist Workers Party Looks Forward.