This article appears in the July 10, 2020 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
[Print version of this article]
Returning the U.S. Work Force to
A Culture of Scientific Progress
Mr. Sweazy is a former UAW trade union leader. For time reasons, his prerecorded remarks could not be aired in Panel 1, “Instead of Geopolitics: The Principle of Statecraft,” during the Schiller Institute International Conference on June 27, 2020, “Will Humanity Prosper, or Perish? The Future Demands a Four-Power Summit Now.” We include here his complete remarks, as edited for publication.
I’m the Past President of Local 969 in Columbus, Ohio of the United Auto Workers’ Union. I learned a lot about the Labor Department and how labor works in the United States. With the international union, I chaired for six years the meeting of the 21 Delphi [auto parts] plants in Detroit. When we came together, obviously we discussed our problems and the future. What we saw was, the door was shut on our future. Seventeen of those 21 plants closed. It changed people’s lives forever and ever. I also learned that our history, that you’ve heard some about, teaches us that the struggles and the conflicts and the wars have consequences that become a negative, and seldom produce a positive or good result. So, we faced these things over a period of time.
What we face today is the need to put people back to work, regardless of where you live or what you do. We need to get people gainfully employed in the workforce so that we can make better lives for the people themselves, better lives for their families, and better lives for the area in which they live. So, this is a worldwide situation; it’s not just one locale, or one area of a country. This is worldwide. I hope you understand that little bit of an introduction, because it’s important. This affects each and every one of us. If we have pride, we want to restore,— let’s say we want to restore a great workforce as infrastructure projects have produced in the past.
We’re looking to put people back to work regardless of occupation. You can start one place, and transfer to another. There’s nothing that says in the workforce that you have to continue to do something that you’re not fond of, or you just don’t like that job. You can always retrain and become trained to do another job. So, keep that in mind also.
What rewards do we expect? Our rewards in life are in direct proportion to what we contribute. So, if we contribute something to life itself, we’re going to see the rewards. That’s important to me, because there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a person who enjoys what they’re doing, and the fact that what they’re doing is productive to our culture. There’s nothing worse than seeing people that don’t have opportunities.
As I visited Mexico, Mexico City, Monterrey, what have you, nine cities in Mexico, I saw people who were educated, become college graduates. But the opportunity to work was not there, and it broke my heart because I’d look into the eyes of these graduating classes, and I’m saying to them, “Are you happy?” And they’d look at me, and they’re questioning—why would I ask them are they happy?
Well, there’s no opportunities to work in Mexico; it’s a darn shame. Very few. They’ve got taxicab drivers that should be attorneys. You’ve got taxicab drivers who could have been engineers. You’ve got taxicab drivers that could’ve been doctors. I can’t imagine that. In the country I come from, the United States obviously, I can’t imagine somebody going to school and having that type of training, but not having the opportunity to use that training.
A Better Future for All Nations
So, this is an opportunity to get worldwide training. Not just in the labor fields, but completely through skilled trades, machine tool trades, tech center trades, the building trades—of course, that’s plumbing, pipe-fitting, welding. There’s no end to what this can offer. And how the unions will actually gain, and all the independents who work without unions will gain as well. But who will gain in the end? The communities and the families. The opportunity is there; we’ve just got to look for it. We’ve got to honestly make it happen. This is not a project that’s going to last one year, six months, one or two years. We’re talking 10- and 20-year projects.
So, the LaRouche organization has lined up projects all over the world. And of course, now Helga’s at the helm, and we have a good leader. We want to continue to carry on with that leadership and get people to work so we have viable jobs. People doing what they can for their own families, and possibly in a few years we’ll see these results. And everybody will benefit. The unions will benefit, the independents will benefit, everybody will benefit on that spectrum. It’s a great opportunity for those that need to be employed, and that’s anybody that’s graduating from a high school or tech school or what-have-you. But take it from there.
We’ve got people 30, 40, 50 years old looking for jobs. Everybody knows that; it’s not a secret. And not only in this country. So, the benefits are greater than we’ll ever imagine, and what an opportunity we’ve got today to do it in.
Our world deserves today, tomorrow, and in the future, an immediate effort to develop this program, or this type of program. So, the opportunity is ours; the hard work is yet to happen, but it can be done. And that’s what I want everybody to understand. The work can be done. The infrastructure projects are in front of us. So, let’s pick up our shovels, push out our chairs, let’s get up and go back to work.
I think we’ll not only enjoy a better life, but I think we’ll enjoy a better future for our nations, as we work together to solve some of these worldwide problems that can be solved through cooperation. To me, I think that’s the real answer that I would have, is worldwide cooperation. We need that today, more than ever. Working together, forming solidarity, and hoping that we can stay employed because of what took place. This program was the beginning. As we look back, we’ll say, “Well, I was part of that in the beginning.” That’s to me the most rewarding aspect that we could ever say for each of our nations today.
So, with that, I’m not going to hold you to your chairs and hope that you take heed to this, but I pray you will. Because it’s necessary and needed. Remember, the LaRouche organization is there for you. All you have to do is ask the question; they’ll get you an answer.