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At This Hour

Biden Travels to Connecticut to Promote Agenda That Remains in Limbo; Hollywood Production Strike Deadline Approaching Monday. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired October 15, 2021 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN AT THIS HOUR: At this hour, President Biden is hitting the road to try and sell his massive domestic and economic agenda. He's headed to Connecticut, and the White House says today's focus is on the child care proposals central to his build back better agenda.

This is another key moment since the negotiations over that massive spending bill are stalled in Congress, the fighting remaining over Democrats over how big and far to go.

Just before I air, I spoke with Connecticut's governor and ally of President Biden's, Governor Ned Lamont.


BOLDUAN: On the Biden agenda, he's coming to promote that in your state today, when it comes to early childhood education, your spokesman, and I believe you've said pretty much the same, has said what you're doing in Connecticut is what the president is looking to do at the national level. You were very proud, as you've said, to serve as a model when it comes to early childhood education.

And Connecticut is doing well when it comes to getting relief funds that Congress has already approved pushed out there. So, why do you need more?

GOV. NED LAMONT (D-CT): I think one of the most important initiatives from build back better and the human infrastructure bill is daycare and child care. It gives these kids a running head start in life. It allows mom and dad to get back to work. Right now, we have worker shortages. A lot of moms have dropped out of the workforce at this point. If we make daycare a lot more available, we have capacity and a lot less expensive, more people could take advantage of it.

BOLDUAN: Is this aspect of it, would you say, for your state the most important or is the physical infrastructure more important for your state?

LAMONT: Oh, that's a tough either/or. Because, look, we're a pretty old state, we have got old bridges. And our trains slow down as they go over these 90-year-old bridges. I can make things safer and faster with a real infrastructure bill. So, I think that's right at the top of my list. But, obviously, daycare, child care is right next to it.

BOLDUAN: This, at least when it comes to Congress, is a fight amongst Democrats, still continues to be. The key moderates in this discussion are once again balking at the size and scope of how big this is and how far it goes. What is your message as a governor to Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who say that what they're holding out for and standing up for is just representing their state?

LAMONT: This infrastructure bill is the most important thing to economic growth and opportunity, keeping our people working with good- paying jobs. I've reframed it a little bit though. To the credit, a lot of Republicans stood up in the Senate and said, we're going to pass this infrastructure bill on a bipartisan basis. In the House, there's not one Republican that I've heard of willing to stand up and saying, let's pass this infrastructure bill. So, that means you're right, then as Democrats negotiate with the Democrats.

I'd like to see some Republicans stand up and say I know how important this infrastructure bill is in my state, I'm going to vote for it.

BOLDUAN: You know, when there's been polling out about this bill, Democrats want to see a big bill, a majority of Democrats. But there's also polling within this is that says that Americans don't think these bill, even if passed, don't really feel that it will benefit them, saying that they won't be better off. That is a problem for Democrats, if that's how people are feeling about this right now. What do you do about that?

LAMONT: I can tell you that I can take ten minutes off your commute by car, I can take 10 to 15 minutes off your commute by train to give us an opportunity to upgrade the infrastructure. I can tell you that universal pre-K is the most important thing we could do to give your kid a running head start in life. That makes a difference for you, or at least your grandchild, depending on how old you are. These are differences that will make a long-term impact on our society for the better.

BOLDUAN: Yes. What I'm hearing you say is some of this is messaging, and that's a lot of what the president is doing coming to your state, is to start really trying to sell this agenda to the American people.

I must ask you about another part of the political and policy discussion in America today because Connecticut, your state, was drawn into the immigration debate this week, something that Senator Lindsey Graham said about your state having to do with immigration.


And let me play this for you and for everyone.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): We had 40,000 Brazilians come through the sector alone headed for Connecticut wearing designer clothes and Gucci bags. This is not economic migration anymore. People see an open America, they're taking advantage of us and it won't be long before terrorists gets in this crowd.

BOLDUAN: Governor, I'm sure you at least saw the headlines on this because it got a lot of attention for sure. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that more migrants crossing the border are of middle-class level families from South America who are flying to the border and then walking across to apply for asylum. But just back to what Graham is doing, he's putting a number on it and putting a spotlight on your state specifically. I mean, have you seen in Connecticut what Lindsey Graham is talking about here? I mean, has the border crisis reached Connecticut?

LAMONT: No. I have no idea what Senator Graham is talking about. He's either being dramatic for effect or just plain wacky. That's not what's happening in Connecticut. We do have some immigrants coming in. They're coming in overwhelmingly legally. We're getting them placed. I've been looking around for Brazilians with Gucci bags. I just haven't seen it, Lindsey.

BOLDUAN: Governor, thank you very much for your time.

LAMONT: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: We have a new development in the battle over the nation's most restrictive abortion law. A federal appeals court has sided with the state of Texas, which means that the law banning almost all abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy, that ban is back in effect.

Last week, a federal judge blocked the law saying it was likely unconstitutional, but in a two-to-one order last night, the U.S. court of appeals for the 5th Circuit granted the Texas request to put the lower court's ruling on hold.

The Justice Department is expected to appeal, and the final say on this, as expected, will be with the Supreme Court and from the Supreme Court.

Coming up for us, workers on strike, a huge union representing film and T.V. stage business threatening to go on strike Monday just as a record level of Americans are quitting their jobs all together. What's behind this?

We'll be back.



BOLDUAN: We're days away from what could be the first major Hollywood strike in nearly 15 years. T.V. and movie shoots could shut down nationwide if a major production workers union and producers do not reach an agreement by Monday. The production workers are asking for higher pay, better benefits, longer rest and meal breaks. This isn't the only major worker strike happening or being threatened across the country right now.

Let me bring in CNN's Alison Kosik, who has been tracking all of this for us. What are you seeing, Alison?

ALISON KOSK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. First of all, Kate, we know that workers at Kellogg have been on strike for now over a week actually entering their second week. 1,400 workers at Kellogg, that's the breakfast cereal maker, they have walked off the job.

And then looming on the horizon is Kaiser Permanente. 38,000 workers that includes physical therapists, pharmacists, nurses, 38,000 of them could walk off the job if an agreement is not reached. And then, as you mentioned, Hollywood bracing for 60,000 members of a film and T.V. production union ready to walk off the job as soon as 12:01 A.M. Pacific Time on Monday if an agreement isn't reached.

Now, these are the workers who you don't see when you're watching a T.V. or movie. It's the makeup artists and costume designers and the audio technicians. That union, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, or IATSE for short, they've been negotiating since the summer with the Alliance of Motion Picture Television Producers, that's the group that represents, you know, a wide range of producers, everybody from Disney to Netflix to Apple. And they are making a case for higher pay, larger contributions to health and pension benefits and improvements to on-set conditions. They want actual meal breaks and they want longer turnarounds.

One of the sticking points, higher pay for IATSE members for non- broadcast streaming shows, which they say are unfairly discounted because of their classification as new media. But the thing is streaming is now a huge part of productions happening in Hollywood, so it's becoming more and more clear that the entertainment industry is facing a critical moment here where it needs to figure out how to compensate those who create entertainment for streaming.

Now, if this strike happens, it will have a wide impact on the entertainment industry across the country. It couldn't come at a worse time for producers, Kate, as they try to catch up from delays because of the pandemic. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Alison, thank you so much for that.

So, that strike that we're talking about right here comes as more and more Americans are quitting their jobs all together. The latest figures show a whopping 4.3 million people quit working in August. That's the highest resignation rate since the Labor Department began tracking it in late 2000. Add to that a Gallup poll finds among people who are employed, 48 percent are actively job searching or watching for opportunities.

So, what is behind this? Why are people quitting their jobs at a record rate right now?

Joining me now is someone who has some insight, Anthony Klotz. He is a Professor of Business Administration at Texas A&M. He coined a phrase everyone is using for this right now, the great resignation.


Anthony, thank you.

I've been watching your commentary and reading your work for some time on this now. You've researched the psychology of quitting for much of your career, which, in and of itself, is fascinating. So, who is quitting and why?

ANTHONY KLOTZ, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF MANAGEMENT, TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY: Well, there's really a few different buckets of individuals who are quitting and reasons driving this resignation boom that's happening right now. And the first are individuals who, during 2020, had it been a normal year, would have quit anyway, so kind of a backlog of resignation of individuals who have decided to quit.

There's another group of individuals that have reached high levels of burnout during the pandemic. And we know burnout is a predictor of people quitting their jobs. So, individuals who just need a break and are burnt out are quitting. There's also a large group of individuals who have had epiphanies for one reason or another during the pandemic and want to change the place that work is in their lives. And so they're making these big life pivots.

And then, finally, there's a group of individuals who had their work changed during the pandemic often in terms of bringing them at home to work and really enjoy working from home or working remotely and don't want to shift back to whatever work arrangement their organization has. And so this is what makes it kind of challenging for organizations to get their arms around are these different causes of the great resignation.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And what do you do about it? How do you adjust your, I don't know, corporate culture to work around this is the big question.

The demographics of it, if that's the right word, I'd love to dive into it, if we could. There's a graphic on your screen showing that women are leaving the workforce and in the latest jobs report more than men are being added to the workplace. But like who is it in terms of who's quitting, men versus men, city versus rural, coast versus the middle of the country, income level? Is it clear to you yet where the trends are in terms of who is quitting?

KLOTZ: Yes, those are great questions. And what you point out, we do know that during the pandemic, and in this great resignation, as we hopefully exit the pandemic, that women, especially women caregivers, are leaving the workforce at a higher rate than others, which is especially troubling. Beyond that, in terms of generation, in terms of parts of the country, we don't really have a great feel for this yet.

And I think part of that challenge, again, comes from the split that I see between workers are individuals who weren't able to work remotely, so non-office workers, shift workers. And some of the highest resignation numbers we see is in retail and food service and health care, these individual who didn't have the option to work from home.

And so you have the split between people who were able to achieve more flexible work arrangements during the pandemic and then those who were really serving us during the pandemic and unable to get a break. And I think that's where we see a lot of resignations right now.

BOLDUAN: That's really interesting. And you talk about obviously the pandemic has played a part in this. And two reasons that people have thrown out as a possible reason behind some of this exodus that we're seeing is people are quitting over vaccine mandates, that their companies are putting into place, or also people are slow to return to work because of enhanced unemployment benefits that are out there. Are you seeing that?

KLOTZ: So, the few cases where companies have disclosed their numbers around vaccine mandates have shown that a pretty small percentage of individuals actually end up leaving when a vaccine mandate gets put in place. So, I'm sure that's a part of it but maybe overstated a bit. And so I haven't seen that as much.

BOLDUAN: It's really interesting. And I guess it's also important for us to say that for all the people who can quit and reassess and look for more fulfilling work, if that's what they are looking for, there are just as many people or many more who have little savings, no partner to support them and prop them up, and have no option to quit because they're just trying to make ends meet. And I'm just wondering how that fits into this massive shift.

KLOTZ: Yes. I'm glad you brought that up. Whenever we talk about the ability to quit your job, there's a certain amount of privilege that comes into that from an economic perspective or some other perspective that you're able to walk away and realize there's still lots of employees who were laid off during the pandemic that are trying to get back in the workforce and are struggling to do so. So, this does seem to be a very uneven trend to some extent where people are exercising their ability to quit their jobs in some cases and others trying to get back into the workforce and struggling to do that.

And I think a big question is what are these individuals who are quitting actually have the ability to quit long-term or whether they are just taking a break from the workforce due to burnout or whatever it may be and plan to reenter at some point in the future. And I think that's on a lot of organizational leaders' minds, because people who are exiting, where are they going, how long are they going to be out and hopefully they're not out permanently.

BOLDUAN: So fascinating, the psychology of quitting and what that means today.


Anthony, thanks for coming on.

KLOTZ: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, President Biden hitting the road to promote and try to sell his domestic around economic agenda, but what is his message not only to the public but to members of his own party who still can't agree on a way to move forward? We're going to bring you his remarks live when they happen.

We'll be right back.



BOLDUAN: When the COVID pandemic struck the island of Bali, tourism, the driving economic force in the region, came to a halt. Thousands of people were left out of work and at risk of going hungry.

This week's CNN hero found a way to help his community through a simple plan, empower people to trade collected plastic waste for food.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I kept doing this mission because people empowered, because people get excited, because of the community that respond into this initiative.

I see the smile in their face, I see the cleaner environments and also I see they can provide for their family. This is initiative is so simple, and we can do this in every community. We clean the environments. We feed the people and they are proud doing this.

My goal is to really spread this movement. I want to inspire people that everything is possible. That is no small dream. If you believe and you do it with the community then you will succeed.


BOLDUAN: For more, you can go to

Thanks so much for being here. Inside Politics with John King starts after a break.