Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Alec Baldwin Fires Prop Gun On Movie Set, Kills Cinematographer, Wounds Director; U.S. President Joe Biden Defends Vaccine Mandates During Town Hall; U.K. Sticks With Current COVID-19 Plan As Cases Soar; White House Walks Back Biden's Remarks On Taiwan; U.S. Democrats Struggle To Close Social And Economic Plan Deal; Haiti Kidnap Victims Held By Notorious Gang; U.S. Workers Press For Better Deals; Queen Elizabeth Resting Up After Hospital Stay; Duran Duran Celebrates 40 Years With New Album. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired October 23, 2021 - 04:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Welcome to all of you watching here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

New details on the fatal prop gun accident on the set of Alec Baldwin's new movie. What the 9-1-1 call reveals about the moments after the shooting.

Plus, the White House is reversing course after President Biden vowed to protect Taiwan if China attacked. Reaction ahead from the Chinese government.

And as the pandemic begins to wind down and the U.S. workers are trying to seize new power, welcome to Striketober.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Kim Brunhuber.

BRUNHUBER: We're learning more about the moments leading up to a fatal shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin's upcoming film.

A search warrant revealed an assistant director handed Baldwin a prop gun that had been set up by an armorer and yelled, "cold gun," meaning it did not have live rounds.

The actor fired it while rehearsing a scene and hit and killed the film's cinematographer and injured its director. The person who swore out the affidavit says the assistant director did not know it had live rounds. This is the 9-1-1 call that came in moments later.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's the location of the emergency? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bonanza Creek Ranch. We've had two people accidentally shot on a movie set by a prop gun. We need help immediately.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So was it loaded with a real bullet or--

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't -- I can not tell you that.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have two injuries from a movie gun shot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, we're getting them out there already.


BRUNHUBER: Now the "L.A. Times" has also reported several crew members had quit the production due to safety concerns, including gun safety protocols. CNN's Lucy Kafanov picks up the story from there.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, actor Alec Baldwin says he's fully cooperating in the investigation into the fatal shooting on the set of the movie "Rust."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bonanza Creek Ranch; we've had two people accidentally shot.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Officials say they're still in the initial stages of their investigation into what led to the fatal incident, when Baldwin discharged a prop weapon on set.

Director Joel Souza rushed by ambulance to local hospital with injuries; the film's director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, was pronounced dead after being transported by helicopter to the hospital.

Police continue to interview witnesses and are looking into what type of projectile was fired from a prop gun, commonly used on movie sets, that aren't without their own risks.

JOSEPH FISHER, PROP MASTER: Prop weapons do have a dangerous factor to them, even though they're safer than using a live firearm on set.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Forty-two-year-old Hutchins, who posted on Instagram from the New Mexico location only days ago, lived in Los Angeles with her husband and son and was credited in the production of dozens of film, TV and video titles.

Today, Baldwin tweeting from the account he shares with his wife, "There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins. I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family."

These tragic accidents on movie sets have happened before. Actor Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, was killed in 1993 on the set of the movie, "The Crow," when a fragment of a dummy bullet became lodged in a prop gun, which fatally wounded Lee in the abdomen.

Shannon Lee posting on her brother's verified Twitter account, "Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and to all involved in the incident on 'Rust.' No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set, period."

KAFANOV: We're told that a search warrant has been issued for the Bonanza Creek Ranch where the shooting took place. Sheriffs say they'll be carefully combing the property throughout the weekend. They don't expect to update the public before Monday.

This as investigators try to piece together how this tragedy could have taken place -- Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Santa Fe, New Mexico.


BRUNHUBER: Earlier I asked Chad Hawthorne, an armor and firearms safety coordinator, what types of guns are typically used on movie sets and if it's common for prop guns to be able to fire live ammunition. Here he is.


CHAD HAWTHORNE, ARMOR AND FIREARMS SAFETY COORDINATOR: The prop guns take all shapes and sizes.


HAWTHORNE: There are rubber stunt versions that you might use with a performer falling off a roof or running down the street or throwing -- dropping the prop. That's going to be made of rubber.

Then we get up to the type of prop guns that are manufactured to only shoot blanks. They were never real guns. We call them non-guns or blank-firing non-guns. They're still dangerous because a blank is a -- a charge of powder that propels hot gas, expanding gas, burning gas, burning powder out of the muzzle.

We want to make sure that nobody is ever right downrange from that muzzle. On another extreme, there is sometimes the use of a real firearm, that had been converted, in some cases, to fire blank rounds so they will cycle a blank round, not having the actual projectile in the cartridge.

You don't get the pressures needed to cycle. But for those guns that don't require the cycling of the round, like a revolver, it would, in some cases, just be a real firearm. Now that brings really to the forefront -- obviously, there is never any real ammunition capable of firing a projectile allowed on a film set ever, ever, ever.

BRUNHUBER: There has been reporting about safety standards in this case.

I want to ask you, are there difference safety standards or directions, depending on the budget and in terms of the armor that's used, if they're union or not? Are they all operating under the same standards?

HAWTHORNE: I would say, yes, they are. I think that as an armorer -- a competent armorer on set is following a set of industry standards, safety protocols, that include everything from training the performers, working with the directors of photography to block the shot, to make sure nobody's downrange of a muzzle, to, as I said, between takes, when -- just before the director calls action, the armorer will hand the performer the prop, make sure that they've witnessed what types of rounds are going in there.

They do the scene. As soon as the director calls cut, that armorer goes in and secures that prop, takes it away, makes sure it's loaded correctly. We have the right number of rounds for the scene, we don't add extra rounds. Those protocols are universally standard, whether it's union or not.

BRUNHUBER: All right. So many questions still unanswered. But really appreciate having your expertise on this tragic story. Chad Hawthorne, thank you so much for joining us.

HAWTHORNE: Yes, thanks for having me.


BRUNHUBER: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says, when it comes to young children, the benefits of the Pfizer COVID vaccine outweigh the risks. Now the U.S. drug regulator, posting that assessment, late Friday.

The FDA said while the vaccine carries a theoretical risk of causing heart inflammation, the risk from COVID is higher, if enough virus is circulating. FDA vaccine advisers, meeting next week, to evaluate Pfizer's application for emergency use authorization, of the shot in young children.

The demand for booster doses is outpacing initial COVID vaccinations in the United States. So far, more than 12 million people have received a booster dose since the rollout began.

And on Friday, Pfizer said data on its vaccine showed it was more than 90 percent effective at preventing symptomatic infection in young children. CNN's Alexandra Field has more.


DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: This is really great news because we now have a booster plan for all three COVID-19 vaccines.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: More protection for millions more Americans. Moderna and J&J boosters joining Pfizer now going into arms. And the CDC chief says people can choose which booster shot they get.

WALENSKY: Some people very well may prefer to get the vaccine they originally got but the CDC will allow new recommendations to mix and match. And we do not indicate a preference.

FIELD: The CDC also appealing to pregnant and nursing women to get vaccinated and to get boosters when eligible.

WALENSKY: We have relatively low rates of vaccination for pregnant women in general.

FIELD: Dr. Fauci says soon, even more people could be eligible for booster shots.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: I would be rather confident that as we get further and further over the next weeks to months that the age limit of it is going to be lowered.

FIELD: FDA advisers meet next week to decide on shots for children as young as 5.

They'll review new data from Pfizer posted today, showing their vaccines are nearly 91 percent effective against symptomatic COVID among 5- to 11-year-olds and that the vaccine appeared safe and there were no incidents of myocarditis or inflammation of the heart muscle in the trial.

The White House is already laying the groundwork to get the smaller doses into smaller arms.

WALENSKY: The administration is working really hard to make sure the vaccine is in the field so we can get started vaccinating immediately.

FIELD: As for still unvaccinated adults, President Biden forcefully backing vaccine mandates sweeping the nation in the CNN town hall.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Should police officers, emergency responders be mandated to get vaccines?


COOPER: And if not, should they stay at home or let go?

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes and yes. By the way, I waited until July to talk about mandating because I tried everything else possible. The mandates are working.


FIELD: But the pushback continues. More than 130 municipal workers in Chicago now filing a lawsuit, claiming the city and state's vaccine policies are unconstitutional.

We've long heard people who have COVID have described having episodes of brain fog. A new study showing that that brain fog can persist for months. The same study suggests, while it is more frequent among patients hospitalized, it is also occurring in people who never went to the hospital -- in New York, Alexandra Field, CNN. (END VIDEOTAPE)

BRUNHUBER: The U.K. reported more than 49,000 new infections Friday. Despite those escalating numbers, prime minister Boris Johnson said that the U.K. would stick with its current COVID plan -- no lockdowns and no mask mandates.

That has drawn swift backlash from scientists, who urge officials to plan for new measures, that can, be rapidly, deployed if needed. On Friday, Johnson said the surge in new cases wasn't outside of the parameters for what had been predicted.

He made those comments while visiting a vaccination clinic in West London, encouraging people over 50 to get their booster when they were called.


BRUNHUBER: Joining me is infectious disease expert Dr. Keith Neal, professor emeritus at University of Nottingham and joining me from Derby, England.

Thank you so much for being here with us.

First, what's behind this rise in cases there?

DR. KEITH NEAL, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM: Quite simply people mixing and people are infectious, some who will be asymptomatic or presymptomatic. And the more mixing, the more spread. And the virus likes this.

We've also moved things like going back to work, not wearing masks, are all boosting the number of cases.

BRUNHUBER: It seems like young people are contributing to this, as well. This is all putting a spotlight on the vaccination rates among kids, especially 12 to 15.

So you know, as we here in the U.S. are about to roll out vaccinations for kids younger than that, 5 to 11, what is what's happening in the U.K. suggest about the importance of getting kids vaccinated as quickly as possible?

NEAL: I think the fact that children's education is being disrupted. We even had a young girl die, age 15, the day before she was due to be vaccinated. So it can be a dangerous illness at this age.

The issue is, at the moment, even if you're a household contact of a known case, you have a one in six chance of catching COVID-19, even if you've been vaccinated. And there's no requirement to isolate. So it's hardly surprising it's spreading widely.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. And obviously the dropping of all the -- the mandates, mask mandates and so on and so forth. We heard a stark warning from union leaders that were representing some 3 million workers.

They said, quote, "Without decisive action now, we risk sleepwalking into another winter of chaos."

So what can governments do to prevent this?

NEAL: I don't understand why masks has become such a political issue because clearly people seem to think they've got a right to not wear a mask. Even the European human rights gives the right to life a much higher preference.

And I surely have a right not to catch COVID. We now know that if both parties are wearing masks, the transmission rate of COVID falls 50 percent.

BRUNHUBER: Do you think it was a mistake then to drop all of these restrictions?

NEAL: I think we have to get to a place where cases were low in attempt to get back to some form of normality. In its way also, the people not having jobs is deleterious to health.

I think we should be looking at what is -- what I call no-cost options. It really doesn't cost anything to put a mask on when you go in a shop.

If you can work from home, why not?

People are saying, well, it actually affects the economics of cities. People who will, therefore, possibly buy their lunch, going out where they live, so the economy has just moved around. It doesn't get destroyed.

BRUNHUBER: Boris Johnson, as we reported, has urged more people to get the booster. Here in the U.S., we're getting more people getting the booster than getting their first shot.

So is that the solution here to prevent these huge spikes?

NEAL: I think it's one of the issues. They need look at COVID as a disease that you get diagnosed with a PCR test, with mild symptoms. Those put you in hospital.


NEAL: And I think, I'm still trying to book my COVID vaccine for the middle of next month.

And I think you've got some groups in America, where you've got significant undervaccination rates. And the unfortunate death of Colin Powell should be a wake-up call to your African American people.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, absolutely. Well said there. So just as we look at this through a -- an American lens here, as we open up more and more, what else can the U.S. learn from what's happening there in the U.K. right now?

NEAL: I think -- I mean, I understand mask wearing varies by state. The governors seem to have quite a lot of sway. We've got similar issues with devolution into the four countries. I

think we need to be putting in measures that don't badly affect people, like mask wearing, working from home, which really allow people to carry on normal.

I think one of the other things is COVID passports, which has been a big success in parts of Europe. But at the moment, our COVID passport allows you to do a home lateral flow device test, which basically simply opened to fraud and people can lie.

We had a big outbreak at a festival in Cornwall, with 46,000 people going and over 10 percent got ill. And I don't believe that everybody was truthful about their lateral flow device test in that situation.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. Unfortunately, there will always be cheating. Listen, we really appreciate your expertise, Keith Neal. Thank you so much for joining us.

NEAL: Good morning, thank you.


BRUNHUBER: To Italy now, where there's been fierce backlash over the country's strict COVID pass. Major protests have been taking place over the past few days, some are even likening the path to fascism. Barbie Nadeau is in Rome.

Barbie, here in the U.S., of course, there's been plenty of resistance to vaccine mandates but nothing like we've seen in Italy, where the mandate covers all workers. And there have been real fears about potentially deadly violence.

What's the latest?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, there was a big protest in the northern port of Trieste that was supposed to take place yesterday but they had credible information that very extremist groups had infiltrated it.

And these people that are organizing these protests want to have a legitimate conversation with the government to say not everybody can afford to have a COVID test every 48 hours or maybe they got vaccinated in a country that -- that doesn't -- that the vaccine is not accepted.

Sputnik, for example, is not accepted and it's part of the Italian green pass. They want to have a legitimate conversation. And these protests have become so violent. We saw here two weeks ago in Rome, a neo-fascist group attacked the labor union.

We had credible evidence of people with serious, you know, weapons, knives, bombs, things like that, that were going to infiltrate that protest yesterday so the organizers called it off.

This resistance is growing. We haven't seen a spike in the number of vaccines since the green pass took effect a week ago. We've seen a lot of resistance, a lot of people calling in sick for work. You know, it's a -- it's become a difficult situation. This is the strictest vaccine mandate anywhere in Europe with this Italian green pass -- Kim?

BRUNHUBER: All right. We'll keep following that story. Barbie Nadeau, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

A few simple words about Taiwan quickly landed President Biden in hot water with Beijing. Ahead, we'll explain why the White House is rushing to undo President Biden's candid remarks and how Beijing is responding.

Plus, NBA star Enes Kanter infuriates Beijing calling out its treatment of Muslims. Stay with us.





BRUNHUBER: The Biden White House is scrambling to tamp down a new firestorm over Taiwan, insisting that America's military policy toward the island hasn't changed. Now the controversy erupted at a CNN town hall Thursday night when President Biden said this:


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You hear people saying Biden wants to start a new cold war with China.

I don't want a cold war with China. I just want to make China understand that we are not going to step back, we are not going to change any of our views.

COOPER: So are you saying that the United States would come to Taiwan's defense --


COOPER: -- if China attacked?

BIDEN: Yes, we have a commitment to do that.


BRUNHUBER: Administration officials say the U.S. remains committed to assisting Taiwan's self-defense but that long-standing policy is intentionally vague about what the U.S. military might do if Taiwan were to be attacked by the mainland.

U.S. policy toward Taiwan has wider implications for the region, especially South Korea and Japan. CNN's Blake Essig joins us now from Tokyo. Blake, President Biden raising plenty of eyebrows with his comments,

of course.

What's been the reaction from Beijing?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Kim, look, the situation playing out on the Taiwan Strait between Beijing and Taipei is a big concern here and around the world. The stakes are incredibly high.

From Japan's perspective, given its close proximity to Taiwan, its closest island is only 110 kilometers away. And there are real concerns that Japan could get drawn into a conflict over Taiwan.

In fact, Japan's ground self-defense force is currently holding a massive nationwide drill and -- and combat drills, simulating attack -- an attack right now on Japan's southern islands. So the concern is real.

Regarding President Biden's comments last night, as you might expect, the reaction in the region was mixed. In Taiwan, Biden's words were met with celebration with Taiwan's foreign ministry reiterating that their government will continue to strengthen its self-defense capabilities to fully defend Taiwan.

In China, the foreign ministry essentially said that the U.S. should be cautious in its words on the Taiwan issue and avoid sending the wrong message.


ESSIG: They say that could damage relationships and threaten regional security. Take a listen.


WANG WENBIN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON: On issues concerning China's core interests, such as sovereignty and territorial integrity, China has no room for compromise. No one should underestimate the Chinese people's determination and strong ability to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.


ESSIG: North Korea's foreign minister also weighed in, describing Taiwan as an inseparable territory of China and condemning the United States for raising military tensions by commenting on Taiwan affairs.

There's no question that tensions are high between Taiwan and Mainland China. In fact, in the first five days of this month, China sent more than 150 planes, including fighter jets and nuclear-capable bombers, into Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone, which is a record high.

Recently, Taiwan's defense minister said he believes China will be able to launch a full-scale attack on the island by 2025 and that military tensions between Beijing and Taipei are the worst they've been in more than 40 years.

And Kim, if conflict does take place, the big question is, will the United States come to Taiwan's defense?

Last night during CNN's town hall, President Biden seemingly answered that question.

BRUNHUBER: All right. Blake Essig, thank you so much.

The Boston Celtics' Enes Kanter is again angering China, posting a second video in as many days, harshly critical of President Xi Jinping and China's treatment of Uyghur Muslims.


ENES KANTER, BOSTON CELTICS: Right now, as I speak this message, torture, rape, forced abortions and sterilizations. Family separations. Arbitrary detentions. Concentration camps. Political reeducation. Forced labor. This is all happening, right now to more than 1.8 million Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region, in north and western China.


BRUNHUBER: On Wednesday Kanter ignited a furious backlash among basketball fans in China with these custom-made shoes and a video condemning Beijing's treatment of people in Tibet. Now Beijing denies any wrongdoing but is thin skinned about criticism. China canceled the game and Kanter was blocked on some Chinese fan websites.

Attempts to get all Democrats on board with President Biden's domestic agenda stall once again. The latest on negotiations to advance the U.S. President's plans next.

Plus, Haiti's new police chief calls for a big fight against crime amid the search for 17 kidnapped members of a missionary group.

Stay with us.





BRUNHUBER: Democrats on Capitol Hill are inching ever so slowly toward an agreement on the massive social and economic package that's keep to President Biden's agenda. They keep chipping away parts of the plan, trying to win over two holdouts in the Senate. But as Kaitlan Collins reports, there hasn't been any breakthrough yet.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Biden trying to seal a deal with Democrats.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We had a very positive meeting this morning. I'm very optimistic about where we go from here.

COLLINS (voice-over): Biden meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer as they attempt to unite their party on his agenda.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The alternative is not a larger package. The alternative is nothing.

COLLINS (voice-over): Biden optimistic about getting an agreement on his plan to reshape the social safety net and fight climate change while candidly revealing during a CNN town hall the difficulty of negotiating.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you're in the United States Senate and you're president of the United States and you have 50 Democrats, every one is the president's.


COLLINS (voice-over): Biden conceding his plan for two free years of community college won't make the final cut.

BIDEN: So far, Mr. Manchin and one other person has indicated they will not support free community college.

COLLINS (voice-over): His proposal for federal paid leave slashed to one month.

BIDEN: It is down to four weeks. The reason it's down to four weeks, I can't get 12 weeks.

COLLINS (voice-over): One of the most popular parts, raising taxes on corporations to pay for it, likely won't happen in light of Arizona senator Kyrsten Sinema's opposition.

BIDEN: First of all, she's smart as the devil. Where she's not supportive is she says she will not raise a single penny in taxes on the corporate side and/or on wealthy people, period.

COLLINS (voice-over): Also plans to expand Medicare benefits to dental, vision and hearing also now seems like a stretch.

COOPER: Will all three of those still be covered?

BIDEN: That's a reach.

COLLINS (voice-over): The bill is still expected to include some of the biggest Democratic priorities, including expanding Medicare, universal pre-K and billions for climate change.

Biden also taking his strongest stance yet on ending the filibuster amid attempts to pass voting rights legislation.

BIDEN: I also think we'll have to move to the point where we fundamentally alter the filibuster.

COLLINS (voice-over): But Biden adding that any push to end the 60- vote threshold in the Senate would have to wait for the passage of his spending bills.

BIDEN: If, in fact, I get myself into, at this moment, the debate on the filibuster, I lose at least three votes.

COLLINS: Democrats are up against a self-imposed deadline of Friday. As of Friday afternoon, they had not announced an agreement yet. But the White House did say that President Biden will continue to talk to those lawmakers throughout the weekend -- Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.


BRUNHUBER: The U.S. House committee investigating the Capitol attack is setting its sights on the money trail leading up to January 6th. They will also determine if any election laws were violated or if financial crimes were committed in financing pro Trump rallies that preceded the storming of the Capitol.

Of particular interest are the so-called Stop the Steal rallies. Sources say some organizers and vendors have already been interviewed by the panel.

Haiti's new police chief is calling on the entire nation to join the fight against crime. He promises to crack down on gang violence and kidnappings and he also says all Haitians have to play a part in what he called a big fight against criminals.

He spoke after the recent abduction involving the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries; 17 people are being held by the notorious gang 400 Mawozo. It's demanding $17 million for their release.


BRUNHUBER: U.S. workers are flexing their muscles in ways not seen in decades. You'll hear why they have leverage over their bosses now, as the economy still hurts from the pandemic.

And a strong storm threatens parts of the western U.S. We'll have details from CNN's Weather Center about what to expect this weekend ahead. Stay with us.




BRUNHUBER: Well, of course, the calendar reads October. But U.S. labor activists are calling it Striketober, as American workers hit the picket lines in droves. Right now thousands of employees across the United States are on strike. Now for many, these are the first walkouts in their entire careers. U.S. workers now have more leverage over employers than they've had in

decades -- and they're using it. According to Cornell University, there have been strikes or labor protests at more than 800 locations this year. One labor leader says that has a lot to do with how workers were treated these past 18 months. Listen to this.


CHARLIE WISHMAN, PRESIDENT, IOWA FEDERATION OF LABOR: People have worked throughout this pandemic and they've been called essential. But unfortunately they've been treated as expendable.

And right now, people just, again, they want their piece of the American pie. They want their piece of the American dream so that people will have a better life for their families in the future.


BRUNHUBER: So all of this comes as unions fight an ongoing decline in membership. According to federal statistics, only a little more than 6 percent of more than 110 million U.S. workers were union members last year, up slightly from 2019.

But the percentage of unionized labor has been dropping for nearly 40 years. The retail sector is one of the largest employers but only 4.5 percent of its workers were union members last year. One exception: nearly 40 percent of government workers are represented by unions.



BRUNHUBER: Joining me from Los Angeles is Ryan Patel, board member and senior fellow at the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.

Thank you so much for being with us. All of this labor strife happening in the context of what people are calling the great resignation. More people left their jobs in August than in all of history, some 4.3 million people.

So what kind of workers are quitting and why is this happening?

RYAN PATEL, GLOBAL BUSINESS EXECUTIVE: Well, there's a couple of buckets. I think, Kim, the first bucket is people are leaving the jobs that they currently have and are finding other jobs because the benefits and/or the compensation is also better.

There's that one bucket of group of people, who are finding a better opportunity because companies have to up their game now to be able to attract better talent. That means not just compensation but also kinds of benefits -- health, you know, education -- I mean, it's getting really competitive.

Then there's the second bucket, which I think you and I were thinking about, about the strikes. If companies are making more money, people want to get paid more. People want a work-life balance more.

Part of it -- you can point toward the pandemic. The last two years, people have realized, workers specifically, where they would like to have that balance and what's worth it, what's not. It made a lot of employees question about what they want to do moving forward.

BRUNHUBER: So is all this giving more leverage to the unions then?

Is that why we're seeing so many labor actions?

PATEL: Yes. I mean, definitely, there has been -- if you think about the unions in general, there typically haven't been favorable in percentagewise. A recent Gallup poll said 68 percent of respondents have a positive view of the unions. Best reading of that question since 1965.

Yes, there is a lot more, you know, togetherness. And the unions know they have some leverage. And the companies actually do. If you look at John Deere, they just announced today or in the last 24 hours, you know, even on strike, they're going to be offering benefits to the workers that are on strike.

Kim, that doesn't happen.


PATEL: That doesn't happen on strikes. And so I think there is that collaboration and also the power of social media, too. Don't forget that is on their side.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. Well, so then that's great news for, you know, employees, many of whom are, you know, voting with their feet here.

The fact that labor has more power, the question is, is this temporary?

Is it sort of a bunch of people, who have more money in their pockets because of these, you know, COVID-specific government programs?

Or does all this signal a more permanent shift, in which people are rearranging their lives and have changed their attitudes toward work, that second bucket that you were talking about?

It seems -- you know, to me, counterintuitive after we've weathered such a huge economic upheaval because of COVID. You'd think workers would be more desperate than ever to hang onto whatever job they have.

PATEL: And you're right. And part of -- you think about the supply and demand where, the demand is high and companies need more products and services and they're having a hard time for whatever industry you mention, from supply chain to retail.

Part of what we learned from the pandemic -- and I think this is where, you know, yes, you got the stimulus package and that goes for so long. I think people want to find things that they want to make an impact and enjoy. And you know, I hate to throw this in there, Kim, but the whole work

from home and office debate that continues, that exists, that is into this workplace culture. So the way we look at work and this -- discuss culture has changed.

It's not going back to what it was pre-pandemic for many of these companies. And because of that, of how we look at workplace culture, how you look at your job, these employees are looking at, well, is this worth my time?

Could I be doing something else, side gigs?

The freelance market is -- 50 million people have freelance gigs on the side here in the U.S. So that has been going up. So there's a lot more opportunity now that people have opened their eyes and are balancing what's in front of them.

BRUNHUBER: Lastly, how do we marry what's happening on the labor side with what's happening in terms of inflation?

I mean, if this keeps going and prices keep going up, will that sort of pressure people to go back to perhaps the jobs that they left, that they didn't want?

PATEL: Yes. You know, it's always great when you have a small portion of -- a dose of something. When you start getting a bigger dose and when you're going through months and months and months of not meeting demand, not meeting retail sales, you know, payments are not being hit.

And then outlook starts to get cut for many of these companies. Profitability starts to decrease. That's when we're going to start seeing the demand and spend a little bit differently. That's going to naturally occur over a period of time.


PATEL: If this thing all gets settled in three, four months, I think we're OK. But you know, just like COVID, when things start to effect for more than six months, seven months, it has a detrimental effect to the economy as a whole, especially about recovery, Kim.

When we're talking about fast recovery, you want to see the U.S. GDP to continue to increase, not take a flat line. You want it to catch up past where we were at 2019. I think we're starting to see that this will have an effect, 2022's outlook, if companies can really reach those high potentials that they want to.

BRUNHUBER: Hate to leave it on a downer there but we will have to leave it there. Ryan Patel, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

PATEL: Thanks, Kim.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BRUNHUBER: The west coast of the U.S. is bracing for a powerful storm this weekend. A so-called bomb cyclone with hurricane-like strength and a chart-topping atmospheric river will clash Saturday, unleashing heavy rain, snow and strong winds in parts of California and the Pacific Northwest.

It's one of a series of storms forecast to hit the region.


BRUNHUBER: Queen Elizabeth is back home and resting. So we'll share what we know about the monarch's night at a hospital earlier this week in a live report from London coming up after the break. Stay with us.





BRUNHUBER: British prime minister Johnson is sending every possible good wish, in his words, to Queen Elizabeth. The 95-year-old monarch spent a night in the hospital earlier this week.

A royal source said she spent time resting and undertaking light duties at Windsor Castle. Senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen has more.

So Fred, plenty of questions, not just about the queen's health but also about the secrecy surrounding the hospital visit.

Many asking, you know, should there have been more transparency around all of this?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right. That's something that many people are asking. I think one of the things that we can see is that the palace didn't want to cause too much concern, not just here in the United Kingdom but internationally, as well.

It was very difficult though to keep this under wraps completely. Of course one of the things that happened in the middle of the week is that the palace announced that the queen would not be traveling to Northern Ireland, where she would have stayed for two days in a preplanned visit.

They said she was saddened but was following that medical advice. Then we heard she was taking medical advice to rest for a few days. It was only after that that it did come to light and the palace acknowledged that she had spent the night in the hospital in central London from Wednesday into Thursday.

And they did say that that was for preliminary investigations, for preliminary things. They also said that she was discharged, obviously, on Thursday and was back working at her desk in light duties back on Thursday.

Of course, Boris Johnson, the prime minister, in the message where he said that he sends all his best wishes or any best wishes also said that, characteristically, he had heard that she was all right, back at her desk and working.

So a lot of this seems to have been to minimize the concern. Of course, with the 95-year-old monarch, everything that has to do with her health is obviously something that is watched very closely. And, of course, also, that's reported on very closely, as well. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: Yes, absolutely. Lots of interested eyes watching that situation. Fred Pleitgen in London, thank you so much.

Back in the early 1980s, many New Wave bands probably didn't think they'd still be playing 40 years later and that includes Duran Duran. But take a listen.




BRUNHUBER (voice-over): Duran Duran just released their 15th album, called "Future Past." It commemorates their career that debuted in 1981. The song, "Anniversary," is basically a happy birthday to themselves. The group started work on their latest album, in 2018. Then after some pandemic related difficulties, they finally released, it this week.

JOHN TAYLOR, DURAN DURAN: We would never have expected to still, be making music together, after all this time. We were just kids. We came together in punk rock, in the late '70s. Nobody was thinking long- term, it was like, could we just play next year?

But I think, as time has passed and we've grown into each other, we are perfectly matched for each other. We've grown together, as artists.

BRUNHUBER (voice-over): Formed in 1978, Duran Duran rose to fame with hits such as "Girls on Film" and "Rio." They have sold more than 100 million records, worldwide.


BRUNHUBER: Wonder how this record will sell.

I'm Kim Brunhuber. I'll be back in a moment with more CNN NEWSROOM. Please do stay with us.