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CNN This Morning

Countdown on High Stakes Contract Negotiations Between the UAW and Detroit's Big Three Automakers; NFL Turf-Grass Debate; Aaron Rodgers Speaking Out After Achilles Injury; Romney Calls for "New Generation" Beyond Biden and Trump; Interview with Former 2020 Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang; Child Poverty Rate Jumps After Enhanced Tax Credit Expires. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 14, 2023 - 06:30   ET





SHAWN FAIN, PRESIDENT, UNITED AUTO WORKERS: They nickel and dime our members every day. They price gauge the American consumer and they squeeze the U.S. taxpayer for every dime they can get. The big three can afford to immediately give us our fair share.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: So, that's the president of the United Auto Workers union. And this morning, the countdown is on for the high stakes contract negotiations between the UAW and Detroit's big three automakers. They only have until 11:59 p.m. tonight to reach an agreement or thousands of workers could walk off the job.

But talks are not going well. And now, the union president is announcing plans for a targeted strike at a limited number of plants that could grind auto production at those plants to a halt. Vanessa Yurkevich joins us live again this morning in Detroit, outside of General Motors headquarters.

He was so candid in that sort of Facebook talk that you told us that's coming yesterday. And now, a targeted strike. What does that actually mean?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDNENT: Yes. Less than 24 hours, there is still time to reach a deal, but it is not looking good. President Fain last night laying out this unique targeted strike approach, something we hadn't seen since the United Auto Workers do since the late 1990s. Essentially, the National Union would call on select local unions at various plants at various times over various days and ask them only those unions to go out on strike, leaving others working at the plants.

Part of this is to keep the company guessing and part of this is to conserve the strike fund for workers. But this could come at some risk because those workers that are still left working at the plants, they're down under a contract, and the companies do not have to pay those workers.

Also, in terms of supply, if you just shut down a couple plants across the country, that could have an impact on the supply chain. One economist saying that it's essentially like shutting down all production. We know the three automakers do not have as much inventory as they did in 2019.


So, I want you to listen to Shawn Fain who discussed the state of negations and then also listen to Jim Farley, the CEO of Ford, who was visibly upset about where they are in the state of negotiations.


SHAWN FAIN, PRESIDENT, UNITED AUTO WORKERS: We're still very far apart on our key priorities. From job security to ending tiers, from cost-of-living allowance to wage increases, we do not yet have offers on the table that reflect a sacrifice and contributions our members have made to these companies. To win, we're likely going to have to take action.

JIM FARLEY, CEO, FORD MOTOR COMPANY: On August 29th, we made our first offer almost two weeks ago to the UAW. We've made three offers since then, and we've had no genuine counteroffer on any of those.


YURKEVICH: Now, Jim Farley and Bill Ford said that they showed up to union headquarters yesterday to present the fourth offer, they said Shawn Fain was not there. Jim Farley saying that he is optimistic that there could be a deal, but he doesn't feel like negotiations are moving in the right direction.

Big question, guys, is there going to be enough in terms of negotiations from these companies to please the union despite record wage increase offers, 17.5 percent to 20 percent? Is it going to be enough? And is it going to be in time for the deadline, guys?

HARLOW: Yes. And so, notable that the CEO of Ford and the chair went there in person with this offer saying it's it is tough to negotiate when there is no one to negotiate with. That's their stance at this point. Vanessa, great reporting. Thank you. Phil.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Aaron Rodgers is speaking out after suffering a season-ending Achilles injury during the first drive of the first game of the season. In an Instagram post, he says that he will "rise again" and that he's proud of his new team for taking home the win. Rodgers, you recall, (INAUDIBLE) during that first drive and just his fourth snap in his debut with the New York Jets. That injury is now reigniting the debate on real grass versus artificial turf on fields.

Here's what Jet's coach, Robert Saleh, said when he was asked if the new field at MetLife Stadium played a role in Rodgers' injury.


ROBERT SALEH, HEAD COACH, NEW YORK JETS: You know, if it was a noncontact injury, I think that would be something to discuss, obviously. But that was kind of a forcible -- I think it was trauma induced. I do know the players prefer grass and, you know, there's a lot invested in those gentlemen.


MATTINGLY: Andy Scholes is joining me now. And, Andy, the NFL commissioner is weighting in too. This is a time old debate at this point, real grass is the answer. But where do things stand?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, you know, Phil, as soon as the injury happened to Rodgers, you know, many started blaming that turf there at MetLife Stadium. The NFLPA executive director, Lloyd Howell, he issued a statement yesterday calling for all teams to move to grass playing surfaces.

Now, he said "it's the easiest decision to make," adding, you know, "The players overwhelmingly prefer it and the data is clear that grass is simply safer than artificial turf." But Commissioner Roger Goodell on the ESPN's "First Take" yesterday, he pushed back on that, saying, they aren't convinced that the turf is more dangerous to play on.


ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: What we want to go is on science. We want go on what's the best from an injury standpoint to prevent the injuries, to give our players the best possible surface to play on. And that's -- that can't be done by my feeling of looking at a particular injury, it's got to be done with a real process and to look at it with medical experts, look at it with engineers, look at it with people on the cleats, look at it on every aspect of what can go into take injury.


SCHOLES: Now, 17 of the 32 teams use artificial turf at home. And according to data released by the NFLPA, noncontact injuries occur at a higher rate on turf compared to grass during the 2022 regular season. And if you ask Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, you know, he is one of many players that definitely prefers grass.


PATRICK MAHOMES, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS QUARTERBACK: I think it's pretty simple, the numbers say that grass is healthier for the players. And so, I want to play on the best surface that will keep me healthy.


SCHOLES: Now, two-time Super Bowl champ Eli Manning, meanwhile, he played his home games there at MetLife Stadium and said, well, the turf never bothered him.


ELI MANNING, 2-TIME SUPER BOWL CHAMPION: You know, I was never worried about the turf. I never got injured because of turf played -- you know, played in that stadium and the old stadium I played at MetLife. So, I honestly believe that the turf had nothing to do with that injury. I think it was just unfortunate.


SCHOLES: Now, the NFLPA acknowledged the investment it would take to change all the stadiums to grass, but pointed out the fact that all those NFL stadiums hosting the World Cup in 2026 are switching to grass for the tournament. So, Phil, the NFLPA says, you know, if they'll do that for soccer, switch to grass, why won't they do it for their own players?


MATTINGLY: That's a good point. Andy Scholes, appreciate it, my friend. Thank you.

SCHOLES: All right.

MATTINGLY: Well, Utah Senator Mitt Romney says he will not run for re-election because he would be in his mid-80s in his next term, so will President Biden. We'll discuss this and the state of the 2024 race coming up with Former Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang. He's in the studio now. We're going to talk to him. Stay with us.



SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): At the end of another term, I'd be in my mid-80s. Frankly, it's time for a new generation of leaders. They are the ones that need to make the decisions that will shape the world they will be living in.


HARLOW: That is Senator Mitt Romney announcing that he will not seek re-election, citing his age as one of those factors. He also said this about the 2024 presidential race.


ROMNEY: I think it would be a great thing if both President Biden and Former President Trump were to stand aside and let their respective party pick someone in the next generation. President Trump -- excuse me, President Biden, when he was running, said he was a transitional figure to the next generation. Well, time to transition.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MATTINGLY: And according to an excerpt of Romney's upcoming biography by McKay Coppins, in April, Romney approached Democratic Senator Joe Manchin about building a new political party, "Instead of putting forward its own doomed candidate in 2024, Romny argues their party should gather a contingent of likeminded donors and pledge support to the candidate who came closest to aligning with its agenda." Would say, this party is going to endorse whichever parties' nominee isn't stupid.

Joining us now is former 2020 president candidate Andrew Yang. He launched a new third-party in 2021 called Forward after leaving the Democratic Party and he's the author of the fiction book, "The Last Election." We'll get to the book in a minute.


But to that point, you know, Romney is differentiating he hasn't pursued this path. But his idea was not to start a whole new party entirely, it seemed to be endorsing whichever candidate isn't stupid, which seems to be a decent plan, I guess, low bar.

ANDREW YANG (D), FORMER 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, LAUNCHED NEW THIRD PARTY "FORWARD" IN 2021 AND AUTHOR, "THE LAST ELECTION": Yes. I was curious what he's going to name it, "The Not Stupid Party."

MATTINGLY: But you went a different route in terms of new party altogether.

YANG: Yes.

MATTINGLY: Is it because you don't think that the Democratic candidate in this race, the current president, you think he is too old? Do you think he can't be the nominee? He shouldn't be the nominee? Shouldn't be the president?

YANG: At this point, about half of Americans, say were independents, two-thirds want a new political alternative. More than two-thirds of young people don't subscribe to either party. So, the question is, how are we going to build a system that's actually representative and will stand the test of time?

The Forward Party is reaching across -- I was going to say across the aisle, but for lot of Americans, the left, right ideological divide isn't something they live every day. And I experienced that when I was on the trail running for president. There are people on the right and the left who can find common ground in a lot of biggest issues.

HARLOW: Can you help us understand then why it never works? Why a third-party bid in this country has just never prevails?

YANG: Yes, I'd love to, Poppy. So, first, when people think third- party, they immediately go to the presidential, because Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, that sort of thing.

HARLOW: Yes. YANG: So, Forward is focusing on the half a million locally elected offices around the country. We have several dozen mayors, district attorneys, city commissioners who have aligned with Forward because they don't want to play the ideological back and forth. They are like, look, I'm just trying to get things done for my community and I'm not on team blue or team red, I'm on team constituent or the office that people elected me for.

MATTINGLY: I think that theoretically most people would say, that makes a ton of sense. We like to say to you (ph). But I think the hard part is, to Poppy's point, like actually putting the theory into practice. You know, you had some pushback recently from someone who used to work for the parties, the former national press secretary said, the mere imagining of a better tomorrow and its view is sufficient to reform the longest standing democracy on earth. In effect, it is a part of that seeks to attract support by standing for nothing other than disruption. Call it the Seinfeld Party. How do you respond to that?

YANG: So, we're trying to improve the lines of people in Massachusetts and Missouri. And the game that people want to play right now is, what are you really? Like, no, no. You say you're this. Like are you a Democrat? Are you Republican? Because that's the way that they want to us stay separated and pitted against each other. And that's, frankly, the way a lot of the media want to operate too because they say, look, here's the blue message, here's the red message, here's what the audience wants.

Now, what do Americans want? Americans actually want the same thing when you sit down with them. They want better lives for themselves and their kids. And unfortunately, they don't think that they are getting that right now.

HARLOW: OK. So, we got to talk about No Labels, because there's this reporting in "Politico" that you met with No Labels. You've confirmed that. Two questions on that front. Have you talked to them about running for president? And what about Joe Manchin who has also been connected to them and Mitt Romney saying in announcement yesterday that he's talked to Manchin in a number of times and said, I lobby continuously that it would only elect Trump if Manchin jumps in this way?

YANG: I'm an anyone but Trump guy -- not anyone, but, look, I'm a not Trump guy.

MATTINGLY: So, it's a binary choice. You will vote for Joe Biden?

YANG: And if you were to run or other people like me were to run, I'd look at the numbers. I would increase the chances of Trump winning if that is the match-up.

HARLOW: Would Manchin do the same?

YANG: You know, you'd have to ask someone who has those numbers. The numbers I've seen suggest that any of a host of figures would increase the chances of Trump winning if there is a Trump/Biden rematch. But to Mitt Romney's point, two-thirds of Americans don't want a Trump/Biden rematch. They will be a combined 160 in 2024. And its irrational that in a country of 330 million we'd be presented with these two gentlemen at this age and stage and say, hey, these are your choices. It just doesn't make any sense.

So, there's a lot of energy around, OK, if this doesn't make sense, what is the alternative?

MATTINGLY: So, do you think No Labels should shut down its effort that's been doing up to this -- based on the numbers you've seen?

YANG: You know, I'm the numbers guy. But numbers --

HARLOW: Yes, you are.

YANG: -- do -- you know, every number -- every set of numbers I've seen is a snapshot of a moment in time.

HARLOW: So, that's a maybe?

YANG: That's -- you know, I mean, like, who knows. I mean, the numbers I've seen suggest that someone running would increase the chances of Trump winning.

HARLOW: OK. You have said that you think Biden should debate, not just Kennedy, but others. Should a Democrat challenge Biden at this point?

YANG: 100 percent.


YANG: You know, I mean --


YANG: Governor Gavin Newsom, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Governor J. B. Pritzker, Governor Phil Murphy, Governor Roy Cooper.

MATTINGLY: All of whom have pledged complete support to Biden.

HARLOW: Yes. They're not --



YANG: All of whom we all know would love to throw their hat in the ring if the DNC hadn't come and said, hey, guys, like, we're going to support Biden this time. Wait your turn. And it's the next cycle, and if Biden has a health problem, maybe it is you.

I mean, the fact is there are only two things that could happen, really. It's that the American people say, you know what, Joe Biden was a great president for 2020 but we like someone else, or Joe Biden wins but it's a genuine process and then everyone feels better about it. I mean, what is the downside really of having an open process?

MATTINGLY: Let's talk about the book because third-party and an actual third-party that is successful or builds toward success is a big focus of the book. Why did you write this book?

YANG: We wanted to tell a story as to how the next election last -- the last election could play out based upon a dysfunctional political system that is more concerned with trying to preserve a creaking, disintegrating status quo that actually responding to what the American people want.

Plus, I ran for president. I had all these experiences. And it's like, how do you convey that to the American people in a way that can get a message out?

HARLOW: But in a novel -- it's interesting, all your other books have been -- have not -- you know, not been fiction.

YANG: Nonfiction, yes.


HARLOW: And now, you're -- is this fun?

YANG: Oh, it's different, Poppy, and it's one reason I did have a writing partner because, you know, it's like I'm not an experienced novelist.


YANG: But when I was running for president, my campaign team would always whisper in my ear, bio, bio. Because what they are saying is that people need to attach themselves to stories and narratives, and we wanted to write this novel so that we could construct a narrative that paints a vivid picture of how the next election could go if we don't get our acts together.

MATTINGLY: Yes. Well, the book is called "The Last Election." It's a fascinating book. Not bad for first shot at being a novelist.

YANG: Well, thank you, Phil. I appreciate it.

MATTINGLY: We appreciate your time, Andrew.

HARLOW: He's a tough critic. So --

MATTINGLY: No, I -- it was good. It was a really good read.

HARLOW: Yes, yes.

MATTINGLY: Appreciate your time.

YANG: Thank you.

MATTINGLY: And you could get the book, "The Last Election." It's out now. HARLOW: Ahead, hear from lawmakers as new data show that the child poverty rate doubled last year after the end of the enhanced child tax credit. There are things that can be done to turn this around. We'll tell you what they are, ahead.



SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): We have now proved something pretty phenomenal and at the same pretty up seen. And what we've proved is that poverty for children in America is not some accident, it's policy choice.


MATTINGLY: That was Senator Booker calling out the choice of many of his fellow senators not to renew the expanded child tax credit. Now, since that expansion expired and COVID stimulus payments ended, the rate of poverty among American children doubled.

Meaning, more than 5 million children have fallen into poverty. Senator Joe Manchin defended his opposition to extending that expanded tax credit telling Semafor, "It's deeper than that, we all have to do our part. The federal government can't run everything."


HARLOW: Our next guest says progress has been made just on the state level. Adam Ruben is the vice president of campaigns and political strategy for the Economic Security Project. He has lobbied states to take action here to do this on their own where the federal government has stopped.

Adam, thanks for being here. This is an issue Phil and I care a lot about and it matters to so many American people. Explain to people why what Cory Booker is saying reflects the reality that we saw child poverty go from 5.2 percent to 12.4 percent in a year simply because of a policy change this in Washington?

ADAM RUBEN, VP OF CAMPAIGNS AND POLITICAL STRATEGY, ECONOMIC SECURITY PROJECT AND HAS LOBBIED STATES TO ADOPT THEIR OWN CHILD TAX CREDIT: Yes. Thanks for having me. No matter who we come -- who we are or where we come from, we all believe that kid shoes grow up with a roof over their head and food on the table. And we live in the richest country in country in the world, we can afford to do that. So, that's why Senator Booker is right, poverty is a policy choice.

And with 9 million kids in this country living in poverty today, it's a choice we can't make anymore. But fortunately, we have a tried and tested solution in the child tax credit, and that's why we need to get that expanded.

MATTINGLY: You know, I think the question that I've had -- and this isn't just on Senator Joe Manchin, there's -- there are ideological differences which I think we all know well in term it is of where the party stand on policy and where the party stand on assistance like this. I think the difference here is just the direct correlation -- the direct connection to a single policy having such a dramatic effect.

Lawmakers are trying to figure out a way to get this back. Do you see any pathway from that on the federal level before we kind of dive it on the state side?

RUBEN: Yes. I think I really do. The key is that four out of five voters agree that we should have no more tax breaks for wealthy corporations unless there is support for working- and middle-class families through the child tax credit.

So, this year, Republicans have corporate tax breaks that they want to pass. Democrats have said that their top priority is to expand the child tax credit and I think those are the ingredients for a bipartisan deal that we could see happen before the end of this year in Congress.

HARLOW: So, that's do them both but that costs more. What do you say to people that say this country can't afford that, especially right now?

RUBEN: We can't afford to have 9 million kids growing up in poverty. Every dollar that we spend on lifting kids out of poverty pays off over the course of their lifetimes, improved educational outcomes, health outcomes. It pays itself back eight to 10 times. So, this is a really smart investment. And, of course, it's the right thing to do to make sure that kids are growing up in families that can keep their heads above water.

HARLOW: Go ahead.

MATTINGLY: Well, I want to ask you about something that -- Poppy had an interview with Senator Mike Rounds, a Republican in the Senate conference who is known to be bipartisan, works on bipartisan legislation. And she asked him about this. Take a listen.


SEN. MIKE ROUNDS (R-SD): Part of it is simply because there's more cash available through government programs and through tax relief, but there's another piece of this and it is part that we haven't really talked about. And if we're going to talk about the income, we also have to talk about the expenses as well, which is even a bigger part. And I know that it sounds like we're talking about inflation adjusted income coming in, but we're not talking about the impact on a household basis of what inflation has done in the last two years.


MATTINGLY: And, Adam, I think the point I'm trying to get at in playing is that this isn't just an ideological issue, I think there are people who question whether or not the connection was as direct as I think I perceived it to be. Do you think that's an inaccurate read on things? RUBEN: Well, I think last year we saw that millions more kids with the child tax credit checks going out had enough to eat, had enough -- had shelter, had clothing. And this year, we see a historic one-year jump in the number of kids up to 9 million who are struggling.

But I think it is really clear for voters, 70 percent of voters support expanding the child tax credit, and that includes black and Latino voters who tend to lean toward Democrats, it includes white working-class voters who tend to lean toward Republicans. So, this is something that most Americans agree is a priority. And that's why I think we're seeing the big wave of momentum that we're seeing in the states to expand child tax credits.

HARLOW: Just very quickly on that. When you do this state by state, is it as effective for the children and the families? And if you do it -- this was $300 a month per child, no strings attached before on a federal level. When you do it at the state level, something comparable, is it as effective for families?

RUBEN: We're seeing a huge wave of momentum in the states, from red states like Utah to blue states like Maryland and Minnesota expanding child tax credits this year, the number of states with child tax credits has doubled over the past two years. But we can't let it be a patchwork.

Growing up in poverty shouldn't depend on what ZIP code you're growing up in. So, that's why we need the federal government to step in and do their part as well, before the end of this year.

MATTINGLY: A debate we're definitely going to be following in the months ahead. Adam Ruben, we appreciate your time. Thank you.

RUBEN: Thanks so much for having me.

HARLOW: "CNN This Morning" continues right now.