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San Francisco Will Allow Police to Deploy Robots That Kill; NYC Mayor Says NYPD and First Responders Can Involuntarily Commit Those in Mental Health Crisis; World's Largest Active Volcano is Shooting Fountains of Lava More Than 100 Feet High in Hawaii; World Cup: U.S to Play Netherlands on Saturday; Students Sue Yale University; Four-Day Week Pilot Was a Huge Success. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired November 30, 2022 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, cities across the country are grappling with the reality or, in some cases, the perception of a significant rise in crime, and they're looking for solutions.
Take San Francisco, for example, where the city's board of supervisors voted to approve a controversial policy that will allow police to deploy robots that kill.
It's a jarring headline, I admit, but San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott tells CNN these robots would only be used in the most extreme circumstances. He also says that only officers with the rank of deputy or assistant chief or chief of police would be able to authorize the use of these lethal robots.
I want to bring in now editor-in-chief of "The Hill" Bob Cusack, CNN political commentator Ashley Allison, and CNN law enforcement analyst and former D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone.
I mean, look, when you think about this headline, the idea of robots being able to be used that can use lethal force, it's on the backdrop not in a vacuum on our discussions over the years about the Fourth Amendment, on reasonable search and seizure, excessive police force.
It also conjures up, for many people, what happened in 2016, remembering Dallas, when a robotic device was used to deploy against somebody who fatally shot five officers. This is a different context, Michael, but I'm wondering from your perspective, when you think about this through the delegation perhaps to a robot, are we being too reductive about this? What do you make of it?
MICHAEL FANONE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICER: I mean, I think that as a law enforcement officer, I want to have tools in my tool box that are available to me to address any possible scenario. And as we know from 2016, there was a scenario in which that was the safest way to neutralize a threat that was posed against law enforcement. Again, you know, only to be used in the most extreme circumstances. Obviously, the -- having a chief or assistant chief being the only individuals within the chain of command that can approve that tactic --
COATES: Does that rank make you feel more secure in terms of the judgment to be used and when to do it?
FANONE: It does. I mean, it -- you know, obviously, it's going to have to make its way through quite a few individuals and ultimately to the top before someone can approve that drastic measure. That being said, I think it's important for officers to have any tool at their disposal as long as it's appropriately used.
COATES: I do wonder about the length of time it takes in the most extreme circumstances, how do you know to use it and will it be done in time before the human element comes in. And I've got to tell you, part of me actually thinks to myself, well, when you have a human being, there's a chance that judgments or discretion can be more trusted maybe than the automatic nature of a robot that maybe can't be shut off in some respect. Do you have some misgivings about this?
ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I have to say, when I saw the story, it did not make me feel comfortable. I understand the need for law enforcement to have what they need to do their jobs and protect themselves. I also know that when we use robots on some things, algorithms, processes, they are imperfect.
And when we talk about taking another person's life, that draws it into question. We don't always get it right as human beings and the robots won't either.
I guess the question is when and why you use it, and I don't want it to become a slippery slope. I don't want it to become, you know, the self-driving car or the person that stops the -- someone for a traffic stop. Maybe in the most extreme circumstances, but I do have some hesitation and pause on how this will be used in society.
COATES: Yeah. Let's hear from the San Francisco police chief, Bill Scott, on this point. I want you to respond as well because there are those concerns. I think he was anticipating and try to address at least in part.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL SCOTT, CHIEF, SAN FRANCISCO POLICE: Our technicians and our special weapons and tactics officers who use these types of devices are highly trained, highly skilled, and they know what they're doing. What we have asked for is the ability to use robots in the event that we have that worst-case scenario, where lives have been taken or in the process of being lost, and it is unsafe to send an officer to that door, to that structure or to that location where this is happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: I mean, the idea of knowing what you're doing is -- I guess we are talking about being trained. But there is -- if you think about this in San Francisco, compare that to what's happening in a place like New York, right, where there's conversations now about mental health and the idea of being able to detain or involuntarily confine in some way and commit using all the same notion of discretion, the idea of being able to think, here's what's going to happen, here's the right decision to make, I wonder, and just to your point, and thinking about it, what does it say in the climate we're in?
I mean, is this idea of this level of discretion and then the delegation to a measure like this, we're thinking about mental health and having that be a part of the assessment, does that, you think, sit well?
BOB CUSACK, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE HILL: Well, number one, I think this country has got to come to grips it has got a mental health problem, it's a crisis, and it has only gotten worse since COVID. And I think when you can save a police officer's life, that's a great thing. But it should be one of the last resorts. I honestly think you got to have oversight here. You know, your point on a slippery slope, I think, is a very good one. What's the next step?
COATES: You mean congressional oversight of some kind?
CUSACK: Some type of oversight to see -- okay, reviewing whether it's local or potentially congressional. You need to say, okay, did it work in the situation? We just can't trust the police completely. But at the same time, I understand his point, that if you're going to send a human being in there and that officer is going to lose his life, why not send a robot if it's a dangerous situation?
But I do think that Congress and others -- the mental health issue, I think more legislation has to be passed. I think more resources have to be delivered to states and localities, and I think new programs have to be set up. And insurance -- insurance companies don't really recognize mental health as much as other types of health problems. That's a problem.
COATES: We've known the idea of mental health as a transition and put a finer point on this. In New York, you know, they've got this new -- implemented, according to Mayor Adams, the idea of being able to have officers who, frankly, you know, are already overwhelmed in a variety of ways, insisting on being the jack of all trades.
Do you have concerns about requiring officers to be in a position to assess mental health in a broader way and be able to determine an episode, what to do about it, and to make decisions that are -- that might be different from the training you received in terms of a violent threat?
FANONE: Listen, any time that you introduce an armed law enforcement officer into an encounter with a civilian, there's always going to be the possibility of an escalation of force that could ultimately result in the loss of life. That being said, I think that Mayor Adams sees a problem and he's approaching that problem as a law enforcement officer would.
Mental health is an issue. It is an epidemic in this country. And homelessness is an epidemic in this country. And there are issues that I saw, as a police officer in Washington D.C. for two decades, involving a combination of the two factors that I could not address as a police officer.
And I think that what Mayor Adams is saying is, like, we have this problem, we need to do something, we can't just do nothing, and so he's using a force that he has at his disposal as the mayor of New York City and hoping that their, you know, intervention in these individuals' lives will result in a better situation than what they're experiencing right now.
COATES: The honesty is important, the idea of not being able to -- there's no panacea to all the issues we are describing and we are fooling ourselves if we can, but just note, read more about what's happening in San Francisco as, of course, what's happening in New York in different context as well.
Listen, everyone, the picture out there are studying, and I'm talking about the world's largest active volcano -- look at it right there -- shooting lava for miles on Hawaii's big island. And everyone wants to see it, but how close can you get and stay safe? For me, it's right here, but I'll ask a volcanologist, next.
COATES: Well, now, to the world's largest active volcano shooting fountains of lava more than 100 feet up into the air. The Mauna Loa Volcano erupted this week for the first time since 1984. And now, it's edging closer to a major highway in Hawaii. Luckily, officials say it's currently not a threat to neighboring communities.
I want to bring in Jess Phoenix. She's a volcanologist and author of "Ms. Adventure: My Wild Explorations in Science, Lava, and Life." Jess, just looking at this, from people -- you know, it almost seems like a Hollywood movie. It is shooting up. It almost doesn't even look real. And I can't help it be a little fearful of what we're seeing. Tell me, is there a real risk? Is this rapidly moving lava that's shooting and going down?
JESS PHOENIX, VOLCANOLOGIST: Well, when you have moments where the lava is being ejected into the air, forming what we call lava fountains like in the video, that can be hazardous. You don't want to get too close to that.
However, this eruption is actually, at the moment, one of the best- case scenarios for a volcanic eruption because the lava that Mauna Loa produces is really oozy. It's a very runny lava. So, it's not the type of lava that you see with Mount St. Helens or Vesuvius where you have a really sticky lava that creates a big explosion. Mauna Loa is oozing and running and flowing and that means that scientists can get up close and personal to really understand what's going on with the volcano.
COATES: That's what's so exciting, I'm sure, especially for a volcanologist like yourself to think about -- look, I mean, you don't want it to, obviously, impact the communities or cause any harm, but there's something very magnificent, I'm sure, about the study of seeing it active after 40 decades -- 40 years, excuse me.
And so, what kinds of things could you learn about this and seeing the eruption? I mean, how distinct is it from, say, it' dormant period to have a better understanding of what makes the volcanoes tick and a way to prevent or predict?
PHOENIX: Yeah, right now, volcanology is a science that is rapidly making improvements. Ever since Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, it sorts of revolutionized the study of volcanoes and it really drove home the need that we have to understand them better in order to protect people and people's property from damage.
So, right now, when we watch this eruption, scientists are out there 24/7, taking measurements of the rate of the flow, of the composition of the lava, what crystals, what elements are present. They're measuring the gases that are being emitted. They're measuring how much the ground flexes from the infusion of magma underneath out on to the eruption at the surface.
So, there's tons of data that we're collecting right now, and scientists at the United States Geological Survey and their colleagues around the world are going to be analyzing that to tell us, is there precursor signs that we can look for in eruptions like this? Are there lessons we can learn for future eruptions that are going to save lives?
COATES: And, of course, you've got these dueling (INAUDIBLE) volcanoes happening right now, Kilauea and also Mauna Loa, but I assume it is still safe. The governor of Hawaii is saying it is safe to visit. But, of course, there is the distinction between members of the scientific community who are studying this and those who are trying to get a peek at what's happening.
Is there a study of the impact of the air quality, too? I mean, the lava is one thing, but we're seeing smoke and obviously volcanic ash in the air.
PHOENIX: Well, actually, I have to correct something right there. It's not actually a smoke. It is -- it's volcanic gases which are --
PHOENIX: -- acid gases. You don't want to breath them in.
[23:20:00] PHOENIX: So, we're talking hydrogen fluoride, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide. These are all gases that are really not fun for average folks to breathe in, let alone if you have any sort of respiratory issue.
So, the Hawaiian Civil Defense Authority and the U.S. Geological Survey will closely monitor the vog, the volcanic smog that the eruption produces, and they will let any communities affected know well in advance if people with respiratory issues should stay inside.
But we're pretty lucky because right now, the vog disperses fairly well and the civilians in the area have a pretty good handle on dealing with vog because the neighboring volcano, Kilauea, has been erupting since the 80s. So, people are used to it in Hawaii, which is a good thing.
COATES: Well, L.A. has smog, I got to tell you, stay away from the vog, and we are talking right now just the idea of what things are happening, but it is such a sight to see, just the power of our earth and all that it contains. Thank you so much for your insight and helping to illuminate these issues. I appreciate it.
PHOENIX: Thanks so much for having me and just keep your eye on that eruption because it is spectacular.
COATES: I mean, from this distance? For me, it is.
PHOENIX: Yeah. Leave it to the volcanologists.
COATES: Jess, I will leave it to you, and you're the perfect person to tell us about it. We learned a great deal. Thank you.
PHOENIX: Thank you.
COATES: Well, look, from volcanoe to the eruption of crowds cheering for what will be the next big World Cup game. It's happening on Saturday at 10 a.m. And really, the burning question -- see what I did there -- is, what are their chances of winning? We'll discuss, next.
COATES: Well, American soccer fans are on the edge of their seats. They're waiting for Saturday when the U.S. men's national team goes up against the Netherlands in the World Cup knockout stage. And it's still unclear if star forward Christian Pulisic will be able to play. He did score the only goal in yesterday's game against Iran, but left with what is called a pelvic contusion. Joining me now, CNN sports analyst Christine Brennan, who I'm so glad is here to help us think about this because, look, everyone is looking forward to Saturday. It was such an exciting matchup. You know, a lot of focus, of course, on the politics of the matchup between the U.S. and Iran. But looking ahead to Saturday, I mean, Netherlands is no joke, right? They are the favorite here.
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: They are definitely. They are a powerhouse, ranked eighth in the world. This is an excellent team. When we think of soccer, men's soccer, you think of the European dominance or Brazil --
BRENNAN: I mean, the Netherlands is right there for sure. And this will not be easy. Not that the other ones have been easy --
COATES: Sure! Of course.
BRENNAN: But it's just -- it gets harder, exponentially harder. This is the round of 16. It's the knockout phase two. So, there's no wiggle room. You win, you move on, you lose, you go home, and they do go to extra time and they do have penalties if they have to because there has to be a result.
COATES: No more draws here.
BRENNAN: No. No more 00, which I'm sure everyone in America is going yay, no more 00.
COATES: We just had Briana Scurry. She was known for the shootout. That got the women's team to win. Just thinking about that. But now we'll have that exciting aspect of it. But, you know, not to be dismissive of the team, they're extraordinary, the U.S. men's national team, but they were kind of the little engine that -- they weren't thought of as being able to be in this position quite yet. Talk about the extraordinary nature of them now.
BRENNAN: It's the second youngest team at the World Cup. This is -- you know, Pulisic, we're talking about him, obviously so important and hopefully he can play --
BRENNAN: We'll see. He is 24.
BRENNAN: You know, there are guys younger than him on that team. And I think, you know, we always love the new thing, right, Whether it's the new gadget, a new toy, a new book a new star, an actress or an actor. This team is that. It's a young team. They're fresh faces. The way they've answered questions, the issues. I think they've made us so proud as a nation. And so, it's easy to cheer for them.
And they're also, of course, we talked about them before, they are the guys that gave up some of their money --
BRENNAN: -- so that the women could have equal pay. Name another group of people that would just willingly give money away so that the greater good could be served. That's what these young men have done.
COATES: You do not see that level of altruism on the world stage like this. And you're right about the issues. There has been a lot of conversation in this moment. You saw where the athletes from the U.S. were even consoling the Iranian players and thinking about what was at stake.
Because for a lot of these players, from Iran, a lot of these teams combined, this is the vision of sportsmanship. And we are looking at these photos, Christine, and you know it's more than just about the loss of the match. What is on the shoulders of these Iranian players as well, I think, was recognized by these U.S. players.
BRENNAN: Absolutely. These are smart, young athletes and young human beings. And they care. And so, to see them hugging, and it wasn't just oh, sorry you lost --
BRENNAN: -- it is because the Americans know that the Iranians are going to go home, at least some of them, some of them go back to their clubs, but they will go home and their families are also a concern, and they may face punishment and consequences because they didn't sing their anthem the first time. And in fact, I know -- I saw at least one player who did not sing it, the third match against the U.S., and they've been warned, they've been threatened by their government.
COATES: Their families threatened as well.
BRENNAN: Without a doubt. So, even if they are not there, it's their families. And so, the American players realized that. They've been empathetic, Laura. They've been kind.
BRENNAN: They realized that, yes, they won, but what these Iranian players are going to go home to and their families are going to deal with is something far beyond winning and losing on a soccer field.
COATES: That to me is the power of sports. And that imagery, we can teach our children about this. We can teach ourselves more about this. Maybe we can get a little bit of that empathy and understanding right here on Capitol Hill. Who knows?
BRENNAN: You know what? That's a good idea. Go for it. Good luck.
COATES: Good luck, and good luck, of course, to the players this coming Saturday. We are all be watching. And, you know, from the World Cup to the NBA, well, guess who is at the Celtics game tonight in Boston? There they are, everyone. The prince and princess of Wales, better known to us commoners as Prince William and Kate Middleton.
The royal couple are in Boston for their Earthshot Prize Award ceremony founded by the prince to tackle some of the planet's environmental challenges. President Joe Biden will greet the prince and princess on Friday while he is in town for a fundraiser.
Coming up, a group of students are suing Yale, alleging discrimination against students with mental health disabilities. My next guest is a former Yale student who is part of that lawsuit. What he's saying, next.
COATES: A group of students now suing Yale University and its governing body, alleging that Yale discriminated against students with mental health disabilities, even allegedly forcing those with severe mental health disability symptoms to withdraw from the school.
CNN's Miguel Marquez has the story.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The claim in a new lawsuit seeking class action status, Yale University discriminated against students with mental health disabilities, alleging that Yale's withdrawal policies and practices pushed students with mental health disabilities out of Yale, and if they try to get back in, they face unreasonable burdens.
The lawsuit coming shortly after a "Washington Post" investigation relying on interviews of more than 25 current and former Yale students. One student telling the "Post," she suffered a sexual assault, eventually attempting suicide, then feeling forced to withdraw from the university.
Another account in "The Washington Post," a 20-year-old math major, who had already withdrawn once, posted on Facebook, "Dear Yale, I loved being here. I only wish I could've had some time. I needed time to work things out and to wait for new medication to kick in, but I couldn't do it in school, and I couldn't bear the thought of having to leave for a full year, or of leaving and never being readmitted."
Her fear so great of not being allowed in a second time, she died by suicide in 2015. Yale says it made some changes to its policies, but those bringing the lawsuit say, it's not enough.
In a statement. Yale said, "Our primary focus is on students' safety and health, especially when they are most vulnerable. We have taken steps in recent years to simplify the return to Yale for students on medical withdrawals and to provide additional support for students." "The university is confident that our policies comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Nonetheless, we have been working on policy changes that are responsive to students' emotional and financial wellbeing."
Miriam Heyman, who wrote a 2018 white paper on mental health in the Ivy League for the Ruderman Family Foundation, which is cited in the lawsuit, says Yale is not alone when it comes to failing to accommodate students with mental health disabilities.
MIRIAM HEYMAN, DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGIST, BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY: Prior to COVID, experts have sort of labeled what's happening on college campuses as a mental health crisis. National data has shown that as many as 40% of undergraduates, with any given year, have felt so depressed within that year that it's difficult for them to function. And colleges in general across the country are -- lack the basic infrastructure to support students' mental health.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): The problem widespread. A "Washington Post" analysis of data from the Healthy Minds Network indicated, nationwide, student rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts more than doubled between 2013 and 2021.
And the 2021 report from Penn State Center for Collegiate Mental Health found that funding isn't keeping pace with demand for mental health services, that the yearly average caseload for a college counselor is about 90 students, with some centers reporting an average of about 300 students per counselor.
(On camera): This issue has now caught the attention of Congress as well. Senator Edward Markey has sent a letter to the Department of Education and Department of Justice, asking them to issue guidance and policy reforms to protect access to higher education for students and to strengthen nondiscrimination protections for students who may need medical leave. This was a massive issue before the COVID-19 pandemic. That only made it worse. Laura?
COATES: Miguel Marquez, thank you so much.
Now, I want to bring in Monica Porter, an attorney for the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, and Rishi Mirchandani, a Yale alumnus and a plaintiff in this lawsuit.
COATES: When we hear about what's going on, Rishi and Monica, just hearing the discussion from Miguel, how heart-wrenching it is to think about the choices that students have had to make. Rishi, you withdrew in 2018 after a mental health crisis. You did describe the trouble and being allowed to return. You eventually did graduate. But talk to me about what your personal experience was like in grappling with the policies that you say Yale had.
RISHI MIRCHANDANI, YALE ALUMNUS: Absolutely. Thank you so much for asking. It's really amazing to be able to share this experience that's been so difficult for me and so many others over decades.
When I was dealing with my mental health crisis, I felt like Yale was presenting me with a stark binary choice. I could either continue with a full-time schedule at Yale and all the challenges that would come with, or I would have to commit to an extended absence in which I would have to give up university health insurance, on-campus housing and every manner of institutional support that I had.
That choice made things so difficult. And what I didn't understand at the time is I had a federally-protected right to have more options on the table. Reasonable accommodations are critical to the way that mental health practices are properly achieved on campus.
COATES: Looking at this now, Richi, do you have any idea as to why you thought, at the time compared to now, that you believe Yale was making this challenging or having these hurdles in place?
MIRCHANDANI: There are a number of different reasons. I think that Yale tends to wash its hands off on cases of mental illness that are too severe because they don't want to be associated with that student, right? They want the student to deal with their issues anywhere except Yale's campus.
And in some instances, taking time off is a healthy decision. In other cases, it separates students from their primary support group. And so, it really has to be more case by case evaluation of what's best for the student rather than a one size fits all approach. If you're really struggling, you need to get out.
COATES: Monica, just thinking about the choices, and for a lot of people, they might not realize that there is some right to having a menu of options in terms of how to have that support system, how it's structured and what you are entitled to or not on a college campus in a private institution.
You in the lawsuit focused on Yale's -- quote -- "withdrawal policies," you say, and practices that push students with mental health disabilities out of Yale. Talk to me about what students are up against. And again, this is an issue obviously focused in this lawsuit on Yale, but we cannot think of this in a vacuum. The issues that are being presented are likely far more universal, which is very scary, at a lot of campuses.
MONICA PORTER, ATTORNEY FOR THE BAZELON CENTER FOR MENTAL HEALTH LAW: That's absolutely right. As we said earlier, this is part of a national issue. One in five American adults experience mental health disabilities and suicide is a leading cause of death among college students.
At the Bazelon Center, we receive calls from students and parents all over the country. We've been doing research and collecting data on campus mental health issues nationwide and using that to inform the policy change that we advocate for on a national level.
We have found Yale to be a particularly egregious example. There are a lot of tricky facets to this issue. But as Rishi said, it can't be a blanket policy. It needs to be addressing each student case individually and exploring all reasonable accommodations as per federal law before resulting to something like exclusion.
COATES: So, is the goal of a lawsuit -- obviously, a lot of litigation takes place behind closed doors. People are often incentivized to be a little bit quiet and hushed about things. You have nondisclosures and the like come into play. Is the goal of this litigation to be able to have and effectuate and implement more of a widespread approach that other universities could use as a blueprint?
PORTER: Certainly. This case is seeking to have status as a class action so that we can represent all Yale students with mental health disabilities who have been harmed or who do fear the potential to be harmed by these policies in the future.
And what we're seeking here and why it is so brave of Rishi and other students, current and former, to be participating in this lawsuit, is that no one is seeking any sort of monetary gain.
PORTER: Purely, this lawsuit is seeking systemic policy change to make improvements for all Yale students moving forward. Certainly, our hope is that we can engage with experts and create Yale -- help Yale to become what can be an example for schools nationwide.
COATES: Rishi, your bravery requires the last word. What is your message to students who are looking at you right now and hopeful?
MIRCHANDANI: Yeah. Well, I want students to know that we care about them and we are taking these actions in the court of law out of sincere, loyalty, and love for the young community. We want students to know that there is a possibility of light at the end of the tunnel, graduating and being able to support others.
COATES: Rishi Mirchandani and Monica, thank you so much. Monica Porter, I appreciate your time.
PORTER: Thank you.
COATES: When we come back, a new study that could change your work life. Turns out a four-day work week is not only good for workers, turns out it might be good for businesses, too. Is it in your future?
COATES: So, maybe you want to work less and get paid the same amount. Well, I do have some good news for you. A study of companies that tried out a four-day work week found that workers were more productive and even happier, and it seemed to have worked for their bosses, too. None -- and by the way, that's 0% of the employers who wanted to go back to a five-day work week, shocker, and they made more money. Back with me, Bob Cusack, Ashley Allison, and Michael Fanone. First of all, the data, I mean, I feel like captain obvious when I say this. Apparently, 97% of the 495 employees who responded said they don't want to go back to a five-day work week. First of all, who is this 3%?
COATES: I want to know who it is and get them on the table with us right now. Really? You are the people who put fish in the microwave during the day.
CUSACK: The bosses.
COATES: They're bosses. Well, you're a boss, you are the editor-in- chief of "The Hill." Is this practical, say, a news room to have a four-day work week? I'm asking for a friend.
CUSACK: You know, for news, I don't think so. But this data is kind of very interesting. I mean, study after study, this has a lot of momentum. Is it going to happen tomorrow? No. But if the employers are getting on board, that's a significant thing. I think it would vary from industry to industry. Congress works three days a week --
COATES: Do they?
CUSACK: Maybe two and a half.
COATES: Three whole days?
CUSACK: It doesn't work for Congress.
COATES: I do wonder, would this even be possible? It is a kind of a paradigm shift and maybe the pandemic and the idea of working from home and the more relaxed approach people have had, the idea of, look, people have work life balance and you're home a lot of the time. Could that have happened this survey and this result before then as acceptable to the employers?
ALLISON: You know, the federal government used to do a flex work schedule where some people would every other week get to work four days a week. I think the pandemic, though, was a wakeup call for folks to say, like, we don't have to go back to everything that was before, and we should reevaluate that.
A lot of employers did wellness Fridays to make sure people could take time, just for themselves, to feel better. It was a very stressful time. I'm fully supportive of four-day work week because the reality is, it's not that you're making more money doing less work, it's that you become actually more productive in those four days and you can still make the same amount of money.
So, as long as your work product stays the same and you are as efficient and get things done, I think it's fine. Hey, let's do three days.
COATES: I mean --
ALLISON: Let's be like Congress.
COATES: Look, why stop at three? I mean, two is fine. I'm joking, but again, I think about that. I remember when I became a mom, I had to be very honed in on the amount of fine night time I was going to have or going to allow to be taken.
You had this idea of the different balls you're juggling and you realized in your life, some are actually rubber and you can let them drop, others are glass, and if those drop, that's it.
The four-day work week might work best for that. I wasn't a law enforcement officer. I wasn't a police officer. Does this work, do you think, in that realm? I wonder, frankly, is it better to have that reprieve in the work you did?
FANONE: So, when I was a metropolitan police officer, we dabbled in the four-day work week within the patrol units. It's just not feasible in a lot of the specialized units. I work in narcotics. I mean, I was lucky to get a five-day work week if not a six or seven-day work week. When the case was hot, you work the case and your schedule was kind of dictated around what it was you were working on at that time.
That being said, for the uniform patrol officers who work some of the most stressed or in the most stressed environment within policing, it made a huge difference for them to be able to have a three-day reprieve from work.
Regardless of whether it happen to be, you know, overlap with the weekend or nontraditional middle of the week day's off, those officers, you would have to like pry them away from those days off. Unfortunately, with officer shortage and manpower issues that we've been facing, it just has not been logistically feasible to maintain that schedule.
ALLISON: One thing also is that it will probably only apply to people who do 95 jobs. Hourly wage workers won't be able to get the benefit because they are not on a salary. I think if you want to do it in a more equitable way, you would want to make sure that everybody can have the benefit of having a four-day work week and not just people who are at a certain stature in their career that have salaries and work 95 jobs.
COATES: Bob, I'll give you the last word.
CUSACK: I think this is going to be an issue for campaigns going forward. I think some politicians -- we haven't seen it yet, but I think people, based upon this data, they're going say, hey, we are more productive when we have. It's more family, family. I think this is going to be something, maybe in 2024, maybe in 2028, I think it'll be an issue.
COATES: Certainly, an issue right now in terms of the potential rail strike, the idea of days off, the idea of essential workers. It's looming in the background, everyone. A great conversation. And 100% of us said, why not? Four days, that's good, except for you watching the show also, be back.
Thanks for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.