tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS August 19, 2018 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for sunday, august 19: unselhite house cooperates with the russia investigation. will a crackdown on uber and lyft drivers lea riders straded? and the uncertain future for gig economy workers. next on pbs newshour weekend. >>s newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. hsue and edgar wach iii. the cheryl and philip milsteiny fa dr. p. roy vagelos and diana t. vagelos. the j.p.b. foundation.. rosalindlter. barbara hope zuckerberg. ro corporate funding isided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support has been provided by:
and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station fr viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios at lincoln center in new york, hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: good evening and thank you r joining us. president donald trump today attacked the "new york times" afatr it reported yesterday white house counsel donald mcgahn has cooperatedte ively in the investigation of russian interference in the 2016 election. in a series of tweets the president said, "the failing new york times wrote a stot made it seem like the white house counsel had turned on the president, when in fact it is just the opposite" and, " i have nothing to hide." this follows a saturday tweet in which the president wrote, "i alnwed white house counsel mcgahn, and all other requested members of the wte house staff, to fully cooperate with
the special counsel." citing a dozen current and former white house officials and others familiar with this case, the times reported that mcgahn shared detailed accounts of pevents and conversations in ath lease voluntary interviews per the past nine months. on nbc's "meet tss" today the president's lawyer, rudy giuliani, said he has a "good sense" of what mcgahn told mueller's team, and argued that mcgahn's cooperation with the russia investigation helps the president who is still negotiating a possible interview. >> i am not going to be rushed into having him testify so that he gets trapped into perjury. ifd when you tell me that, you know, he should tebecause he's going to tell the truth and he shouldn't worry, well that's so silly because it's dy's version of the truth. not the truth. he didn't have a, anv sation. >> truth is truth. i don't mean to go like -- >> no, it isn't truth. truth isn't truth. the president of the united states says, "i didn't -- " >> truth isn't truth? mr. mayor, do yorealize, what, i, i--
>> no, no, no-- >> this is going to become a bad >> don't do, don't do this to me. >> sreenivasan: this is not the first time giuliani has disputed the objectivity of the special counsel's investigators. heold the "washington post last may that "truth is nd thate," investigators "may have a different version of the truth than we do." relentless rainfall has nowmo displace than 800,000 people in the south indian state of kerala and at least 250 have died there in just the past week. monsoon rains are flooding the region at a much higher than normal rate, and rescue workers are asking for international help.ne ch4 reporter symeon brown has more on the catastrophic rains. >> reporter: many of the roads in kerala are still submerged, sthe ground rescue requires boats. here, the rush to provide assistance is a community effort. so far authorities say over 80,000 rescues have taken place. evacuees have been taken to
makeshift camps where resourc are being stretched by the size of the displacement. glt we. >e were physically exhaust i when we got here. >> there are still families apped, some aretranded on rooftops. these evacuees managed to be air lifted. the airports have had to be deployed and they are using the esind the prime minister of.india, narindrmoa di. t events likehr related to climate change. this region is familiar with b monsoon rains this year's rainfall was significantly higheand prior research have
found that temperatures arine easing. very heavy rain, those ton ground are praising themselves for worsening catastrophes. >> this is the wowr worse, right action has been back but it is just not enough. the govement and people of kerala need help from various source he. but the state needs much more help from people than it is involved. >> reporter: many homes havd collapsed an this part of kerala there have been landslides. the recovery effort here is even momore challenging and wite rain on the way, kerala remains on red alert. >> sreenivasan: more s earthquakes shook the indonesian island of lombok today. a 6.9 quake hit in the evening, caing blackouts and damagi buildings. this morning, two quakes caused
landslides but no serious injuries have been reported. tremors and smaller quakes have rocked lombok island, a popular tourist destination, for weeks. the island is still recovering from a major earthquake earlier this month tt killed hundreds, destroyed homes and roads and left hundreds of thousands in temporary shelters. more than two million muslims have gathered in the saudi arabian city of mecca to begin the annual hajj pilgrimage. starting at first light today, pilgrims began circling the kaaba, a cube-shaped structure within mecca's grand mosque that muslims consider to be the house of god. observant muslims around the world face toward thkaaba during their daily prayers. the five-day hajj pilgrimage ie ired by all able-bodied muslims once in their lifetime. why are insurance copays sometimes higher than the price of a prescription drug? read more on our website, pbs.org/newshour. >> sreenivasan: it wasn't that long ago that hailing a cab in new york city meant taking one of the thousands of yellow taxis that have long been part of the city's fabric. and there were only so many of them: in fact, you couldn't drive one unless the vehicle had
a "medallion," th number of whs always strictly limited. now, of course, the cabs compete with ride-hailing apps such as uber and lyft, and t result is a lot more cars on the road. the increased supply of cars has also meant less money going to all drivers. it's situation the city has even begun to regulate and it might not be the last one to do it. with the touch of a button, ridesharing apps like uber and lyft connect drivers with those looking for a ride. >> i've arrived. >> sreenivasan: andy gonzalez, to drives for both, began with uber shortly aft company first came to new york seven years ago. he drove me and my procer laura filming in the back seat. in the beginning, they aid substantially much better. wat only that but the technology that they offered groundbreaking. >> sreenivasan: but, gonzalez said, uber has changed how it pays drivers over the years. >> they slashed the rates not only one time but two times. so just to give you a comparison, the rates that we
have now are less than half wof used to have; actually less than a third. sreenivasan: despite th amount of money drivers make going down, the number ofes drivers themseas gone up. since 2011, the number of for- hi vehicles licensed in ne york city has more than doubled from 50,000 to about 130,000 cars. all required to be licensed by the ci commission. limousine the majority of the new cars are used for app servis like uber and lyft. with that surge has come more congestion, making it harder t move through the city. but are there enough ridersad fr all thostional cars? an independent transportation study in 2017 found that more than a third of taxi and app vehicles in manhattan's centrald businetrict were unoccupied during daytime hours. when you were working er or lyft, do you find that you're busy all the time or-- >> not anymore. in the beginning, yes, it was busy because there was less o rs.
but now, if i were solely let's say uber or lyft i can go 30 minutes, 40 minutes without a passenger. and when you do get somebody you're driving you say seven minutes to get them, and the ride will only be like six dollart s. so you jend like an houru' and d make six dollars minus your gas money and so you rely like operating at a loss. >> whenever you feel like driving with uber. >> sreenivasan: one of uber's recruitment taglines is "get your side hustle on." it targets potential drivers looking for a part-time gig. >> sure, you might already have a great job. but this is a new way to earn. because your car isnt a car, it's a four-wheel money- making machine. so get your side hustle on. >> sreenivasan: but most app drivers in new york city don't fit that pt-time profile. about 60% of new york city app drivers work full-time and 80% acquired car in order to do the job, according to a recent study prepared for the taxi and limousine commission. >> it was never meant to be my" side hustle," as uber likes to call it. it was never meant to be like thatn new york city.
>> sreenivasan: before the apps, 13,000 yellow taxi cabs were the primary for-hire vehicles in the city. in 2012, they had on average 487,000 per day.r but theidership has declined reeadily since the apps we introduced, so taxi drivers, too, began to make less money. >> we are making less and less and less. we have to drive sometime 12 hours. >> sreenivasan: richard chow immigrated to the u.s. from myanmar, formerly known as burma. he owns one of the 13,000 taxi medallions that allows the legal operion of a yellow cab in new york city. because their number was strictly controlled, taxi medallions were long an expensive item for anyone wanting to enter the business. but the assumption was that you make your money back an more. and the price of medallions kept rising. >> 13 years ago i id $400,000 three years earlier than my brother and i s very lucky. >> sreenivasan: chow's brother
kenny, also a yellow taxi driver, took out a loan to buy his own medallion in 2010. >> $700,000 he paid for the medallion from new york city. in the beginning, he thought it was a good investment. medalln prices are climbing up. >> sreenivasan: your brother thought the value would keep going up? >> the value of medallions keep going up, so... >> sreenivasan: but when uber and lyft and their 75,000 more cars entered the market, the taxi medlions plunged in value to less than $200,000 this year. >> this is my investment, also. my retirement, also. we don't retirement, no health insurance, life insurance. so we got noing left. >> sreenivasan: after years making less income with so many more drivers to compete with, chow's brother kenny began t miss loan payments on his medallion and took out a lien on his home. he also had a daughter in college and a wife with stage 4 colon cancer. in may, kenny's family report
him missing. >> and that's why he took his own life, so he committed suicide. >> sreenivasan: since november , kenny chow and five other divers have died by suicie. most of them had docented significant financial problems.k the new axi workers alliance, a group of 21,000 drivs, attribute the drivers' suicides to "financial despair"" >> we are standing here together today, united. >> sreenivasan: bhairavi desai is the executive director. >> we saw bankruptc foreclosures, evictions. drivers talking about hungr after 12 hour shifts. there's been a serious crisis of poverty for this workforce in this city. te drivers paid a heavy c for it. >> sreenivasan: the new york taxi workers alliance, andther driver advocacy groups, held public protests and lobbied the city council for months tond tae actionut a cap on the number of licensed app vehicles. >> cap now! cap now!
>> millions of new yorkers rely on apps like uber to get a ridei 24/7 in al boros. >> sreenivasan: in july, uber released a tv spot opposing the >> but if the new york city council gets its way, this could all disappear. >> i think uber and lyft really exaggerated in their narrative that there's going to be a lack uber and lyft have not had a supply problem. it's been an efficiency problems >> sreen: last week, the city council passed a temporar"" cap" for one year while the taxi and limousine commission studies thcars on the road. that means new york will not issue any new licenses for app vehicles, with the exception of those for wheelchair accessible vehicln . corey john the city council speaker. >> we are trying to come up with a data driven sound public policy package that still allows consumers and customers to get what they need while at the same time bancing the other issues
that are being affected because of the explosive growthe vernment deserves some blame on this because we created the medallion syst which had its own problems with not meeting the needs of manycu omers around the city where you had this disruptive technology, which met that need, devalued the government set up system. and over the last mars we didn't create a regulatory framework to figure out parity or fairness in the industry which has caused this dramatic upheaval. >> senivasan: driver advocate desai says the other big lesson heca for cities is keeping l control. >> what's been happening is that in 40 states around the country uber and lyft have you kno lobbied heavily to explicitly exempt themselves from those existing taxi laws and regulations and that's why at the local level, the citlay rers were not allowed to step in. that's got to be overturned. that has to be changed. there needs to be local
regulation of what has been a local industry. >> sreenivasan: uber and lyft argue that the temporary cap wihe ultimately hurt tew yorkers who rely upon their services. joseph okpaku is vp of public policy for lyft. he said the city counci will disproportionately affect people living in traditionally underserved areas of n york, in particular, people of color. >> we are really concerned it will have a detrimental impacr not only on iver community but also on our passenger community. especially in the outer borough areas and in communities of color. >> sreenivasan: is there a way moving forward over these next 12 months to figure out how to increase the efficiency of theke services to ure that drivers are picking up more passengers? >> well, as a starting point, we disagree a little bit th the numbers that the city was relying on for that part of the study, but we're always trying to make sure that our driver base is being utilized as efficiently as possible. and our shared option, which, in thcities where it operates we
have around one-third of our rides being shar rides where two strangers or more are actually carrying one car to a similar destination. so issues like that we think weren't taken fully into account. >> sreenasan: okpaku worries that the "cap"-- even if temporary-- could be creatiednga controystem similar to that of the taxi medallions.nt >> no one another medallion-type system and hathvg caps o nature are only going to result in that type of result. >> sreenivasan: uber did not respond to oat repe interview requests, but the company issued a statement to the "new york times," which said month pause on- w for-hire vehicle licenses will leave new yorkers stranded while doing nothing to prevent congestion, fix the subways and help struggling taxi mion owners." new york's been through this road, now you've come to tse conclusions. if i'm las vegas if i'm cleveland if i have ubers anftd what should i do? >> good luck. it's complicated, i.t's difficul we hope that the data that we're
going to be able to glean and gain over the next 12 months we'll be able to inform other municipalities in the united states and around the world of what to look at for public policy solutions. >> sreenivasan: as for andy gonzalez, he doesn't see himself leaving professional driving anytime soon. >> i love this at the beginning i tried it. it's a lifestyle. it's very hard to explain --the places youo, the people you meet, the vital part you are of the city you know. so i honestly want to keep m fy tlc plat the rest of my life. >> sreenivasan: really? >> maybe i will not drive myself for the rest of my life. but i want to keep them. >> sreenivasan: so what does that mean you'd lease them out? >> well just-- it'll be my side hustle. >> reenivasan: ride sharing jobs aren't the only temporary opportunities that companies are wooing employees into. the "gig" economy is becoming al
ntial sector of the american workforce i spoke recently with sarah kessler, author of the bggook" : the end of the job and the future of work." so sarah the ride sharing companies seem to make their money mostly on the fact that these are not their full timeem oyees, that they're independent contractors and that extends to lots of other companies in this gig economy as well. is there a level of responsibility that tese companies have, are they ders facto emplo >> that of course is really debatable and there'fa lot o court cases around this topic that have gone in different ways. what i will say is that technology has made it possible to manage independent contraors in a way you couldn't manage without crossing certain boundariesefore. what is these cell phones you can say to a driver, you can drive whenever you want really it's up o you but jusso you know you're going to make three times as much on friday between
7 and 10. they can do things like have passengers rate them and use that to understand like oh this driver i not meeting expectations, we're going to kick them off t ptform. so instead of having that be a decision that a manager mes which likely suggests that these are your employees and you are misclassifying them, it is a decision that the phone makes and the algorithms make. i think dpreans like uberey demonstrate people using new employees in ways they may not be able to get away with before. >> sreenivasan: what you're demonstrating or lking about, a system of incentives and disincentives, that seems like a tay for a company to exer contro i don't know if that's a way the department of labor creates an employee but creating these types of structures seems to incentivize the people to do
exactly what the cpany wants. >> like three are really employees. part of the problem is there's no clear definition of what makes an employee or independent contractor. the lawsefe those differently so might be different when you are thinking about unemployment insurance when you're thinking about health nsurance. it opens things up for a lot of people to find loopholes. >> sreenivasan: you've talked to a lot of people working in the economy for your book. several people are lured by the idea that they cane st their own schedule, passions and interests it works with their life. and then you havoa discovered that there are shortcomings heree that thy can't make ends meet, they have to do multiple types of tasks or driving are apps as well to ge something together that a 20 hour a week job or 40 hour a week job used to be able to deliver them. >> yes, definitely. the way i kind of got into the
gig economy, i signed up for 30 of these and tried to make the minimum wage nd what i found was that even with a college degree, i still really couldn't make minimum wage. so i thought about how this must be like really more complicated than the story, that these startups were telling. so for the book i followed feoe differente who were working in this way in one way or another. what i found was there was a woirld of this being wonderful and independent and when you need. it really exists but it exists for people that haves like programming computers versus some of the people i followed e man who i followed in likemeet joarkansas. hiwas to answer customer service phone calls for sears. the way he got work is that they, every week, would let kind of these shifts go onto a platform and he would go onto the platform and try to grab as many shifts as he exop b in
some -- as he could. but ines certain tf the year there are plenty of shifts to go around. but when theresn that kind of problem he had trouble piecing together enough which is a huge problem living from paycheck to paki paycheck. people who are wealthy and work in the gig economy don't. >> sreenivasansarah kessler, the book ask called the end of work and the future, thanks. >> thanks for having me. >> sreenivasan: tomorrow on the pbs newshour, we travel to nevada wher senator is in the fight of his career, and immigration is on many voters' minds. that's all for this edition of pbs newshour weekend. i'm hari sreenivasan. thanks for watching. have a good night. po
captioningored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by:rn d and irene schwartz. sue and edgar wachenheim iii. the cheryl and philip milstein family. nadr. p. roy vagelos and d. vagelos. the j.p.b. foundation. rosalind p. walter. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate fu nby mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's wy we're yo retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcaing, and by ntributions to your pbs
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