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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  November 21, 2021 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for sunday, november 21: vaccine protests continue as covid cases and hospitalizations rise. low-wage and essential workers during the pandemic press for new protections and better pay. and a new pbs "frontline" documentary looks at police shootings in utah. next on "pbs newshour weekend." >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: sue and edgar wachenheim iii. bernard and denise schwartz. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the anderson family fund. the j.p.b. foundation. the estate of worthington mayo-smith.
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leonard and norma klorfine. the rosalind p. walter foundation. koo and patricia yuen, committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities. barbara hope zuckerberg. we try to live in the moment, to not miss what's right in front of us. at mutual of america, we believe taking care of tomorrow can help you make the most of today. mutual of america financial group, retirement services and investments. >> for 25 years, consumer cellular has been offering no contract wireless plans designed to help people do more of what they like. our u.s.-based customer service team can help find the plan that fits you. to learn more, visit additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the american people. and by contributions to your
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pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> sreenivasan: good evening and thank you for joining us. large protests over covid restrictions in europe continued again today, as several countries re-impose lockdowns and vaccine mandates due to rising infections and death rates. ( siren ) in belgium, police used water cannons and tear gas to push back protesters who were throwing projectiles after a march against covid restrictions that drew an estimated 35,000 people today. in the netherlands, protests turned violent for a second night. across the country, more than 30 people have been arrested. and in austria, where a ten-day lock down starts tomorrow, an estimated 40,000 people took to the streets. here in the u.s., daily confirmed cases of covid are also rising, up almost 30%, on average, over thpast two weeks according to the centers for disease control and prevention. that increase comes as data show the u.s. reaching a grim milestone: 2021 has now surpassed 2020 with more covid
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deaths according to johns hopkins coronavirus resource center. sudan's prime minister abdallah hamdock was released from house arrest today and reinstated as the country's leader four weeks after a military coup deposed him and other members of his government. hamdock appeared in public for the first time since his arrest and signed a deal with sudanese military leader, abdel fattah al-burhan, returning hamdock to the leadership of the government until elections are held as early as 2023. the deal also guarantees the release of all other political detainees and the return to a power-sharing agreement between civilian groups and the military. there were more protests today and pro-democracy groups and two major parties condemned the deal, saying it still leaves the country under military oversight. the agreement between hamdock and the military comes just days after 15 protesters were killed in demonstrations against the coup. international olympic committee officials said today that chinese tennis player peng shuai spoke with them in a 30 minute video call, assuring them she is safe. it was the first known contact
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with peng outside of china since she went missing earlier this month. earlier today, videos from a chinese government official's social media account allegedly showed peng signing autographs at a youth tennis match and eating at a restaurant in beijing. the tennis star had not been heard from or seen since november 2 after she accused a former top government official of sexually assaulting her. for more national and international news, visit >> sreenivasan: inflation, now running at more than 6%, is the number one concern for most americans as prices rise from the gas pumps to the grocery store shelves. it's also a looming threat to the biden presidency. a complex mix of factors-- oil production cutbacks, a choked supply chain, and strong consumer spending-- all contribute. but what can a president actually do about inflation? special correspondent jeff greenfield joined us for some historical perspective jeff, we've heard about
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inflation now in the popular press today, and then we also start to think of, well, what can a president do, what should a president do? what have presidents done to fight inflation and what kind of success if they had? >> they've tried a lot of different things. john kennedy went to war with the steel industry when they raised prices because he feared that would generate higher inflation, even though inflation wasn't that high. lyndon johnson liked to browbeat business and labor to urge them, "keep your wages and prices down." nixon, a free market conservative, imposed national wage and price controls in 1971 as inflation was raging, but it's like stopping a leak with a rag-- when you pull the rag out, the leak continues. and gerald ford in 1974 decided on a p.r. campaign to "whip inflation now," complete with win buttons. but no, the opec oil embargo kept going and inflation kept moving. so, those different tactics
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didn't really do much at all. >> sreenivasan: jeff, it wasn't a president, ultimately, that had probably the most consequential impact in regards to the response to inflation. >> absolutely. paul volcker, who jimmy carter appointed as chair of the federal reserve board, looked at the inflation rate that was out of sight, double digits, and said, "i've got to take drastic action." and he basically dried up credit, pushed interest rates up to more than 20%. that resulted in the worst recession since the great depression, four million people out of work. and it was one of the reasons jimmy carter went down to a landslide defeat in 1980. four years later, when inflation had been curbed and the economy was rebounding, president reagan was the beneficiary, winning 49 states, and we haven't seen really high inflation since then. that's 40 years. >> sreenivasan: so, if we see inflation on the trajectory that it is on right now, are there election consequences for joe
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biden? >> oh, boy. first of all, because if you're not 60 years old or older, you don't ever remember inflation as an issue. so, 6% inflation, which would have been a dream in 1980, seems very high. and when you pay that cost at the pump, at the supermarket checkout counter, it doesn't come with an explanation saying, "by the way, there are huge macroeconomic forces at stake here. there's a supply chain choke going on." the voters tend to look at washington and say, "what are you going to do about this?" and there's another political impact, which is the house on friday passed biden's "build back better" bill, but the specter of inflation is causing a democrat like joe manchin, who's critical to get this thing passed, saying, "maybe we should wait a year." so, you can see how big a political impact inflation is, because at this point, any spending proposal, even if in the long tm it's supposed to help, is going to be attacked as
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an inflation accelerator. >> sreenivasan: jeff greenfield joining us from new york. thanks so much. >> okay, thank you. >> sreenivasan: the covid pandemic revealed two distinct workforces: those who could do their jobs from home, and those who had to show up in person. a recent increase in labor strikes and protests is drawing attention to what some workers say was unequal treatment. in california, low wage, essential workers-- including many of the state's more than half a million fast food workers-- are backing a new proposed law they believe will address both covid-related and long standing issues. newshour weekend's ivette feliciano reports from northern california. this story is part of our ongoing series: "chasing the dream: poverty, opportunity and justice in america." >> reporter: on a wednesday
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afternoon in mid-september, a group of fast food workers from across the san francisco bay area brought a list of demands to the manager of this jack in the box in castro valley. workers here said they needed better covid-19 health and safety protections. >> ( translated ): whether we are full time or part time, we have a right to sick days. and they should pay us for those days. we need to be paid for having to quarantine because of covid-19. >> reporter: two days earlier, ingrid vilorio and two other employees filed a joint complaint to california's labor law enforcement agencies. >> ( translated ): they don't take our temperature. they don't give us masks. >> reporter: in the complaint, vilorio claims when she caught covid last march she was not paid for the four shifts she missed. california requires employers the size of hers to provide up to 80 hours of covid-19 related paid sick leave. >> ( translated ): it's frustrating, because you have a bad month, you're sick, and on top of that, you don't get paid. >> reporter: california employs
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more fast food workers than any other state. the majority are people of color over 23. they earn some of the lowest wages in the state, an average of $13.27 an hour. the protest was organized by the service employees international union, or s.e.i.u. its fight for 15 and a union campaign focuses on fast food employees and other low wage workers. since the start of the pandemic, it has led strikes and actions at more than 200 fast food restaurants across the state, including a 48-day strike at this mcdonald's in oakland that began in may of 2020. delia vargas works there, and participated in the strike. she says, at the start of the pandemic, her manager provided workers with masks made of dog diapers and coffee filters. >> ( translated ): she said the important thing is to protect yourself, but they never talked to us about what was happening
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at the store, that infections were spreading. never. >> reporter: vars says workers were encouraged to come into work while sick. >> ( translated ): one person who worked the night shift got really sick. and then her coworkers on the night shift got infected. that's when we realized how serious things were. >> reporter: the franchise owner told local reporters that the store was in full compliance with c.d.c. and state-level orders, and he said all claims of workers being asked to wear coffee filters and dog diapers were entirely false. yet, four workers filed a lawsuit in june of 2020, claiming the owner's" dangerous... and unjustifiable... practices" had resulted in a covid-19 outbreak among 11 employees and a worker's ten-month old baby. and a report by physicians for social responsibility found infections spread throughout their communities, including two nearby mcdonald's where vargas and other employees also work. the owner denied all accusations
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in his legal filings. in august of 2020, the workers and the franchise owner announced a settlement. the restaurant agreed to implement new safety and paid sick leave policies, and a management-worker committee to ensure compliance with the new measures. >> ( translated ): i feel proud that my coworkers and i succeeded in getting what we asked for. and they did not fire us. but i also feel sad when i think about the fact that we had to force them to react. >> reporter: as for ingrid vilorio at the jack in the box in castro valley, she says that since filing her complaint, workers have received masks and covid-19 related paid sick leave. pbs newshour weekend reached out for comment to the owner of the franchise and received no reply, but it did receive a statement from jack in the box inc., the corporate office. it said the company has complied with all federal, state, and local laws and ordinances since the beginning of the pandemic. despite the recent wins for
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workers like vargas and vilorio, the changes they fought for only apply to the stores where they work. that's because of how the franchise system works. while corporations contractually determine how their restaurants operate, the franchise, owned as a small businesses, is legally responsible for wages and working conditions. workers with the fight for 15 campaign and a union are lobbying the state's legislature to pass a law that will change that: "the fast recovery act," introduced last january. it would make california the first state in the country to create a fast food sector council. a committee of fast food workers, employers and state agencies would determine new standards for the industry. >> ( translated ): this will help us, because there will be people like us, who know what it is like, to sit and talk with the people who up until now have not taken us seriously. >> i think we're going to learn that the rules are rigged against workers. >> reporter: mary kay henry is
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the international s.e.i.u. president. the union is co-sponsoring the "fast recovery act." with just 1% of all u.s. restaurant workers being members of a union, she says collective bargaining is a challenge in the industry. >> bargaining one store at a time is not the most powerful way for those workers to have a say when the economic decisions of their store owners are made at the multinational headquarters. >> reporter: the "fast recovery act" would hold corporations liable for ensuring their franchises comply with health and safety standards. and it would give franchisees the opportunity to seek compensation if compliance with a contract contributes to breaking the law. >> that's why the "fast-recovery act" at the state level is a way to help fast food workers join together and actually have the power to bargain with the franchise owners, who could then put pressure on the multinational corporations. >> reporter: jot condie is the
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c.e.o. of the california restaurant association. >> california has some of the most protective laws for working people in the country, if not the world. >> reporter: the trade group lobbies on behalf its 22,000 members, who he says are mostly people of color and women who own franchises and independent restaurants in the state. >> we will be the first to say that if there is any business that is engaged in anything that is illegal they should be held to account, and there are a myriad of agencies, departments and commissions that are tasked with doing that. >> reporter: he contends the proposed act unfairly targets the fast-food industry, and that establishing a statewide advisory council would give an un-elected body, rather than legislators, the power to establish labor standards. >> they would have the authority to repeal or amend, without any
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check, laws that have been put in place by our legislature or by cal/osha, or by the standards board over the last 50 years. it is an extraordinarily, almost a breathtaking abdication of authority by the state legislature on fundamental policy matters of workplace safety, wages, working conditions. >> reporter: california did pass a number of worker protections during the pandemic, from additional paid sick days to emergency workplace rules. yet, many low wage workers in the state were not able to take advantage of them. that's according to the joint survey study "few options, many risks," by alejandra domenzain of the labor occupational health program at u.c. berkeley, and winifred khao of the civil rights organization asian americans advancing justice- asian law caucus. >> essential workers are the ones that are keeping our economy going. they're integral members of our society. and even in this life or death
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situation, you know, we weren't able to make it a priority to really protect them. >> reporter: they surveyed 636 mostly latino and asian workers across several industries in california in the winter of 2020, including restaurant, domestic work, janitorial and hospitality. >> based on those surveys, we found a host of challenges that low-wage asian and latinx workers were continuing to face during the pandemic, including the lack of information about their legal rights and health and safety protections and requirements. >> reporter: a third of respondents- and 59% of restaurant workersurveyed- were unable to physically distance most of the time at work. >> about a fifth of those workers working under the minimum wage were not given basic protections like masks or personal protective equipment. >> reporter: then there was the matter of their pay. >> one in five workers who were surveyed weren't even being paid the minimum wage, even as they were performing essential work
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during the pandemic. >> reporter: and almost half of workers who expressed their covid concerns to their employer claimed they were either ignored or didn't have their concerns adequately addressed. many said they experienced retaliation. this has led to criticism of those charged with keeping workers safe. >> under administrations of both parties our labor law enforcement agencies have been chronically underfunded, understaffed to the point where they're really not effective. it is not a credible threat to employers that someone will come and inspect them and cite them for their violation. >> reporter: california's division of occupational health and safety, or cal/osha, told us in an email that it currently has a 17% vacancy rate for inspectors it is working to fill. and it said, "cal/osha fulfills its enforcement mission by conducting targeted inspections. when safety violations are found, cal/osha issues citations with a monetary penalty that
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requires hazards be abated." mary kay henry of the s.e.i.u. says the "fast recovery act" would ensure cal/osha works together with employers and workers to make long-needed changes in the fast food instry. >> i think we are going to see other legislative efforts like this fast food bill in california spread to other states. workers have had it. they're joining together in record numbers and are going to create the pressure that forces a national solution for fast workers. >> reporter: the bill, which failed to pass the assembly by three votes in june, will be up for reconsideration in january. >> sreenivasan: a new pbs "frontline" documentary that examines police shootings in utah will air on tuesday." shots fired" is a collaboration between "frontline" and the "salt lake tribune." here's a preview:
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>> drop the gun! >> in utah, a record number of police shootings. >> when you start gathering data, the patterns start to become clear. it's a problem throughout our whole state. >> "frontline" and the "salt lake tribune" investigate training... >> do not hesitate. >> ...accountability... >> sometimes police are required to use force to protect the public. >> ...and racial disparities. >> we want to know why police officers are using this power. >> premieres tuesday, november 23, 10:00, 9:00 central, only on pbs. >> sreenivasan: i spoke with the program's director and producer abby ellis about the investigation and how the team was able to piece together data and videos from police use of force cases. so, abby, what sparked this film in the first place? >> two days before george floyd was killed in minneapolis, there was a shooting of a 22-year-old man, fernando palacios carbajal, in salt lake city. he was a suspect in an armed robbery case, and he was running away from police when they shot at him 34 times. it created unprecedented, you
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know, protests in it. it happened in the same timeframe as george floyd. and so, it just sort of catapulted. the community was in uproar and they were demanding answers. and the reporters at the "salt lake tribune" had been, you know, trying to get to the bottom of it as well. and so, i met the "tribune" reporters at some of these events around the shooting of fernando palacios carbajal and we decided to team up to better understand, you know, the issue of police shootings in utah specifically. >> sreenivasan: so, were there patterns that the reporters and yourself were able to see? >> yes. we looked at 226 shootings over a ten year period, and in that time, 94 of those, of people who were shot at, were experiencing a mental health event in some capacity, either they were suicidal or they had a mental disability. we found that a third of the people shot were racial and
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ethnic minorities, even though they only make up a quarter of the population. and we found 107 of the shootings, out of the 226, the officers involved had graduated from training five years or less. >> sreenivasan: one of the scenes that's really difficult to watch in the film is someone who, his relatives and friends wanted him to get help. they sent the police because they thought that he might do harm to himself. and it just goes completely sideways and-- the guy is literally sitting in the police station begging to be sent to basically the psych ward. and that's not what happens. >> yeah, that's the story of michael chad breinholt, and that's actually a call that was a mental health call. it was a welfare check. it should have been a welfare check, that turned fatal and
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that police officer was ruled justified in his use of lethal force. and we also found that he had shot two other people over the course of his career. both of those shootings were ruled justified as well. >> sreenivasan: what has utah done, either the city police or the state, considering the amount of attention that's been paid now to the patterns of behavior? >> you know, the one thing that i can say stands out from this last legislative session is if you get a call that a suspect or a person is suicidal, it's-- the officers not allowed to respond with lethal force. so, that was a big thing that happened, that, you know, some of the people in our film, you could argue if that happens now, the legal ruling might have been much different. what's really important for people to understand is that while it feels like police use
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of lethal force is getting wall- to-wall coverage in this country, there's actually a data desert when it comes to the hard numbers and facts and figures around who is being shot, who is doing the shooting, under what circumstances, and until we have better data collection, until the department starts collecting more data and it's mandated at a state level, at a federal level, we're going to continue to, kind of, try to come up with these solutions in the dark without having a full picture of what's actually happening. and that's something that came into sharp focus when we were trying to collect the data that we were collecting in utah. >> sreenivasan: abby ellis of "frontline," thanks so much. >> thank you. >> sreenivasan: finally tonight, late word today that two missionaries who were kidnapped more than a month ago by a haitian crime gang have been released.
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15 others are still being held. the ohio-based missionary group reported those released are safe and in good spirits, but provided no other information. that's all for this edition of "pbs newshour weekend." for the latest news updates visit i'm hari sreenivasan. thanks for watching. stay healthy and have a good night. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: sue and edgar wachenheim iii. bernard and denise schwartz. the cheryl andhilip milstein family. the anderson family fund. the j.p.b. foundation. the estate of worthington mayo-smith. leonard and norma klorfine. the rosalind p. walter foundation. koo and patricia yuen, committed to bridging cultural
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differences in our communities. barbara hope zuckerberg. we try to live in the moment, to not miss what's right in front of us. at mutual of america, we believe taking care of tomorrow can help you make the most of today. mutual of america financial group, retirement services and investments. additional support has been provided by: consumer cellular. and by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the american people. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. you're watching pbs.
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- [host] these types of shots i feel like they always look really good through the viewfinder but then when you get home, sometimes i just can't make it look good. - sometimes for landscape photographers the search for perfection can be exhausting. - [daniel] took a little bit of scrambling to get up these rocks and not something i do every day, but hopefully i can get a good shot out of it. - [host] for daniel chui, getting a good shot is a gift that comes naturally. like the millions that come to yosemite national park every year, daniel was drawn to this part of california to capture images of yosemite. valley's iconic beauty. - what we do have is a beautiful amount of water coming down today. - [host] but the bay area native fell in love with everything that surrounds yosemite too. what speaks to y about this place? - [daniel] well, that's what's interesting. when you're coming here as an outsider, right?