Axios (2018) s04e02 Episode Script

Season 4, Episode 2

Washington, D.
A more perfect union? / the president of the AFL- CIO President Joe Biden began his campaign at a union hall in Pittsburgh and has pledged to be the most pro-union president.
Organized labor plans to push President Biden to pass the 2021 PRO Act, which would increase worker protections and punish employers who break the law.
Richard Trumka PRESIDENT, AFL-CIO President Trumka, you've had an incredible career.
You started out as a coal miner, and you've risen up the ranks to become the most powerful union leader in the United States.
And over the past nearly 40 years, you've held leadership positions in the labor movement.
If you decide to retire this year, in what state of health will you be leaving the labor movement? First of all, I really haven't thought that far ahead.
We're so busy doin' what we're doin'.
We're in an improving state right now.
We now have a president who I would say shares our dreams, fights for our issues and will never leave us behind.
But there's also just the numbers, right, which don't lie.
Over the past four decades there has been a decline in union membership.
And there hasn't really been an uptick at all.
It's just Well, there has this year.
Union density increased this year actually.
That's because people who were not union members lost their jobs at a higher rate.
That's because union members have more job security than anyone else.
I agree with you.
It's a good advertisement for the power of unions.
I'm just saying it wasn't because more people joined unions.
The numbers didn't go up.
How do you square that? There's been a constant attack on unions for the past four decades by employers, by presidents of the United States, by corporations all over the world.
We have antiquated labor laws.
So one of the things that we're lookin' at now is to change those laws.
The PRO Act is not just labor reform.
The PRO Act is also a civil rights act.
It protects people from discrimination.
It makes sure that women don't get paid 78 cents on the dollar.
It's also a stimulus bill because it'll increase wages.
When you do that, it's like putting a $1,400 check in someone's hand.
I talked to a range of people who are affiliated with the AFL-CIO, and one thing I heard again and again was, Democratic presidents have let us down before.
There's a lot of disappointment with Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
Clinton passed NAFTA.
Obama had 60 seats in the Senate, and he didn't do card check.
Why should it be different this time? There's 50 seats in the Senate.
It's gonna be harder to get something done.
It could be harder.
But I'll tell you the difference.
Joe Biden really does believe in the power and the necessity of unions.
We're not something to be tolerated or placated.
Joe Biden actually believes that strong unions are good for the economy.
Are you saying that the reason it didn't happen before was because the previous Democratic presidents, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, didn't actually believe in the cause of organized labor? Is that why we didn't see these reforms? I think they didn't understand the importance of labor and the importance of collective bargaining.
And both of them surrounded themselves with Wall Street people.
And so all of their advice was coming from a Wall Street lens.
Joe Biden has surrounded himself with people that are worker friendly so that in the multitude of decisions that are made every day without the president being involved, they're gonna think about the impact it has on workers.
He doesn't aspire to be accepted by Wall Street.
As you know, there are leaders in the racial justice movement, including some affiliates of AFL- CIO, who believe that police unions don't belong inside the AFL-CIO because they block reform efforts and they shield some police officers from accountability.
What do you say to those criticisms of police unions and the idea of it was the Writer's Guild of America East that said you push them out? The easiest thing for me to have done after the Black Lives Matter started would be to say, We're doin' away with police unions.
I did my job.
And then what? No change would happen.
It would instill them.
It would isolate them and make them more determined.
What we've done instead of that is we're bringin' groups of officers together with our members, and community groups to come up with real reforms that work.
Isn't the issue about the fact they can negotiate disciplinary procedures - And whether they - So? They should be able to Stop.
Let me answer.
They should be able to negotiate disciplinary stuff.
Because without that, they could be capricious the other way.
I came from a coal mine.
My grandfather helped organize that coal mine.
And we didn't have any protection.
The employer did all the disciplinary stuff.
And I can tell you, it was never fair.
And it didn't help in policing.
Now, when you interject a community and you bring the community we say, What are your needs? We want to satisfy your needs as well.
Then you have the recipe for real success.
Because you can protect officers and protect the community without having either polarized or either becomin' the enemy.
The AFL-CIO includes the second largest teachers union in the country.
They represent about 1.
7 million educators.
Why do you think we're having so much trouble right now reopening the schools, getting kids back in the classrooms? Lack of resources, lack of a plan.
And then you have all the teachers that haven't been vaccinated.
They've been asked to risk their lives for the rest of us to keep the economy going as best as we can, and they have.
Chicago's an interesting situation because the teachers union want their teachers to be able to be vaccinated before they go back into the classrooms.
But the CDC director says that's not necessary as a necessary prerequisite for opening back schools.
Well, the CDC director said before that masks weren't necessary as well.
I think we all agree that that was foolish.
In his first hours as president, Joe Biden announced that he was going to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline.
And the Laborers' International Union of North America put out a statement saying that it's gonna cost a thousand union jobs.
Can you explain why the president was right? I wish he hadn't done that on the first day because the Laborers' International was right.
It did and will cost us jobs in the process.
I wish he had paired that more carefully with what he did second, by sayin', Here's where we're creatin' jobs.
We can do mine reclamation.
We can fix leaks, and we can fix seeps and create hundreds of thousands of jobs in doin' all of that stuff.
You think Biden realizes that that was a mistake, that announcement? I think so, yes.
- Did you talk to him about it? - I have not.
- Why do you think he's - And if I had, I wouldn't tell you.
So why do you think he has come to that realization? Because the next time the subject came up, it was done the right way.
When you said that the Laborers' International Union was correct, I want to read you part of their statement.
They said, We support the president's campaign to build back better.
Killing good union jobs on day one with nothing to replace them is not building back better.
Do you agree with that statement from Terry O'Sullivan? Yes.
I appreciate your straightforwardness.
Do you think Biden will shut down or cancel additional pipelines? I don't know.
I know this: If he does, he'll pair it with job creation that will be greater than the number of jobs lost.
How comfortable are you with Biden's plan to ban fracking on federal lands? I think it needs to be looked at, and studied, and carefully thought through.
I think the future of the country should be considered in that process.
But he says he's gonna do it.
So? - No, he didn't - He's promised to do it.
I'm sure if he promised to do it he probably will.
He promised to shut down XL, and he did XL.
- I guess what I'm asking - He's a man of his word.
But he's also promised to create jobs, good union jobs, and be the best union president we ever had.
I believe he'll do that as well.
And not just say, we'll retrain you, you know? Exactly.
When they laid off at the mines back in Pennsylvania, they told us they were gonna train us to be computer programmers.
They actually said that? Yeah, that's what one of the things they want to train us for.
And I said, Where are the computer programmer jobs at? They're in Oklahoma, and they're in Vegas, and they're here.
I said, So, in other words, we're gonna be unemployed miners and unemployed computer programmers as well.
People aren't gonna pick up roots and leave their families and go to another part of the country very easily.
That's home and that's their culture.
And I think what doesn't get understood quite enough in the country, particularly in D.
politics, is that that culture is very, very important to the people who live there.
And we want to make sure that that part of their life doesn't get ripped out of them as well.
- Thank you so much.
- Thank you.
On the road again / Sec.
of Transportation Pete Buttigieg Axios headquarters ARLINGTON, VA - So, Mayor Pete, he's the now - Secretary Pete.
Now, the highest-ranking openly gay Cabinet member.
Now, he's head of Transportation, which is not the most glamorous springboard.
The agency that he runs is sitting there, right in the middle of climate change, autonomous vehicles, flying taxis, equity, what I would say are three of the four biggest topics of the Biden presidency.
This turns out to be a place that you can be at the center of all the Biden issues and you get to do favors for people around the country.
If you have political ambitions, that's a pretty good place to be.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION - Are we a good distance, or? - Take off.
Secretary, welcome back to Axios on HBO.
Sure thing.
So when you were sworn in, you were the first male Cabinet secretary in American history whose husband held the Bible.
You were sworn in by Vice President Harris, who of course is a pioneer on multiple fronts.
Well, it was a really historic moment.
Just before we walked out for the ceremony, the vice president turned to me and said, Make sure to be present because it'll go by quickly.
I'm glad she said that.
You can forget as you're racing through these motions.
But as I stood there with Chasten at my side, the vice president, her husband, that's not a sentence you could have said very long ago.
And it's a reminder of the changes that are underway and a reminder that we've got some work to do as a country, too, so one day that's unremarkable.
Along with that history, what responsibilities do you feel? You're gonna have an outsized role because of your story and background.
I know that I've got a responsibility to do a good job for lots of reasons partly because of the eyes of history.
And the president has challenged all of us who are serving on this team to deliver at a moment of unprecedented challenge.
So much is on the plate of this administration.
I'm convinced that the best way through all of those is results.
You've talked about a generational opportunity on infrastructure, climate, equity.
Those are the Biden touchstones.
Which of those do you think will be the hardest to show demonstrable, clear, provable progress? The challenge is that they are decades or centuries in the making.
We don't have decades or centuries to deal with them.
Scientifically, we don't have decades to resolve the climate challenge.
Morally we must not take decades to deliver racial justice in this country.
And so to me, all of these are of a piece.
All of these go together.
You've spent a lot of time thinking about transportation equity.
You've said you want to make a real difference.
What does that look like? Some of the signal moments of the Civil Rights Movement revolved around transit and transportation.
Rosa Parks taking a seat on that bus, the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the phase of the Civil Rights Movement that that led to are reminders that the history has always been intertwined between racial justice and transportation.
What we can do is make sure we're investing in areas that were neglected.
A lot of people know about the idea of food deserts, where you can't get access to fresh food.
There are transit deserts, disproportionately in Black and brown neighborhoods, where people can't get access to economic opportunity.
So what's something we can look at in four years and say, On equity in transportation, Secretary Buttigieg was successful? Look at the neighborhoods that have been excluded in the past.
We've got a lot of work to do to better support small- and medium- size businesses owned by people who have been disadvantaged or underestimated.
Look at the makeup of those who actually work in the sector, people from engineering, to airline pilots, to people in this building.
You want to change We want to make sure it reflects America.
What's the biggest way transportation was changed by the pandemic? It's too soon to know for sure, but I think it's safe to say that our old patterns of life, the 9:00 to 5:00, Monday through Friday commuting patterns are not gonna be exactly the same.
And so how that might change what your staff does? We think trains, planes, and automobiles, but what about bikes, scooters, wheelchairs for that matter? Those are things you plan to pay more attention to? Absolutely.
Look, roads aren't only for vehicles.
We gotta make sure that pedestrians, and individuals, and bicyclists, and businesses can all coexist on the same roadway.
What do you think of requiring a COVID test before someone flies even domestically? Well, there's an active conversation with the CDC right now.
It's gonna be guided by data, by science, by medicine, and by the input of the people who are actually gonna have to carry this out.
But here's the thing.
The safer we can make air travel in terms of perception as well as reality the more people are gonna be ready to get back in the air.
You have an outsized following online.
What's the secret for other leaders to communicate with millennials in the way that you clearly have? What I can tell you is there are a lot of folks out there who want to hear directly from their leaders on matters official and unofficial.
Think about how we build trust in ordinary face-to-face life.
It's gettin' to know somebody and being around them.
When you're leading a Cabinet agency, maybe you can't be around 300 million Americans personally, but you can open that door a little bit.
And that's another important way, I think, of breaking down mistrust.
And how do you plan to continue that direct communication in your new job? Well it's getting out there.
And if it's not safe physically to get out there, it's doing it virtually.
And you're gonna see me very much approach this job as something you can't do just sitting behind a desk.
After all, it's the Department of Transportation.
It's all about movement.
The last time you were in this building you were Mayor Pete.
- That's right.
- Does anybody still slip, by the way? All the time, starting with my own staff.
And I'll always answer to Mayor.
- Thank you for doin' this.
- Glad it worked out.
Parler games / former CEO of Parler John Matze Founded in 2018, social media app Parler marketed itself as a platform for free speech.
In January 2021, Amazon removed Parler from its cloud services for hosting posts that clearly encourage and incite violence.
Parler was also banned from Apple's App Store and Google Play Store.
John Matze says he was fired as Parler's CEO on Friday, January 29th.
John, on January 6th, you I believe were actually taping a podcast in part during the insurrection at the Capitol.
On the 6th, did you think to yourself at some point, Parler has a problem? On the 6th, it didn't appear as bad until afterwards, when all the footage started coming out.
And then we people really realized the extent.
When I was doing the podcast, I didn't have all the information.
And so I could only see some videos, some clips here and there.
I don't watch television.
I only have Parler as my news source.
So at first glance, it didn't seem that bad.
When you say you only have Parler as your news source, are you saying that's 'cause at the time, or in general, is Parler the only thing you use for news consumption? That is literally the only thing.
I'm sure that occasionally I'll see a TV in the background or someone'll text me something.
But Parler is my primary news source.
That's where I got my information.
In retrospect now, with everything you do know and things that were on Parler, do you believe Parler had any responsibility for what happened that day? I certainly think that it would be possible for us to have done more or for me to have exerted myself to do more.
And so I do feel responsible in that sense, is that I didn't know the extent of what was occurring.
But I also feel that Parler was not the main place where people organized this.
But I do think that going forward I would want to implement more procedures and more things to stop this from happening again.
The way Parler defined violence really seemed to be maybe the legal definition police would use, which is really imminen threat.
How did you get to that, as opposed to something a little bit more broader, which some other social media platforms have adopted? Parler had adopted the legal definition.
That was back in June.
And I remember having that debate with a few people within the company.
What did you think it should be, if not the strict legal definition? Anything that's violent in nature, so threatening to hang people, and even if it's not serious, intimidation or bullying but it's violent in nature, I think that should be taken off.
When I would hear you do interviews, you would defend the strict legal definition when it comes to violent content.
But is there some point as CEO where you say you either have to get it changed or walk away? I'd brought it up a few times, but I don't think it was bad enough that it ever became a major issue.
Not until the events of the 6th that it kind of came out as saying, Hey, this is this is a real problem.
One post was referring to a prominent female Democratic politician.
Quote, The bitch will be good target practice for our beginners.
Somebody else wrote, quote, We're gonna fight a civil war on January 20th.
Form militias now and acquire targets.
If not those parleys specifically, parleys like those, in the conversations you had internally, did those get raised? And were there folks saying, That's okay? Those would definitely not be okay according to what I would want to do.
There must have been specific examples that got discussed.
Is there truly a push inside of Parler while you were there from others to be an anything goes platform? I think there was a lot of people who were on board with my opinion, who said, Hey, this is not acceptable.
There's also others who weren't.
When it comes to this content, it really doesn't belong on the internet.
And so it needs to be taken seriously.
You got fired in the last several days.
What happened? Things were getting heated.
Our app was recently taken off the app stores and it was taken off Amazon Web Services, rendering us offline.
We had a lot of disagreements.
But it's normal, right? If it's my opinion that we might want to do moderation one way or treat privacy issues another, that's my opinion and I should share them.
And if you don't like them, then we disagree and figure out a way to move forward.
But apparently, I was fired.
And I don't understand why still today, why I was fired.
Did you get a notice I guess from both Apple and Google that they are going to take you out of their app stores.
How surprised were you when that happened? Or did you start to sense something like that was around the corner? Google never sent us a message.
They just banned us, which was really abrupt.
But Apple sent us a very harshly worded message.
I didn't think that they'd take us off over this.
Every platform, if you look at Facebook, you look at Twitter, they all had content like this.
The examples that Apple sent were tweets with screenshots of the content on Parler, and most of the content was already removed.
And then Amazon came in, which was even stranger.
I'd never heard Amazon ever make a statement referring to our moderation not being sufficient.
They sent a handful of examples, and most of the content was already removed or in the queue to be removed.
While you were still with the company, how confident were you that that Parler was going to be able to come back? Well, even the day after we got banned, I still thought, It's only gonna be 24 hours.
No big deal.
There are so many vendors.
We can find somebody.
I was wrong over and over again making those judgment calls because I wasn't aware of the extent to which these companies had it out for us.
John, I'm wondering, why did Donald Trump never join Parler? I don't know.
If I were him, I woulda joined.
It was clear he was gonna get banned off of Twitter and everywhere else.
And I think we made it pretty clear that we weren't gonna ban him unless he broke our rules and that we wouldn't ban him because other people did.
Because you say in the Amazon response you had reason to believe, and you say that Amazon had reason to believe, that Trump was gonna join.
Now, that is because Sean Hannity made a statement on Fox News saying Trump had joined.
The Amazon rep texted me like three or four times.
Hey, is Trump joining? And so I just responded to her, saying, I think he did because But I think it's a pseudonym account.
That's because I don't think Hannity would have been lying on television that Trump had an account.
Do you believe that Amazon kicked you off because they thought Trump was gonna come onto the platform? Is that what you think? I don't know why Amazon would have taken such a harsh stance if that wasn't what they thought.
I don't know why they would have done it so abruptly.
But it's speculative.
I have no actual facts to back this up other than just being in the situation, judging it using my own opinion.
A lending hand / the president of the World Bank THE WORLD BANK VS.
COVID-19 The World Bank estimates the pandemic could push 163 million people into extreme poverty by year end.
The bank has pledged $12 billion to help developing countries access vaccines and COVID-19 relief.
World Bank headquarters WASHINGTON, D.
Malpass, ready for the mask removal? - Dion, very good to see you.
- Hey, good to see you as well.
It seems like the rollout of the vaccine in some developing countries that have been some of the hardest hit by the virus is going very slowly.
Is it just that they're in the back of the line for the vaccine? Is it that they don't have the systems? What's the problem? The delivery of the vaccines is one of the big challenges.
The vaccines were invented in advanced economies, and they created contracts that commit much of the supply.
Some of the companies took an effort to have some of the vaccines available for developing countries.
And so my goal is to have as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible in the poorer countries.
And I think you've used the word destabilizing.
The COVID-19 crisis could be destabilizing for some of these developing countries.
The inequality is a big challenge for political systems.
Let's say you're a developing country that was making good progress and then COVID hit.
So that undercuts your reform efforts, your democracy efforts.
They were cut off almost overnight from their banking relationships.
So we've tried to step into that vacuum, which will help keep people in jobs.
The instability comes from people seeing that they're going backward, not forward.
You talked about inequality not just between the rich countries and the poor countries but also within countries.
Why are we seeing this inequality? I think there are strong economic forces at work.
As interest rates went down and bond yields went down, that benefits people who are able to borrow for the long term.
That tends to be people at the higher end of the income curve.
So there's not much going for people at the bottom end of the scale.
I think that's what we have to recover, a system where small businesses create jobs for people that don't have skills yet but want to have skills going forward.
The reality of this is the inequality is really bearing down on the poorest people around the world.
And I think that's something the world needs to tackle with full energy in order to get out of that trend.
President Trump, who nominated you very clearly America first.
We need to take on these multilateral institutions.
You were a strong supporter of the president.
It does seem like you've, again, made a big turn from some of those policies that you supported initially back in 2016 when you supported the president.
I've supported throughout growth.
Look at my testimonies from recent years.
Very clear we're supporting growth, development, climate, and a forceful presence and positive presence by the U.
in international organizations.
I'm looking forward to working with the Biden administration on those goals.
I think even before as recently as 2018 you said, Multilateralism has gone substantially too far.
Yet when I hear you talk about what you all have done here, it seems a lot like multilateralism.
How do you square that circle? I want to make international organizations work effectively.
So we talk in terms of collaboration, cooperation with other international organizations and also with governments.
What the international organizations need to do is be very effective within their mission.
I think the World Bank is doing that well.
- So help me God.
- So help me God.
- Congratulations, Mr.
- Thank you so much.
- Chasten.
- Madame Vice President.
- There we are.
- Thank you.

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