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July 12, 2023
What A Day
Two Strikes, We're Out

In This Episode

  • 160,000 Hollywood actors are poised to strike Thursday, joining WGA members on the picket lines in what could be the first double strike in more than 60 years. This all comes as this year’s coveted Emmy nominations were announced Wednesday morning, further cementing 2023 as a fraught year for the entertainment industry that is already without 11,000 of its writers.
  • A major heat wave has settled in across the South and Southwestern United States, with temperatures in the triple digits from California to Texas to Florida. Climate scientists have said record temperatures and heat waves will keep happening as this planet continues to get warmer.
  • And in headlines: Reproductive rights groups are suing Iowa after the state passed a six-week abortion ban, the Justice Department said that Trump can be held liable for comments he made about E. Jean Carroll while acting as president, and the United Auto Workers union said its members are prepared to strike if automakers don’t meet their demands for a new labor agreement.

 

Show Notes:

 

 

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TRANSCRIPT

 

Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Thursday, July 13th. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.

 

Erin Ryan: And I’m Erin Ryan. And this is What A Day where we are pretty sure a girl dinner is just a charcuterie board. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Remind me why we are gendering meals now? 

 

Erin Ryan: Yeah. I don’t even want to know what a boy dinner is. It’s horrific. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I don’t want to know at all. 

 

Erin Ryan: It’s in a can. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: [laugh] [?]. 

 

Erin Ryan: It’s in a can.

 

Priyanka Aribindi: It’s definitely in a can.

 

Erin Ryan: It’s in a can. [music break]

 

Priyanka Aribindi: On today’s show, the ACLU and other reproductive rights groups are suing Iowa after the state passed a six week abortion ban. Plus, members of the United Auto Workers union are prepared to strike. 

 

Erin Ryan: But first, at the time of this recording Wednesday night, negotiations between the Screen Actors Guild and the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers, or AMPTP, if you’re nasty, have still not led to a contract, which means we’re T-minus a few hours away from a WGA SAG-AFTRA double strike, potentially the biggest disruption in the American entertainment industry in generations. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. Okay. So Tre’vell covered the ins and outs of what SAG is looking for in yesterday’s show. So if you want to get caught up with what’s at stake here, that is a very good place to start. But, Erin, can you tell us about how the negotiations are going as we get down to the wire here? 

 

Erin Ryan: So AMPTP has taken some pretty big swings over these last couple of days, and they’ve had the exact same number of big misses as time runs out. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Great. 

 

Erin Ryan: First on Tuesday night, top Hollywood brass called in a federal mediator to help unstick negotiations. Some members of SAG criticized the move as a transparent attempt to extend the strike deadline once again. As you may recall, their contract expired June 30th. They’ve already extended it once. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 

 

Erin Ryan: It appears that SAG’s negotiating committee are unwilling to do that, however so this poor federal mediator had to parachute in to Los Angeles and had but a single day to work out some kind of business magic. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Really hoping for their sake that he or she did not fly into LAX. Because if you only got a day that LAX experience is really going to walk into the Uber lot. That’s going to eat up a lot of your time. 

 

Erin Ryan: Yeah, the seconds count, the minutes count. You don’t have time to go in and out of LAX. It’s a complete time black hole. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: You don’t. 

 

Erin Ryan: And surprise, surprise, the studios are not winning the publicity war either. On Tuesday night, a very ill advised piece ran in Deadline that contained a few alarming claims from anonymous AMPTP members that some observers believe were meant to scare striking members of the WGA, but actually achieved the opposite. First, the article claimed, according to anonymous studio executives, that the studios don’t even plan on sitting down with the WGA again until at least October, five months after the strike started. It also contains this troubling passage that went viral for all the wrong reasons. I’m going to read it to you, Priyanka. Hold on to your butt, [laugh] because it’s pretty bad. [sigh] From the Deadline article quote, “The end game is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses,” a studio executive told Deadline, acknowledging the cold as ice approach, several other sources reiterated the statement. One insider called it, quote, “a cruel but necessary evil.” The studios and streamers next think financially strapped writers would go to WGA leadership and demand that they restart talks before what could be a very cold Christmas. In that context, the studios and streamers feel they would be in a position to dictate most of the terms of any possible deal. Priyanka, imagine as I’m like reading these anonymous studio exec quotes, imagine that I’m wearing a monocle and a top hat. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Seriously. 

 

Erin Ryan: I’m holding two big burlap sacks with dollar bill signs printed on the side and I’m smoking a cigar because that is the vibe that I got from those passages. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Seriously, I don’t know how anyone could read that today and walk away with anything other than that. It’s so cruel. It’s so intentionally cruel. They know what they’re doing. They’re saying the quiet part out loud. And I think people in other industries who have been exposed to this, at least at this point, are like, uh that’s not okay. If these are the people you’re dealing with. There are probably some reasons that you’re going to strike. Uh. But apparently they want to grinch their way out of this. And the WGA picket line grew three sizes. So love to see it. 

 

Erin Ryan: Yeah. Yeah. See, this is why Hollywood needs writers, because those lines, those quotes were like hacky cartoon villainy. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 

 

Erin Ryan: A writer could have been like, you guys got to dial it back, but, you know, we’re on strike. And by Wednesday, midday Pacific Time, other members of the AMPTP had, shall we say, some notes, according to an update in the deadline piece, quote, “These anonymous people are not speaking on behalf of the AMPTP or member companies. We’re committed to reaching a deal and getting our industry back to work.” Now, that’s according to a spokesperson for the organization. I just want to chime in here and remind listeners that the AMPTP has refused to sit down with the WGA since the strike began in May. So this anonymous statement meant to do damage control for another anonymous statement rings pretty hollow. Oh, and Deadline, by the way, is owned by Penske Media Corp, which also owns Variety and several other entertainment publications. Its chairman and CEO, Jay Penske, is a member of the AMPTP.

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Hmm. Where ever could they be getting these anonymous quotes from whenever they need to update a piece? 

 

Erin Ryan: Honestly shades of Sam Alito on the Wall Street Journal editorial page. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: It’s the very same vibe. So, you know, while all of this is going on, while Hollywood is basically crumbling, yesterday we kicked off what may turn out to be the weirdest Emmys season of all time. Tell us more about what’s happening. 

 

Erin Ryan: Yeah, literally, as 160,000 actors prepare to strike alongside 11,000 writers that are already striking, Emmy nominations were announced. Leading the way was HBO’s Succession, The Last of US, House of the Dragon and the White Lotus. You know that cartoon with the little guy sitting in the house that’s on fire. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yup. 

 

Erin Ryan: Saying this is fine. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 

 

Erin Ryan: That’s what these announcements kind of give. Uh.

 

Priyanka Aribindi: See I mean, it’s the it’s the person reading the announcement. 

 

Erin Ryan: Yes, this is fine. This is fine. Amid this HBO and all of its blockbuster shows that everybody watched and was talking about all but dominated their respective categories, we also saw Vanderpump Rules get a nomination for unscripted programming. I mean. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: It was their year. 

 

Erin Ryan: Now or never. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 

 

Erin Ryan: You know? 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: It made sense for this year. 

 

Erin Ryan: Made sense. There’s got to be a category for it. Nominate that show because riveting. The sublimely hilarious part prank show, part improv masterpiece, Jury Duty got a lot of love alongside such hits as Abbott Elementary. I also want to give a shout out to America’s sweetheart, Melanie Lynsky. Yes, I’m calling it. She’s America’s newest sweetheart. She got nominated in two categories for her turns in Yellowjackets and The Last of US. Sharon Horgan also got nominated for the excellent Bad Sisters on Apple TV Plus. She’s amazing. She’s incredible. Glad to see her get some love. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Listen, I’m not super up to date on my TV in general, but there were things that I was really excited to see, too. I mean, first of all, Abbott Elementary, live for it, die for it. Amazing. But I was looking through some of these categories, like Best Supporting Actress in a drama series, for example, is the one I landed on. It’s pretty much every single woman in the White Lotus, which I I don’t even know who I want to win just because all of them were so fantastic. So a lot of things to be excited about here. But were there any snubs? I like wouldn’t necessarily be aware of them, but you might be. So please tell us if there were any notable ones this year. 

 

Erin Ryan: Yeah, I’m super Hollywood, Priyanka. I’m wearing pajama shorts right now, which is extremely Hollywood, uh but there’s always snubs. There are always shows that a lot of people like that don’t get the attention that viewers think they deserve. And this year, one of those is Yellowstone, which is the favorite show of your aunt who still posts daily on Facebook. Yellowstone was shut out despite being a huge hit. It’s a huge hit on Paramount plus, tons of people watch it. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, tons of people talk about it. Not even just on Facebook like I see it on my Instagram all the time. 

 

Erin Ryan: Oh, yeah. A lot of people like Yellowstone and it’s like not a bad show. It’s fun. It’s like soapy, it’s like Dallas, it’s Montana Dallas. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Eventually, when I run out of seasons of Top Chef, maybe. [laughter]

 

Erin Ryan: Well, there are also rumors that Yellowstone is kind of like wrapping things up and usually shows that have been historically snubbed or ignored that are big hits by, you know, the Emmys. Usually at the end, they’re like, oh, here we go. Here’s some awards. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 

 

Erin Ryan: But they didn’t do it this time with Yellowstone, which is, you know, a surprise. Atlanta was also shut out of major categories after kind of being a darling of the Emmys a few years back. And also, Netflix didn’t get a lot of love compared to recent years. The Crown kind of didn’t really make any noise at all.

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Hmm. Okay. So, you know, while all this is happening, there is also the giant elephant in the room. What does an Emmys ceremony actually look like if all of the writers and all of the actors are on strike like that essentially is Hollywood, what else is left? [laugh]

 

Erin Ryan: I’m brainstorming a solution right now for the studio executives. You use AI to generate actors and a script, and you make AI versions of the actors give and accept the awards. Their ears are going to look all fucked up, their hands are going to look all fucked up because that’s what AI can do and the scripts will sound very strange. I honestly think that’s the best they could do. I mean, more realistically, the ceremony, which is scheduled for September, probably won’t look anything like previous awards shows as you know, if writers and actors are still striking at the time, they’re not supposed to be participating in like press junkets. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 

 

Erin Ryan: And award shows. And, you know, Comic-Con is coming up in like a week, week and a half. And if SAG is on strike, they’re not going to be going to Comic-Con. It’s going to be– 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 

 

Erin Ryan: –a bunch of studio executives being like, watch the new Star Wars show and a bunch of nerds being like, who the fuck are you? 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 

 

Erin Ryan: But yeah, without writers and actors, creators to support the projects that they created and bring to life, it’s not going to be that interesting compared–. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 

 

Erin Ryan: –to other years. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: You’re left with a bunch of executives and the people who are the reasons that none of these people that everyone loves and whose work they admire, they’re the reason that they aren’t there. So, I mean, you want to put them all on display and be like, give America the faces of um who is causing them not to see the people they love. That doesn’t seem like a smart idea, but I–

 

Erin Ryan: Yeah. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Go for it. I guess.

 

Erin Ryan: Another good bad idea is just have the studio executives walk the red carpet in place of all the stars and then everybody who enjoys Succession, The White Lotus, House of the Dragon, The Last of US, Ted Lasso, whatever anybody watching will be like, Oh, these studio executives have absolutely no appeal and they suck. And– 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yup. 

 

Erin Ryan: I’m totally not on their side. I am more on the writers and actors side than I ever was before. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Exactly. 

 

Erin Ryan: But please pay them fairly. Please, please just pay them. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, exactly. That is what we all hope and want here. If this Emmy situation happens, that would be hysterical. But I think we all agree that give them what they want, please. And thank you so we can go back to normal. Switching gears just a bit, though, in case you haven’t noticed yet, it is very hot outside. Erin, you’re in Los Angeles. 

 

Erin Ryan: What? What? 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: You’re burning up over there. 

 

Erin Ryan: Yeah, I’ve got sweat in parts of my body that I’m like, Oh, yeah, I have that part of my body, you know? 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Always nice to be reminded. 

 

Erin Ryan: Right. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: But just last week was declared the hottest week ever on record for the entire planet by the U.N.. I imagine that record will be getting broken very soon. That, of course, followed the hottest June ever on record. You see where the trend is going. It is not a good situation, according to forecasters, who warn that the planet could be entering a multi-year period of exceptional heat. These temperatures are the result of a continued greenhouse gas emissions caused by the burning of oil, gas and coal, as well as the return of a cyclical El Niño weather pattern. It’s nothing new here. You know what is causing this. I know what is causing this. We all know what is causing this. We’re just reaping what we sow at this point. 

 

Erin Ryan: The mental toll and like the panic that you feel when you’re in intense heat is something that’s really hard to wrap your head around until you’re actually like in it for a prolonged period of time. It’s like depressing. It’s upsetting. Like on a visceral level. I was just in Arizona last week. It was 112 degrees in Phoenix and going outside felt like going into a hair dryer. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 

 

Erin Ryan: It was so inhumane, untenable. And people were outside trying to work, trying to do jobs. It cannot be healthy or safe. It’s not.

 

Priyanka Aribindi: It’s completely not possible. Yeah. You know, reading some of this reporting, it’s like water bottles warp at that temperature. Seatbelts are like burning hot, like it’s just completely unlivable. We were not designed to live in those temperatures. Our planet was not designed to be at these temperatures. Uh. It’s just it’s not good. 

 

Erin Ryan: So is there any end in sight? Like what are we seeing this week? 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I mean, unfortunately, not quite at this point. A major heat wave has settled in across the south and southwestern United States with temperatures in the triple digits everywhere from California to Texas to Florida. To give you a sense of scale here, yesterday morning, over 82 million Americans were under excessive heat warnings or advisories. That is according to the National Weather Service. As I alluded to earlier, this isn’t letting up immediately. Parts of the south could continue to see these temperatures until July 21st. That is more than a week out from today at these crazy temperatures. 

 

Erin Ryan: Oh, my gosh. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: For Texas and Oklahoma, this is a continuation of the heat wave that they were already experiencing in Texas. Hundreds of people have already gotten sick as a result of the temperatures and more than a dozen have died. In Arizona, temperatures hit 110 degrees for the 13th straight day yesterday. Even hotter temperatures are expected this weekend. So, you know, that’s not letting up. And in Florida, coral reefs which support so much marine life, they generate billions of dollars for fisheries and for tourism. And they also protect the coast from other extreme weather events. They’re facing an unprecedented threat from a marine heat wave throughout the Gulf of Mexico, far earlier into the year than when they normally experience peak heat stress. It’s not just the U.S. either. This record breaking heat is happening worldwide. There is a deadly heat wave in India. Sea ice levels are dropping to record lows off the coast of Antarctica. And temperatures in the North Atlantic are averaging 2.9 degrees warmer than is typical for this time of year. That is just a huge increase, a huge spike in ocean temperatures. It’s just really we are the dog in the burning house that is us. 

 

Erin Ryan: Yeah, we are the dog in the burning house in so many different ways. This week feels a little bit more literal. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 

 

Erin Ryan: Like we’re literally burning. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Certainly. 

 

Erin Ryan: Gosh, I remember when these kind of doomsday scenarios were first coming out, when scientists are like, Hey, guys, uh it’s really bad. This is worse than anybody expected, right? 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Certainly. I mean, even for people who are not naive about climate change, this seems very extreme. It also is incredibly dangerous for the millions of people who are under these warnings, especially the ones who are in vulnerable communities or who don’t have access to air conditioning or safe drinking water. This is essentially hell on Earth. 

 

Erin Ryan: Oh, my God. So what are climate scientists saying about all of this? 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I mean, there is no precedent for a lot of what is happening. But they say that these record temperatures and heat waves, along with the other extreme weather events that we see will keep happening as this planet continues to get hotter. That is what they have said it’s what they will keep saying. Commenting on the global temperature highs, Stanford University climate scientist Chris Field told the Associated Press, quote, “A record like this is another piece of evidence for the now massively supported proposition that global warming is pushing us into a hotter future. Obviously, we will continue to follow the heat waves and the extreme weather events. More on all of this very soon, but that is the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads. [music break] 

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s wrap up with some headlines. 

 

[sung] Headlines. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: The ACLU and a number of other reproductive rights groups are suing the state of Iowa after its GOP led legislature passed a six week abortion ban earlier this week. Abortion is currently legal in Iowa until the 20 week mark, but the new legislation would outlaw pretty much all abortions once cardiac activity is detected at about six weeks, which is before most people even know that they are pregnant. The bill was pushed through in a one day legislative session that lasted more than 14 hours on Tuesday. Legislators passed the bill late that night, and by Wednesday morning, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and the Emma Gold Clinic filed a lawsuit asking a district court to temporarily block the measure that has yet to be signed into law. The rush to block the law is likely because it’s supposed to take effect immediately after being signed. And Governor Kim Reynolds has already said that she will sign it into law tomorrow. That does not offer the people of Iowa any time at all to prepare for this. A hearing over whether the rule is constitutional is scheduled for Friday, just before Reynolds is expected to sign the bill into law. You’re in the bad place. 

 

Erin Ryan: Here’s the thing. I feel like states like Iowa, Idaho, other states that are enacting these like extreme bans straight up don’t want people who are in their childbearing years to live in the state. You can be the most pro-life person in the world, but if you’re living in a place like Iowa, Idaho, any place that’s like passing a six week ban. Whatever your access to OB-GYN care is going to be impacted by this in an extremely negative way. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Totally. 

 

Erin Ryan: You’re like going to just lose doctors. You’re not going to have access to care. It’s not just abortion. It’s like all medical care of and relating to having babies. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: They clearly don’t want any people of childbearing age. But it’s unfortunate because so many of those people don’t exactly have the option to like up and move just because of this. Like you’re really saddling people, or at least not in the immediate where this could really affect them. It’s bad. 

 

Erin Ryan: Think about like a prospective college student. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Totally. 

 

Erin Ryan: If you were deciding between the University of Michigan and the University of Iowa. And you’re a woman. Where are you going to go? I’m going to the University of Michigan. I mean, it is a better school. But– 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: But yeah. 

 

Erin Ryan: You’re also in a state where, like access to reproductive health care is actually protected. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I think it’s very real for college students. 

 

Erin Ryan: Yeah. Like, if it was between two states and in one state, there was like an extreme ban and then in another there wasn’t. I would go to the one where there wasn’t a ban. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: 1000%. 

 

Erin Ryan: Not because I’m like, I’m going to have so many abortions in college just because I want the freedom to make decisions about my own body. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Well, also, you want adequate health care. Like. 

 

Erin Ryan: Yeah. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: It’s not crazy. Everyone should. 

 

Erin Ryan: Yeah, call me crazy. I’d like to control what happens in my body. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. 

 

Erin Ryan: I don’t know. Maybe I’m woke. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Wild. 

 

Erin Ryan: [laugh] Trump can be held liable for comments he made about E. Jean Carroll while acting as president of the United States. That’s according to the Justice Department, which on Tuesday reversed its earlier position, stating that Trump was protected from a defamation lawsuit because he was acting in his official capacity as president. E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit stems from comments Trump made about her after she accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in a New York City dressing room in the nineties. At the time, Trump called the accusations, quote, “totally false” and said Carroll was not his, quote, “type.” Eew. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Big eew. 

 

Erin Ryan: In a court filing earlier this week, the DOJ determined that, quote, “There is no longer a sufficient basis to conclude that the former president was motivated by more than an insignificant desire to serve the United States government.” I feel like that phrase applies to many things he did when he was the president. The letter claims that while Trump’s comments were made in a work context, the allegations themselves were related to a personal incident and that, quote, “sexual assault was obviously not job related.” Whoa, big if true. [laughter] A trial is scheduled to begin in January of next year. It’s important to note that this lawsuit is separate from the sexual assault and defamation lawsuit that went to trial earlier this year, which Carroll won $5 million in damages. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, looking forward to her winning once again, as she deserves to do. Bank of America has been ordered to pay $250 million dollars in fines and customer compensations in one of the banks highest financial penalties in years. The payout comes as punishment for double dipping on overdraft fees, withholding reward bonuses on credit cards and opening accounts without customer consent, which is– 

 

Erin Ryan: What? 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: –absolutely bananas. 

 

Erin Ryan: Need more info? What? That’s crazy. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 

 

Erin Ryan: How can that happen? 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I don’t know. And apparently they just get a fine for it. Like that seems like enough to maybe close down the business. But–

 

Erin Ryan: People should be going to jail. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. The move is part of the stricter enforcement that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Biden administration have taken on banks junk fees, which are those bogus fees that you probably see pop up on your statements from banks, debt collectors and airlines. Bank of America serves 68 million individuals and businesses, making it the second largest bank in the U.S. and they are no stranger to financial scandals in the last decade. In 2014, the Bank of America had to pay $727 million dollars for illegal credit card practices. And just last year, Bank of America was fined $225 million dollars for mishandling unemployment benefits at the height of the pandemic. I guess they learned nothing. They learned nothing.

 

Erin Ryan: Wow. They really are a lot of villains and they they don’t give a shit. Hmm. Well, let’s keep fining them. Maybe it’ll change their behavior. [laughter] Uh. Inflation cooled to 3% last month, the lowest point since early 2021, bringing some relief to Americans who have been feeling the jump in prices the past couple of years. The inflation figure was sharply lower from June of last year, when inflation was a staggering 9.1%. You might remember gas prices hit a U.S. record average of $5 per gallon last summer. As a Californian, I got to say, that’s– 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: –Everyday. 

 

Erin Ryan: I can’t really. Okay. Is that a lot? I don’t know. Now they fall into a national average of $3.54 a gallon. The price of food also rose at a slower rate in June, with costs dropping for products like milk, eggs and meats. Remember when egg prices shot up last year after a bird flu outbreak? 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I do. 

 

Erin Ryan: I do remember that. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I do. 

 

Erin Ryan: Well, in June, they went down more than 7% from the month prior. But prices still remain above the pre-pandemic average cost of about a $1.60 a dozen. Man, I bet the people who hoarded eggs feel silly now. Got a bunch of rotten eggs. Americans also paid less last month for airfares and used cars. While the progress is good news. Inflation is still not at the Fed’s target rate of 2%, so interest rates are likely to be raised when officials meet later this month. And that means I’m never going to buy a house ever. Ever.

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Join the club, Erin, where we’re in it together. We are in it together. [laughter] [sighs]

 

Priyanka Aribindi: The United Auto Workers Union said that nearly 150,000 of its members are ready to strike if automakers do not meet their demands for a new labor contract. Negotiations between the two parties are set to begin today, and workers are asking the big three automakers, that is Ford, Stellantis and General Motors, for higher wages after watching the companies rake in record profits over the past year, as well as better health benefits, stronger job security and reinstatement of a cost of living adjustment for workers that was thrown out during the Great Recession. All of that seems fantastic, all of which they should get. The current contract between the UAW and the Big Three expires on September 14th, and it is safe to say that negotiations will be pretty tense. Union President Sean Fain said on Wednesday that he and his fellow union leaders would not hold a public handshaking ceremony with the Big Three before coming to the bargaining table per their usual long standing tradition. Instead, Fain exclusively shook hands with his fellow workers yesterday, saying, quote, “I’m not shaking hands with any CEOs until they do right by our members and fix the broken status quo of the big three,” he’s not coming to play. 

 

Erin Ryan: I got to say, if you’re somebody who works with your hands, the act of shaking hands with the buttery, smooth fingers and palms of a CEO might be a little bit unsettling to you. I feel like– 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah that’s offensive.

 

Erin Ryan: –there they they got, like some– 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: That is offensive. 

 

Erin Ryan: –rough, solid hands coming in touch with, like, a just a lotioned up ugh [sound of disgust]. No, thank you. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: It’s an all too literal reminder of the difference there. And those are the headlines. One more thing before we go. Are you a trans person living in a red state that recently passed a ban on gender affirming care? Have you or someone you love been personally affected by Republican backed attacks on LGBTQ+ rights? Do you want to make your voice heard right here on this podcast about the very real harm that these laws have had on people’s lives? Because we really want to hear from you. So please send us a voice note or a written response to WAD@Crooked.com with your name, where you’re from, and how you’ve been impacted. If you prefer to remain anonymous, just let us know. We would really love to hear from you. [music break] That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Fill up your gas tank and tell your friends to listen. 

 

Erin Ryan: And if you are into reading and not just about union members refusing to shake hands with CEOs like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Erin Ryan. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 

 

[spoken together] And pay writers and actors already. 

 

Erin Ryan: Please. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Seriously, we’re tired of waiting. We want our shows and they deserve it. [music break] What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla. Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf are our associate producers. Our intern is Ryan Cochran, and our senior producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka. [music break] 

 

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