UAW Races To The Deadline | Crooked Media
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September 14, 2023
What A Day
UAW Races To The Deadline

In This Episode

  • Members of the United Auto Workers union are in the final countdown to reach a labor agreement with Detroit automakers. If agreements aren’t reached by 11:59pm ET Thursday night, then autoworkers will implement targeted strikes at plants run by General Motors, Ford Motor and Stellantis.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un met up at a summit on Wednesday in Eastern Russia. After the meeting, Kim Jong Un vowed full support for Russia’s invasion and Putin offered North Korea technological help, saying that there are “possibilities” for military cooperation between the two countries.
  • And in headlines: a federal judge in Texas ruled once again that DACA is illegal, Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney announced that he will not seek reelection in 2024, and visual effects workers at Marvel Studios unanimously voted to unionize.


Show Notes:



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Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Thursday, September 14th. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.


Juanita Tolliver: And I’m Juanita Tolliver and this is What A Day and it’s been real y’all but Gannett just posted job postings for reporters to cover Taylor Swift and Beyoncé so deuces.


Priyanka Aribindi: I think the two best candidates are right here on this show. 


Juanita Tolliver: Didn’t they just lay off a bunch of investigative reporters? Like I know Beyoncé and Taylor Swift get clicks– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Maybe we should stay here where we do both. [laughter] [music break] On today’s show what you should take away from the summit between Kim Jong-Un and Vladimir Putin. Plus, Lauren Boebert proves she can be a nuisance outside of Congress. 


Juanita Tolliver: But first, members of the United Auto Workers Union are in the final countdown to their September 14th deadline to reach a labor agreement with Detroit automakers. As of our record time on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. Eastern, the two parties still have not agreed on pay increases, reduced work schedules, pension structures, cost of living adjustments and more. Here’s what UAW President Shawn Fain told CNBC earlier this week. 


[clip of Shawn Fain] We gave the companies our demands earlier than we ever have in the history of our bargaining. This is my fifth set of national negotiations, and uh typically the economic demands don’t come into play until the final few weeks. We gave them those demands five weeks ago. We told the companies from the onset of bargaining that we expect to bargain now, not delay until the very end and expect everything to fall off the table. If they chose that path, um it wouldn’t be good. We’ve been very consistent in our message that September 14th is a deadline, not a reference point, and we expect all three companies to have that agreement. If they don’t, then there will be action. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, absolutely. Very consistent in that messaging. He said it, quote, “wouldn’t be good.” So what exactly is the union planning if the deadline arrives and there isn’t an agreement with these automakers? 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. If agreements aren’t reached by 11:59 p.m. Eastern tonight, then autoworkers will begin to implement targeted strikes at plants run by General Motors, Ford Motor and Stellantis. And because these are targeted strikes, it won’t be a mass walk off where employees exit all of the plants, but instead it will be work stoppages at a smaller number of factories. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And did Fain seem optimistic that a deal could be reached in this scenario? 


Juanita Tolliver: I mean, he did tell CNBC that negotiators still have a lot of ground to cover, but he believes that they can reach a deal before the deadline. It’s also clear that the automakers believe the union is asking for too much in terms of compensation, as workers are seeking a 36% pay increase over the next four and a half years. Fain emphasized that the CEOs gave themselves a 40% wage increase last year, and what’s good for the CEOs is good for the workers, you know? [laugh] Here’s what he also had to say in a live stream to union members yesterday. 


[clip of Shawn Fain] They want to say that our righteous fight for a higher quality of life for the working class would wreck the economy. They pretend that the sky will fall if we get our fair share of the quarter of a trillion dollars the Big Three has made over the past decade. But it’s not just the economy. When they talk about that and they say, we’ll wreck the economy. It’s not the economy that’ll wreck. It’s their economy. It’s the billionaire economy. That’s what they’re worried about. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, that is one of the most succinct ways to like encapsulate all of the struggles. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: That we’ve had between laborers and CEOs across so many industries recently. But what would an auto worker strike mean for our economy at large? 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, according to an August report from the Anderson Economic Group, a ten day strike against all three automakers would result in total economic losses of 5.6 billion. But– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Wow. 


Juanita Tolliver: That report presumed a full work stoppage. And here the union is only considering targeted strikes. So it’ll be less than that. Nonetheless, Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, told The New York Times that a prolonged strike paired with rising interest rates, the return of student loan payments and a potential government shutdown in October would cause economic damage to start to mount. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And what would a strike mean for President Biden? He has dubbed himself the most union friendly president in history. There have been a lot of issues with–


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –labor kind of and unions rising up and striking or threatening to strike so far in the tenure of his presidency. What would a strike with these workers mean for him and his administration? 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, for President Biden’s part, he’s been playing a balancing act with a clear desire to protect the economy from this type of damage, as well as a desire for a fair outcome for workers. So let’s just say it’s a bit of a tough spot. But Biden has been in touch with Fain and told reporters, quote, “I’m not worried about a strike until it happens.” So he’s pretty level headed right now. We’ll see if that sticks, though. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Got it. Okay. We are just going to follow his lead and keep our fingers crossed. Anyways thank you so much for that update, Juanita. Switching now to some international news. Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un met up for a little one on one time at a summit in eastern Russia. According to Putin, the talks were supposed to cover economic cooperation, humanitarian issues, which is laughable when you consider who is actually talking here, as well as the, quote, “situation in the region,” a.k.a. Russia’s year and a half long invasion of Ukraine. Afterwards, Kim vowed full support for Russia’s invasion. Take a listen to what he had to say. 


[clip of Kim Jong-Un and interpreter] [speaking in Korean] And I want to assure you that we will always be together with Russia in the fight against imperialism. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And Putin offered North Korea technological help, saying that there are, quote, “possibilities for military cooperation between the two countries.” 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, this feels dark and it feels like the emperor and Darth Vader building the Death Star in Star Wars. Like the little bit I know, I know that’s bad. [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. If there’s one thing I know that is bad. 


Juanita Tolliver: Let’s talk about why this summit happened in the first place though.


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. So aside from their long standing relationship as allies over the years and being the two countries that the rest of the world seems to hate the most consistently, Russia and North Korea both have something that the other one needs at this point. To keep their invasion of Ukraine going. Russia needs military support. Over the last 18 months, they have become even more isolated diplomatically and economically. They’ve depleted a lot of their resources. And according to analysts, North Korea has stockpiles of old ammunition and rockets that were based on Soviet era designs, which could help bolster Russia in their attempt to take over Ukraine. 


Juanita Tolliver: Soviet era designs. Yikes it’s like– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: –what Secretary Blinken said, it’s giving desperation. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Definitely. They’re not in a good place. 


Juanita Tolliver: No. So what’s in this for North Korea, though? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So on the other hand, North Korea has a lot to gain as well, specifically in the realm of technology. They have tried and failed twice already this year to get a military spy satellite up into orbit. Notably, yesterday’s summit took place at a Siberian rocket launch facility. According to Putin, they chose to meet in that location specifically because North Korea wants help in that arena. But no part of this actually flies with the rest of the world. Buying arms from North Korea or providing them with rocket technology would violate all kinds of international sanctions, including sanctions that Russia themselves had previously supported. 


Juanita Tolliver: I mean, when it benefits him, I’m sure Putin has no problem flip flopping and–


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: I mean, he’s a dictator. International opinion doesn’t really rank high on his list of priorities, right? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Clearly not, yeah Putin claimed that Russia is abiding by the sanctions thus far, but U.S. intelligence believes that North Korea has already provided Russia and the Wagner paramilitary group with arms during this conflict. Russia and North Korea deny that claim, but of course, neither of them is known for being particularly truthful. If you want to learn more about all of this, this week on Pod Save the World, Tommy Vietor and Ben Rhodes spoke to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken about this meeting and its implications internationally. We have a link to that conversation in our show notes. A great way to get into more depth on this topic, More on all of this very soon, though. That is the latest for now. [music break]


Juanita Tolliver: Let’s get to some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Juanita Tolliver: A federal judge in Texas yesterday ruled once again that DACA is illegal. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA for short, protects hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation. It basically allows the now young adults often called Dreamers, to live and work in the U.S.. But yesterday, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen maintained that the program is unlawful and that former President Barack Obama didn’t have the authority to create the program when he did back in 2012. The decision is likely to be appealed, sending the case back to the Supreme Court for a third time. But it’s worth noting that the judge’s ruling doesn’t impact folks currently enrolled in the program or current applicants. But new applications are barred. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney announced yesterday that he will not seek reelection in 2024. It is a big move for Romney, who is known for crossing the aisle more frequently than others in his party. He announced his plans in a video that called out the importance of making room for young candidates to hold office. Take a listen. 


[clip of Mitt Romney] I’ve spent my last 25 years in public service of one kind or another. At the end of another term, I’d be in my mid-eighties. Frankly, it’s time for a new generation of leaders. They’re the ones that need to make the decisions that will shape the world they will be living in. 


Juanita Tolliver: I’m catching all the shade. [laughter] I’m catching all the shade.


Priyanka Aribindi: A lot of shade in there. Can’t say I fully disagree with the man, but yeah, I’m getting what he’s saying. Romney was relatively outspoken against former President Donald Trump. He was the only Republican senator to vote to convict Trump at both of his impeachment trials. Romney also served as the governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and lost to former President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election. He then moved to Utah and pursued his successful 2018 election to the Senate. The senator’s decision to not run for a second term comes as Republicans gear up to retake control of the Senate next year. 


Juanita Tolliver: I feel like I definitely support more young people elected to the Senate. Absolutely. I just have a question about the quality of young people coming up in Utah, because the guy already in the race apparently is running because Mitt Romney voted to impeach Trump. So I’m like– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Oh. 


Juanita Tolliver: What are we really going to get out of Utah next? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Uh oh. [laughter] I don’t know if I’m excited about these alternatives quite yet. 


Juanita Tolliver: Just one day after he opened an impeachment inquiry into President Biden, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy yesterday put forward a plan to avoid a looming government shutdown just two weeks away. In a meeting behind closed doors, McCarthy pitched combining three security related bills into one quote, “minibus” bill that would also include money for disaster aid. He also pushed a short term spending bill known as a continuing resolution that would fund the government past the September 30th deadline and would buy lawmakers time to figure out an agreement. But things aren’t looking so great. Yesterday, House leaders failed to move ahead on a funding bill for the Department of Defense because of opposition from Republican hardliners. So the call is coming from inside of the House. [laugh] Yikes. And so far, the House has only passed one of 12 annual appropriations bills, which is significant because they need to agree on all 12 to fund the government in fiscal year 2024. And some conservatives have said they’re willing to shut down the government if they don’t get what they want, which is deeper spending cuts, additional border security and more. All the while, the clock is ticking y’all. 


Priyanka Aribindi: The husband of U.S. Representative Mary Peltola died in a plane crash in western Alaska, her office said yesterday. In a statement, Representative Peltola’s chief of staff said, quote, “We are devastated to share that Mary’s husband, Eugene Peltola Jr. ‘Buzzy’ to all of us who knew and loved him passed away earlier this morning following a plane accident in Alaska. Officials said Mr.Peltola was piloting a small plane that crashed in a mountainous area of the state shortly after takeoff around 8:45 p.m. on Tuesday, and the crash appeared to have happened after he dropped off a hunter and the hunter’s equipment in a remote area. He was the only one on board. The National Transportation Safety Board said that the plane crashed under unknown circumstances and both the NTSB and the FAA are investigating the incident. Wednesday’s statement said Representative Peltola will be returning to Alaska to be with her family. And speaking of Mr.Peltola, the statement described him as, quote, “one of those people that was obnoxiously good at everything. He had a delightful sense of humor that lightened the darkest moments.” 


Juanita Tolliver: Republican House Representative Lauren Boebert proved herself to be a professional Karen on Sunday after getting herself kicked out of a performance of Beetlejuice, the Musical, for being a disturbance. According to security personnel at Denver’s Buell Theater. The congresswoman and an unnamed guest of hers broke several rules by one, recording parts of the performance, which is a massive no no, singing loudly during the show. And vaping in the indoor theater. Like what the fuck?


Priyanka Aribindi: My God, what are these [laughter] teens like? What are you doing? 


Juanita Tolliver: Multiple people complained about her behavior and the two were given a warning before being asked to leave. When Boebert refused, one of the ushers threatened to call the police, to which Boebert said, quote, “Go get them.” Like, let’s be real. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Oh God. 


Juanita Tolliver: This is giving white woman confidence. Nothing’s going to happen to me energy.


Priyanka Aribindi: It is. 


Juanita Tolliver: Surveillance video shows security personnel escorting Boebert out of the building shortly after. The congresswoman can be seen arguing with venue officials and stomping every step of the way in true toddler fashion. Jeez.


Priyanka Aribindi: My God. 


Juanita Tolliver: Boebert’s campaign office confirm that she was escorted out of the theater on Sunday but denied that she behaved poorly. I’m like y’all, we have video evidence, but okay, maybe people would believe that if Boebert wasn’t already notorious for being a bad audience member. You’ll remember she heckled President Biden during last year’s State of the Union address when he described the tragic death of his son, Beau, the Iraq war veteran who succumbed to brain cancer. If she can stoop that low, why should we be surprised that she’s a nuisance at her local theater? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Not surprising that she was a disturbance. I personally have considered Lauren Boebert to be a disturbance for the entire time that I have been subjected to– 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –knowing about her existence. This is really next level. Like this isn’t even her putting on, like, a stunt in Congress for attention or at the State of the Union for attention. This is just like how she conducts herself in her personal life. Oh, my God. We have elected just the absolute worst humans who act like this, who just are like this. 


Juanita Tolliver: I just want to amend we. It was them. They did this.


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah no. 


Juanita Tolliver: In Colorado too.


Priyanka Aribindi: We we had no part in this. [laugh] 


Juanita Tolliver: That was not us. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Absolutely. [laughter] Absolutely not us. No. [laughter] Visual effects workers at Marvel Studios unanimously voted to unionize on Tuesday, making them the first collective bargaining unit of its kind in the entertainment industry. All 32 members of the union will now be represented by IATSE moving forward, that is the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which backs over 168,000 behind the scenes workers at several major studios across the country. IATSE president Matthew Loeb released a statement congratulating the workers for their historic victory, writing, quote, “Their bravery, determination and unity are a beacon for workers not just in visual effects, not just in entertainment, but workers in every industry across this country and beyond. Your fight is our fight.” Yes, I love it. I am inspired. The union will now begin bargaining with Marvel. They’ll also bargain with its parent company, Disney, where visual effects workers are hoping to form a union of their own. Eligible workers filed for a union election late last month. And, you know, let’s do it again. Why not? 


Juanita Tolliver: 100%. And I just want to emphasize the bravery of this, because they took on Marvel and Disney and successfully voted to create a union. So I’m really excited for these workers. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Very cheesy, but uh it feels like we know who the real heroes are. 


Juanita Tolliver: Period. But actually those heroes wouldn’t exist without VFX. So they are truly– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Absolutely. 


Juanita Tolliver: –the real heroes. [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. They are the real heroes. And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads with the most important topic that has consumed many of our editorial meetings lately, news from The Real Housewives. 




Juanita Tolliver: Hey WAD squad. We’re wrapping up today’s episode with a segment we’re going to call Real Talk because it’s about our favorite topic, The Real Housewives. Earlier this week, The Cut published an article called This Is What a Real Housewife Looks Like. We know not all of you are into the Housewives cinematic universe, but a ton of us here at Crooked are. And this particular story caught our eye. It’s about the newest housewife of New York, Jenna Lyons. 


[clip of Jenna Lyons] My lashes may be fake, but I definitely keep it real. 


Juanita Tolliver: C’mon Jenna. Promo in the intro. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Promo in the intro. I feel like that is not even really representative of who Jenna is at all. But like, I love her. And if you don’t love her just because you heard this snippet, it’s okay. But she’s love worthy. 


Juanita Tolliver: We’ll give you time. Just learn a little bit more about her. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. 


Juanita Tolliver: So, she’s a former executive and president of J.Crew, and this article is all about how she’s using her time on the show to promote her new fashion ventures. We’re going to link to the piece in our show notes. But me and Priyanka have been talking about it nonstop behind the scenes, plenty of DMs back and forth, y’all. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Oh yes. 


Juanita Tolliver: So now we’re going to go for it in front of the scenes. And Priyanka, what stood out to you most while reading this piece? 


Priyanka Aribindi: First, let me preface this in terms of the Housewives cinematic universe. I am not very well read in. I only jumped in to this season of New York because they have a whole new cast. 


Juanita Tolliver: Full reboot yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Otherwise, it was going to be too much. I didn’t know all the backstory. There were so many seasons I couldn’t do it. Anyways, I jumped in and after reading this article, Jenna was already my favorite. But what was reaffirmed to me by reading this article is that she is the most and perhaps the only legitimately interesting housewife [laughter] on this season. 


Juanita Tolliver: Fair. Fair point.


Priyanka Aribindi: I would say. She is very intriguing and for a good reason. She’s had this storied career at the head of J.Crew. She was a name that people I knew and I wasn’t in the fashion industry growing up, I knew her name like she is very legitimately interesting and leads a very glamorous, exciting life, as evidenced by some of the snippets in this article. But it’s stuff that she will never show on the show. And I realize, you know what? I’m okay with that. She’s not on this reality show to bare her entire soul to us. And I’m cool with that. I like the snippets that we get of her. She is being herself, and I think it’s more than so many people who are at a similar level would ever want to give access to or open themselves up to. I think she’s brave for doing that because she really has a name for herself, whereas some of the other people, relatively unknown in that way, like they don’t have as much to lose. 


Juanita Tolliver: She said we don’t know you. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m sorry. [?] Some of them who are you? 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. I don’t know you. Like in addition to the boundaries, what she does show is real. I’m talking– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: –she had full dental surgery on the show. She talks about her relationship with her mother like there is no fluff. And so while she’s respecting her boundaries, she’s still being authentic. And that is what I love. She also knows why she’s doing this show. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. 


Juanita Tolliver: This is explicitly a marketing tool for all of her lines, her lashes, her work and everything outside of it, like it’s giving Kandi Burruss out of Atlanta, who said, as long as I have a new book, a new show, a new product, I’ll keep doing Housewives. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: Like that, I think, is going to be the model that Jenna uses. Here’s the thing. Jenna does what she wants when she wants, and that’s why we respect it. So there you have it. That’s real talk. [laugh] And we’re not kidding. There are a ton of us at Crooked who love talking about the series. If you’re a fan too, please join the Friends of the Pod Discord so you can tell us what you think. Maybe we should ask Crooked to create a Housewives channel. I mean, flips hair. I’m down. 


Priyanka Aribindi: A whole show. A whole show. Why not just get in the Discord. [music break] That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Don’t be a Boebert on Broadway and tell your friends to listen. 


Juanita Tolliver: And if you’re into reading and not just bingeing the Housewives like us. What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Juanita Tolliver. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


[spoken together] And let’s do our housewives taglines. 


Juanita Tolliver: Ooh. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I don’t know what mine would be.


Juanita Tolliver: Well, here’s the thing. Cardi recently did hers and she was like, the only thing I throw harder than a microphone is shade. I was like, oh, okay Cardi B.


Priyanka Aribindi: Get her on Real Housewives. I’d watch that. [music break]


Juanita Tolliver: 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 and our senior producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka. [music break].