tv PBS News Hour PBS October 12, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: democrats are plotting a new course on the jobs front after president obama's plan was defeated last night. good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight, kwame holman wraps up today's congressional action, including work on three free trade agreements and a measure aimed at pressing china to let its currency rise. >> ifill: then, political editor david chalian recaps last night's republican primary debate in new hampshire. >> woodruff: we examine today's supreme court arguments over routine strip searches with marcia coyle of the "national law journal." >> ifill: paul solman reports on
a georgia state program that allows the unemployed to get job experience and collect benefits at the same time. knowing that you're still receiving the unemployment check can bring great peace of mind to someone who wants to try something new. >> woodruff: jeffrey brown looks at the state of the auto industry and its unions as labor and the big three carmakers reach contract agreements. >> ifill: and margaret warner talks to novelist alaa el aswany about his reflections on egypt's revolution. >> millions of egyptians are suffering and they just try to be treated in a fair way and that was not the case and then at some point they must do something. >> ifill: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> i mean, where would we be without small businesses? >> we need small businesses. >> they're the ones that help drive growth. >> like electricians, mechanics,
carpenters. >> they strengthen our communities. >> every year, chevron spends billions with small businesses. that goes right to the heart of local communities, providing jobs, keeping people at work. they depend on us. >> the economy depends on them. >> and we depend on them. and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
>> ifill: the struggle to put americans back to work dominated the day in congress from president obama's jobs bill, to free trade, to china's currency. "newshour" congressional correspondent kwame holman has the story. >> reporter: the legislative future of the president's jobs plan was as murky today as the rain clouds over the capitol. last night, senate republicans blocked the democrats' version of the $450 billion bill saying it would not work, and might make things worse. the president vowed today to keep pushing, as he addressed a latino heritage event in washington. >> we will not take no for an answer. we will keep organizing and we will keep pressuring and we will keep voting until this congress finally meets its responsibilities and actually does something to put people back to work and improve the economy.
>> reporter: but senate democrats began calling for action on separate parts of the obama proposal, from payroll tax cuts to public works spending. and, majority leader harry reid challenged republicans. >> even though they have supported each piece of the american jobs act in the past, they blocked this job-creating legislation in the hopes of doing political damage to the president. but we've not given up on creating jobs in america. and we will not let republican political games stand between congress and its most important duty: to put 14 million americans back to work. >> reporter: in turn, the senate's republican leader mitch mcconnell charged the president and his party were never serious about the bill. >> the white house has made it clear that the president is praying for gridlock. he's actually hoping for gridlock so he has somebody besides himself to point the finger at next november. i'd like to repeat my call to the president to put the political playbook aside and
work with us on the kind of bipartisan job creating legislation that the american people truly want. >> reporter: in fact, there was bipartisan unity today on another economic package-- new trade agreements with south korea, colombia, and panama. supporters said they'd boost u.s. exports by $13 billion. the deals date from president george w. bush's administration, but they'd been delayed by a fight over helping workers who lose their jobs to foreign competition. lawmakers on both sides touted the trade deals today as job u.s. job creators. the national association of manufacturers said higher exports will lead to 100,000 new jobs. the white house went further, estimating several hundred thousand. but some labor groups countered the deals will worsen the trade deficit and actually cost 200,000 jobs. meanwhile, the senate passed a china currency bill last night, and backers claimed it, too, could create jobs.
it would impose tariffs on china for manipulating its currency to give its goods unfair advantage. but the bill faced uncertain prospects in the house. speaker john boehner: >> given the volatility in the world markets, given the uncertainty about the world economy, for the congress of the united states to be taking this step at this moment in time poses a very severe risk of a trade war and unintended consequences that could come as a result. >> reporter: the white house, too, has responded warily to the china currency bill. officials said today they're discussing their concerns with lawmakers. >> woodruff: still to come on the "newshour": the g.o.p. debate in new hampshire; arguments over strip searches at the supreme court; jobs for the unemployed in georgia; labor agreements for auto workers and an egyptian writer. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: the u.s. stepped up a diplomatic assault on iran
today, over an alleged plot to kill the saudi ambassador to washington. two iranian men were indicted yesterday. u.s. officials said they'd been directed by elements in the iranian government. today, secretary of state hillary clinton condemned iran in unusually strong terms. >> this plot-- very fortunately disrupted by the excellent work of our law enforcement and intelligence professionals-- was a flagrant violation of international and u.s. law and a dangerous escalation of the iranian government's long- standing use of political violence and sponsorship of terrorism. >> sreenivasan: iran charged the u.s. allegations are just a childish game. but the u.s. treasury department imposed sanctions on an iranian airline that allegedly aids the special operations force linked to the plot. and the state department issued a terror alert for americans worldwide to be on their guard. a nigerian man pleaded guilty
today to trying to blow up a u.s. airliner over detroit on christmas day, 2009. umar farouk abdulmutallab had tried to set off explosives hidden in his underwear. he delivered a five-minute statement in court today, and said the bomb was a "blessed weapon to save the lives of innocent muslims." abdulmutallab is 25 years old. he faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. in iraq, a string of bombings struck at police targets across baghdad. at least 25 people were killed, and dozens more were wounded. in two of the attacks, suicide bombers tried to ram cars through police station gates. one was in a neighborhood that is a stronghold of shi-ite cleric moqtada al-sadr. access to it is tightly restricted by army checkpoints. the government of myanmar began releasing more than 6,300 prisoners today, after years of harsh military rule. it was the latest in a series of reforms in the country once known as burma. at least 155 political detainees were included, but hundreds more remained behind bars.
we have a report narrated by john sparks of "independent television news." >> reporter: it's called the insane prison, burma's largest correctional facility and today it played host to a very unusual event. the gates were opened and several hundred inmates passed through into the welcoming arms of friends and relatives. (cheers and applause) many were elderly and frail, their release a reward for good conduct, said the government. included in their number: 120 political prisoners, dissidents who have dared to criticize the military-backed regimes that have long ruled this land. >> we interrupt our regular programing to bring you this breaking news. >> reporter: the amnesty was announced with some fanfare.
over although this footage didn't make it on to tell television, burma's most popular comedian swamped by well wishers after his release. he's called zaginaw, or tweezers in english. the government was a frequent target of his most a savage humor. "will you go back to "entertainment." asked one? "of course" he said. he was banned from performing in 2006 and given a 35-year sentence forringhe regime's relief efforts after a cyclone in 2008. yet his release, along with a handful of other government critics has been greeted warmly by some, including burma's de facto opposition leader aung san suu kyi. >> reporter: burma has a new government led by this man, he's promised a series of democratic
reform bus human rights groups say today's move is simply not good enough. the crowds gathered in the afternoon sun to welcome their kin and welcome a change, a small chink of light in a country long covered in shadow. >> sreenivasan: the u.s. has said all political detainees must be released before it considers lifting political and economic sanctions against myanmar. the capital city of pennsylvania harrisburg filed for bankruptcy today. despite the mayor's objection that only she has the legal authority to take that step, the city council approved the declaration last night. harrisburg is more than $450 million in debt. the city's filing said it faces imminent jeopardy from lawsuits over a debt-ridden trash incinerator. a budget dispute in topeka, kansas took a dramatic turn tuesday night. the city council voted to repeal the local law against domestic violence. officials hope to force surrounding shawnee county to continue prosecuting misdemeanor cases of household violence inside the city. the county district attorney has said he'll focus on felony
cases, instead, due to budget cuts. on wall street today, stocks rose after the european commission proposed new steps to bolster banks. the dow jones industrial average gained 102 points to close above 11,518. the nasdaq rose more than 21 points to close at 2,604. sporadic outages in blackberry messaging and e-mail service spread to the united states and canada today. and, interruptions in service were in a third day in europe, asia, latin america and africa. research in motion-- the canadian company that makes blackberrys-- said the outages began when a critical piece of its backup system failed. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. >> ifill: and to the republican presidential campaign. eight candidates gathered around a table at dartmouth college in new hampshire last night for the latest in a series of field- defining debates. "newshour" political editor david chalian was there and he joins us now to take us through what happened and why it matters.
it seemed like herman cain, the godfather pizza past c.e.o. suddenly was in the middle of the table, everybody was taking aim at him and let's take a look before i ask you about this at what that looked like last night. >> i must admit that simple answers are always very helpful but often times inadequate. >> how many people here are for a sales tax in new hampshire? raise your hand? there you go, herman, that's how many votes you'll get new hampshire. >> one thing i would say is when you take the 999 plan and you turn it upside down i think the devil's in the details. (laughter) >> i think it's a catchy phrase. in fact, i thought it was the price of a pizza when i first heard it. (laughter) >> 999 will pass and it's not the price of a pizza because it has been well studied and well developed. it starts with, unlike your proposals, throwing out the current tax code. continuing to pivot off the current tax code is not going to boost this economy. this is why we developed 999.
9% corporate business flat tax, 9% personal income flat tax and 9% national sales tax and it will pass, senator, because the american people want it to pass. >> ifill: david, that's a lot of scrutiny all of a sudden for a guy who wasn't taken seriously until recently. >> in his explanation of this 999 plan-- he's been talking about it for months-- you see why he has surged. he's got a winning, charming personality. but think about how popular it is for people inside the republican primary electorate to americans more broadly, too, when someone says "let's talk out the entire tax code. let's toss out the entire system it's too complicated." >> ifill: that's why people liked flat tax back in the day. >> right. so on style you can see why his style and explaining this plan has fueled this rise that he has in the polls right now. on substance, though, it's going to come in for more and more of a critique. you sigh independent analysts taking a look at this plan. you see conservative tax analysts taking a look at this and rejecting it because it
would, indeed, raise taxes on lower income people, lower taxes for the wealthy and sort of do away with that progressive tax system many americans, though complicated, have gotten used to. so the substance is where he's going to have a tougher time going forward because the scrutiny is only going to increase as he does better in the race. >> ifill: mitt romney, who's perceived to be the front-runner by every poll, he came under attack again last night, it was an old complaint, his old achilles heel, which was the health care plan he passed while he was governor of massachusetts. let's take a look. >> governor romney, your chief economic advisor, glen hubbard, who you know well, he said that romneycare was obamacare and romneycare has driven the cost of small business insurance premiums up by 14% over the national average in massachusetts. so my question for you would be how would you respond to his criticism of your signature
legislative achievement? >> i'm proud of what we were able to accomplish. i'll tell you this, though. we have the lowest number of kids as a percentage uninsured of any state in america. you have to highest. >> i'm still speaking... >> i'm still speaking. i'm still speaking. we have less than 1% of our kids that are uninsured. you have a million kids uninsured in texas. a million kids. >> ifill: of course, that was governor rick perry of texas who was taking on mitt romney in this interesting candidate-on-candidate duel they had as part of the debate. >> what governor romney did there is political jujitsu. the quote/unquote romneycare plan in massachusetts is anathema because of its mandate. he turned the tables and went after governor perry to try to compare his texas health care record to governor romney's massachusetts health care record and it was probably the only time we saw direct engagement,
gwen, between the former front-runner rick perry and the current front-runner mitt romney. mostly mitt romney has ignored rick perry last night and rick perry tended to fade from the scene a little bit. that's a new dynamic this race. many of the last debates we saw them go head to head on a lot of issues. this time mitt romney tried to stay above the fray. >> ifill: here's another issue we expected to hear more about and didn't until last night. this is for corporate bailouts. we heard the candidates engage each other on it. it's a toxic issue which doesn't seem to be going away. >> my experience tells me that we were on precipice and we could have had a complete meltdown of our entire financial system wiping out all the savings of the american people. so action had to be taken. was it perfect? no. was it well-implementd? not particularly. were there some institutions that should not have been bailed out? absolutely. should they have used the found bail out general motors and chysler? no, that was the wrong source for that funding. but this approach of saying, look, we're going to have to preserve our currency and
maintain america and our financial system is essential. >> i happen to agree with governor romney. the way it was administerd is where it got off track. they were discretionary in which institutions they were going to save rather than apply it equitably which is what most of us thought was going to be done. >> ifill: one thing we know is true is that tarp is not popular among republican voters but a lot of folks on that stage supported it. >> the four leading contenders supported it and rick santorum made that point. i think that's going to prove to be a difficult moment for mitt romney and herman cain, the two leaders as they go forward. remember, tarp, the bank bailouts of 2008, that gave birth to the tea party movement. that's exactly what the tea party started rebelled against and so when you have your leading contenders in the republican race defending that action that president bush and paulson took, that's going to be a tricky moment for the candidates and the electorate to get on the same page. >> ifill: let's get outside of the debate hall. you spent the week up in new hampshire talking to actual voters, david. were they asking about... what
are they saying? >> it's not too long before they start weighing in with their votes, gwen, we're only three months away. >> ifill: never too soon. >> i went to a couple town halls where miles per hour was speaking. obviously economy drives a lot of these questions but there's not a voter conversation up there that doesn't involve immigration. health care does come up especially for mitt romney in these town halls. and, of course, government spending. that also is a big question. i will say this, gwen, the dynamic of this race leaving that debate is that mitt romney is the front-runner even though because of his positions on health care, because of his positions on tarp he is not in the same place as the electorate right now and this is a very odd moment inside the race. he's the front-runner but he caps out at about 25%, 30%, and there's no enthusiasm for him. yet nobody has totally coalesce it had rest of the party to dethrone him from that position. >> ifill: he got the endorsement of chris christie in new jersey yesterday. seems to be a signal to conservative voters here i really am okay. why isn't this over for him yet?
>> it's not over because we're moving into a new phase of the campaign. we have not seen any television ads yet. rick perry is about to start spending the $15 million in his bank account to define himself, to define mitt romney. we'll see what these outside groups do. we're about to go into a whole new phase of voter communication. i will say this after being on the trail with mitt romney this week, he is, indeed, a far better, for more disciplined candidate than he was four years ago and i think that's why we still see him emerging from each one of these debates as, well, mitt romney is still the front-runner, nobody's knocked him off yet. we'll see what happens in the new phase. >> ifill: do we know when there's going to be a new hampshire primary? >> they have not set settled on that date but we're hoping it's not december. >> ifill: we'll wait to see. david chalian, thanks again. >> thank you. >> woodruff: and we turn next to the supreme court where justices examined this question today: do routine jail house strip- searches for people accused of minor offenses violate the constitution?
that issue was raised in a case pitting privacy rights against security concerns. marcia coyle of the "national law journal" was in the courtroom, and joins us now. marcia, good to have you back with us. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: till us about 40 this case and how it ended up before the high courts. >> a man riding in his s.u.v. with his family was stopped by a state police officer. the officer found an outstanding but erroneous outdated warrant that he hadn't paid a fine related to another vehicle stop. he was arrested, taken to the burlington county jail where he was told to strip, open his mouth, lift his tongue, lift his genitals and he was put in jail for six days. he was then transferred to the essex county jail where he went through another strip search upon intake into that jail except they added a squat and a cough to ensure he had no internal contraband. he was released the next day
when his wife was finally able to convince people that he had paid his fine. he filed a civil rights lawsuit claiming that the jail, both jail's strip search policies violated the fourth amendment which, as you know, protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures. he lost in the lower federal appellate court and he brought the case to the supreme court. >> woodruff: and key to this case marcia, as i understand it, is what he was arrested for was considered a minor offense. >> yes, it was. >> woodruff: what arguments did the lawyers for mr. ... >> florence. >> woodruff: what did they say in >> well, mr. florence's attorney told the justices he felt there ought to be a rule that says you have to have... you jail officials have to have reasonable suspicion of contraband or some sort of risk posed by the arrestee if you want to conduct a close-up inspection of the arrestee's genital or body cavity.
he said if you're doing a visual inspection say ten feet away you don't need reasonable suspicion but if you're getting that close to somebody there's an intrusion on the person's personal dignity and individual integrity. that was the rule he sought and that prompted a whole series of questions from the justices about line drawing. okay, well, if you're ten feet away and you don't need reasonable suspicion what about five feet? what about two feet? other justices asked well, should we be making a distinction between a minor offense and a major offense in order to do this kind of a search? and how often does a jail official really know it's clear that it's a minor offense? others raised the question, well you know, maybe the distinction should be between the type of search. a simple strip search or a body cavity search. so they were not too happy with the line drawing that he
suggested. >> woodruff: so his answers to those questions didn't seem to satisfy the justices? >> no. and those distinctions, according to his opponent who was arguing on behalf of the jails as well as a lawyer for the obama administration.... >> couric: the justice department has come in on the side of the new jersey county. >> right, the county jails. those two lawyers argued that those types of distinctions are exactly why you need a blanket rule that says if you're going to release someone into the prison's general population you should strip search them because the risks of contraband getting into that population or even the risk to the arrestee's safety is so great you don't want jail officials to be stopping and thinking "well, is this a major offense? a minor offense? how far ar we away from the arrestee?" >> woodruff: how did the justices respond to that? >> the justices, too, had concerns. as justice sonia sotomayor said
there's an increasing number of people being arrested today for minor offenses and that raises concerns about how traumatizing these searches are even arrest teens, for example, for breaking curfews. justice alito said what if you're someone who has a lot of traffic tickets because you were caught by a speed camera. does that person have to undergo a body cavity search? and the lawyers for the government and the jail said yes. you need this blanket rule. you can't risk making distinctions. >> woodruff: so this will come down to-- if the justices choose-- to their drawing a line, where they draw that line? if they choose to draw the line at all? >> exactly. they may not choose. the lawyers for the government and the jail said the court very often has deferred to the discretion of prison officials when it comes to the health and safety of the prison population and they may just decide that's
what they have to do in this case. on the other hand, they do have concerns about this major/minor offense distinction and if they want to draw a line it may be very difficult. >> woodruff: the jail argument again being that when someone is... whatever the offense is, if we're putting them with the general prison population we want to be sure they're not carrying something on theirern? >> right, exactly. and there was skepticism among the justices when they pressed the lawyers for the government and the jails about any kind of data, any kind of studies that show at least for people who are arrested for minor offenses that they come in with contra ban. justice kennedy said the evidence they had presented was skimpy. >> woodruff: huh. so maybe that tells us something and maybe it doesn't. >> maybe it doesn't. this is one of these classic cases, judy, where a question seems very simple and direct but the justices are drawn into real balancing act here in order to answer the question.
>> and i read that justice alito come from that district close to where this... >> yes, the case came out of the third circuit, the court he actually sat on. one other thing before i forget, judy, because i always forget to say this, anybody who's interested in hearing these arguments that we discussed or reading the transcript can do so now. the supreme court puts the audio of the arguments up on its web site on the friday after every argument so this friday people can go up and listen to the argument we're discussing now. >> woodruff: very exciting. >> it's great. >> woodruff: marcia coyle, thank you very much for being here. >> my pleasure. >> ifill: now, a state jobs program attracting national attention. as we heard earlier, the president's jobs bill was blocked in the senate, and democrats are hoping to pass individual parts of the legislation instead. one provision with bipartisan support is modeled on a job training program in georgia. newshour economics correspondent
paul solman examines how that program is working, as part of his regular reporting: "making sense of financial news." >> when i lost my job, it destroyed me. it destroyed me. >> reporter: a georgia department of labor instructor, orienting the newly jobless in metro atlanta. part group therapy, part info session for finding work, including one program that's been in the news. >> georgia works, everyone, georgia works. >> reporter: if you're raising your hands at home, maybe it's because the program got prime time attention in president obama's jobs speech last month. >> this jobs plan builds on a program in georgia, that several republican leaders have highlighted, where people who collect unemployment insurance participate in temporary work as a way to build their skills while they look for a permanent job. >> reporter: the state-sponsored program matches job seekers with firms
looking to hire and willing to promise training. you work as many as 24 hours a week for up to eight weeks and are paid by unemployment insurance, not the company. the state gives you a $240 stipend for expenses. some 30,000 of georgia's half a million unemployed have taken part so far. georgia works has gotten bipartisan support in washington but it was a democrat, former georgia labor commissioner mike thurmond, who started georgia works in 2003. he left in 2010, proud of the program. >> while i was there georgia works was our primary strategy of dealing with unemployment, and it paid huge dividends. it worked for 60% of those men and women who found jobs >> reporter: six in ten had found a job somewhere within 90 days. but of course the layoffs have just kept on coming thanks to the great recession. >> it was difficult, kind of shocking.
>> reporter: graphic designer lis cap lost her job earlier this year and showed up at her orientation session at the local labor department. >> i joked i was going to unemployment class. >> reporter: but there she found out about georgia works. soon after, she ran into sosh howell, who operates appedon, a mobile application startup from his atlanta condo. he agreed to teach her how to make apps-- an internship subsidized by unemployment. >> knowing that you're still receiving the unemployment check can bring great peace of mind to someone who wants to try something new. say you took a job in a new field and it didn't work out, then you may not be eligible for unemployment anymore. >> reporter: sosh howell says so far georgia works is working >> we are in an industry where and as a small company we can't afford to train someone from scratch. georgia works makes training someone in this new field affordable. >> reporter: does it trouble you at all that you're getting free labor?
>> there are costs for us. there is my time, my team's time. so when we are training her. it is not something that is free for us. >> reporter: program ends after eight weeks, at which point lis hopes to get hired full-time. howell is noncommital, but impressed. >> eight weeks is not enough to train someone for a new profession. it is enough for us to get to know lis and see what other skills and qualities she has outside of the technical requirements. >> you deal with samples, blood, hair, urine, whatever, all day long in and out. >> reporter: jacquelyn willis- walker worked 27 years as a medical tech and forensic pathologist. after her layoff in 2008, she too was told of georgia works. >> so when i thought about it, i said, you know, "i'm not that proficient at microsoft word, excel, powerpoint, so i'm kind of stuck. here's an opportunity to learn some more skills that i can take anywhere."
>> reporter: after completing georgia works at georgia state university, willis-walker was hired full time at the school's educational opportunity center. >> with our georgia works program you have to be right now currently unemployed and receiving unemployment benefits. >> reporter: she's now the university's point person for georgia works. of 60 program participants, she says, 30 have been hired >> we do have a lot of administrative positions. we have parking attendants, we have a lab assistants positions, things that people may have from somewhere else that won't require a lot of retraining but they will have to learn the system at georgia state or they will have to learn the college system. >> reporter: how much do they pay? >> if you're hired in administrative, they can range anywhere from $12,000-$15,000 based on your experience. if you have an extensive background, you know, there are ranges maybe $30,000-$40,000. there's a wider range. >> reporter: $30-40,000 a year. to liberal economist eileen appelbaum, that's just the problem: most georgia works jobs teach you little, pay you less. >> when we look at the 70% of
jobs into which people were placed, we can see that these are jobs that typically are the kind of low-wage jobs that low- wage temp agencies help employers fill without any kind of training whatsoever. >> reporter: hired two years ago after a georgia works tryout, doreen kincaid is an admin staffer at georgia state. previous job? project manager at a large bank. >> i was making probably about $74,000-$75,000. i'm making $32,000 now. less than half of what i was accustomed to making. but my main point here was to get back in the workforce. i wanted to work. >> reporter: how hard of an >> reporter: it's fair to say current state labor commissioner mark butler is not touting the program. >> it seems to have a lot more success for people in clerical jobs, but i mean you start getting some more technical aspects like a lot of the computer jobs. you're talking training that's going to take realistically at a minimum a six-month period, more
likely anywhere from 12-18 months. and so you really cannot fit that into an eight-week program. >> reporter: butler's main gripe: a 2010 expansion of the program before he took over to include all jobless georgians, not just those on unemployment insurance. the stipend was also increased to $600. enrollment soared six fold to over 18,000 but butler scaled back the program dramatically. today just 21 people are taking part. >> the spending had gotten out of control. and basically a program that had been budgeted for one year for $6 million, spent it in less than six months and was not sustainable. the results had started to slide. we weren't seeing as much positive results. record-keeping was spotty at best. >> reporter: moreover, while his predecessor said over half of participants got jobs, butler says since 2003, only 18% have been
hired by the companies that trained them. in 2010 the number was down to 10%. worse still, many firms didn't train people at all. consider ryan savage. after 12 years working in i.t. at the same company, he was cut loose early last year. >> my heart just sunk. i was so upset. i was immediately thinking about family, my kids, like how am i going to pay for the house and our bills. >> reporter: savage finally found a firm willing to link up with georgia works. but it didn't pan out. >> not once did i ever see a hint of training. i think the company got to a point where they were taking advantage of the free labor. >> they take them for free and then they have no obligation at the end to hire them or to give them any skills. >> reporter: economist appelbaum claims companies can easily take advantage of program participants. >> if they need a warm body for a couple of weeks somewhere then
they can do it this way. >> reporter: on the last day of his georgia works internship, savage was told the company no longer planned to fill the position. >> i felt like i had wasted my time. i could have spent a lot of those weeks looking for work, getting out there on the road, job hunting. >> reporter: but given a state unemployment rate that's doubled since the program's inception, savage thinks georgia works is worth the effort, if only for getting a foot in the door. mike thurmond agrees. >> it restores an individual, it gives them a chance to be a part of something positive again. and you know it's not perfect, it's not a panacea but it works. why would anyone be opposed to a person wanting to volunteer to do something that might increase their chances of getting a job? how could anyone be against that? >> reporter: whether or not its adopted on a larger scale, georgia works has already been copied in several states trying
to increase the odds that their jobless will find work. >> woodruff: next, the detroit auto industry and its unions come to terms amid a profoundly different economic climate. jeffrey brown has our story. >> brown: chrysler was the last of detroit's big three automakers to reach agreement with the united auto workers. and its deal, like the others, reflects a new era: these are the first contracts reached since general motors and chrysler emerged from bankruptcy protection two years ago. general holliefield is a u.a.w. vice president. he says the union was willing to forego yearly pay raises.
>> chrysler is on the comeback, the smaller of the three. we never went out to injure either one of the companies, but certainly to help them maintain a competitive model, to bring work here to the united states, it's all about putting americans back to work. they saved our jobs for us and we want to do everything we can to repay them. >> brown: in the end, the talks produced a tentative four-year deal that will create 2100 new jobs; give raises to entry-level workers and provide a $3500 bonus for signing the agreement. chrysler will also invest $4.5 billion in its u.s. plants by 2015 the u.a.w. already worked out similar deals with g.m. and ford. but chrysler workers are getting less generous packages, including smaller signing bonuses, because chrysler now owned by fiat isn't as financially healthy as its rivals. u.a.w. president bob king: >> chrysler is the least financially robust at this time, they're on the comeback we're very optimistic about chrysler, but they have more debt than the other companies more interest rates than the other companies so we structured the agreement to help them pay that off. >> brown: the deal must still be approved by chrysler's 26,000
union employees. g.m. workers ratified their deal last month. ford workers are still voting. for more on the new auto labor contracts, we're joined by david shepardson, who reports on the automotive industry for the "detroit news." and micheline maynard, senior editor of "changing gears," a public media project about the industrial midwest. when we think of this as a new era as compare these contracts to what we saw before the meltdown, what's the key thing that jumps out at you? what's changed? >> this is basically a new era in which the way the detroit three are going to be competitive is by hiring more of these second-tier workers that were making $14.50 an hour. they face competition from the transplants, companies like volkswagen which just opened a plant in tennessee paying $14.50 an hour and they cannot get at
the bargaining table and the companies came in and said we need maintain the break even point. in the case of g.m., labor cost are only going up by 1% but it's also about trying to give the workers more of a stake in quality improvements. in the chrysler plant, for example, if you get perfect attendance you get a $300 bonus. and even the signing bonus, the $3,500, half of that is contingent on meeting financial stability goals next year. so the days of across-the-board pay raises regardless of performance are gone and these are workers who will make less significantly than the former workers who came in at $28. >> brown: and micheline maynard, in the case of chrysler they took a much harder line, right? >> they did, and you have to remember when the bankruptcies and bailouts happened two years ago chrysler probably would have liquidated if it hadn't been for
fiat. the government stepped in and said we do a package bankruptcy for you and they turned it over to management control of fiat which is basically in italy. so chrysler was the most seriously troubled detroit automaker. it's very interesting to look at this contract because they are getting significantly less in the signing bonuses which i think people watching the show can substitute pay raise for signing bonuses. they're getting the money in bonuss is so it isn't baked into their wages. >> brown: in fact, the new c.e.o. came from fiat, i guess he took a pretty strong stand. he wrote a strong letter to the u.a.w. president. >> he did. and the letter was written by the c.e.o. of fiat to bob king, the president of the u.a.w. bob king is a relatively new president of the u.a.w. and the letter was leaked. the letter was made public and in it he basically said you promised me that we would work... i'm paraphrasing.
you promised me we'd work together, you wouldn't treat chrysler as the weak sister but we didn't get an agreement and we both failed. i think it's fine to say that in a board room but to publish that letter instantly does too two things, it makes mr. king... puts him on the defensive and makes his members want to come to defend him and secondly it makes the president look like he doesn't understand the way americans do bargaining. >> brown: so dave shepardson, what was the bottom line from the union perspective here. what did they feel like they had to get to call a successful negotiation? >> in one word it was about jobs. between the three companies that u.a.w. won commitments to give up 20,000 jobs. in the case of chrysler they're committing to bring two new small cars to plants in michigan and illinois and the u.a.w. has
seen the membership fall from 1.5 million to 37,000 over the last 30 years and this is really about saying we want the companies to be successful but we want them to bring work back. for example president obama is going to a g.m. plant on friday that was scheduled to close as a result of bankruptcy and instead of winning concessions from the u.a.w. they decided to build the small car in the united states rather than korea. the union is eager to see as many jobs kept in the united states and that's a way to sell this to their members that, yes, we're not getting... a pay increase across the board, yes in case of chrysler they're getting a smaller signing bonus than the others but these are companies as mickey pointed out in the case of g.m. and chrysler that it would not have been able to go on without government bailouts in 2008 and so i think
this is part of selling the deal and basically ensuring there's an auto industry from the next generation of u.a.w. workers. >> brown: when you think about u.a.w. selling it to the workers there has been some resistance, do you sense resistance out there among workers to these contracts? >> well, my project changing gears actually went to delta township, michigan, which is outside of lancing and talked to g.m. workers who turned down the contract. the g.m. contracted passed by 2-1, and if it's going to be popular, with w workers these contracts should be passing by 75%, 80%. the fact that the g.m. contract which was up first passed by only 2-1 was a danger signal. now we're hearing that at least one ford local has turned down the ford agreement and the ford workers, i think think feel that i can they deserve more. their company didn't take a federal bailout and it really
isn't in bad shape at all. chrysler i was thinking back to 2007 when we had a spreadsheet and we were watching locals vote on the contract and big locals turned the contract down at the very beginning of the voting and it barely squeaked by. if i'm a chrysler worker and i live next door to a g.m. and ford worker and i hear what they're getting in signing bonuses and i'm only going to get a thousand dollars i'm going to wonder do i want to vote for this? >> brown: these contracts still have a lot of influence beyond the big three in the region and throughout the industry, right? >> yes, absolutely. and obviously foreign automakers like toyota and honda pay a certain amount of wages in places like georgetown, kentucky marysville, ohio, because they have u.a.w. members nearby. when you get deeper into places like texas where toyota has a big plant they're only paying
about $14, $15 an hour which is what the entry level wages are now for the new u.a.w. workers. so the wages for u.a.w. members up north are kind of keeping wages up north higher but the lower wablgs down south have kept these entry level wages lower. >> brown: mickey maynard and david shepardson, thank you both very much. >> pleasure. >> thanks, jeff. >> ifill: finally tonight, an egyptian novelist's perspective on his country's revolution. margaret warner talked with alaa al aswany on her recent reporting trip to cairo, before this weekend's sectarian clashes. >> reporter: in a quiet corner of cairo, dr. sway sway sway still maintains a part-time dental practice. staled way back as the demands of his other pursuit, writing,
have increased. in 2002 he published his first novel "the yacoubian building" charting the lives of people in one cairo apartment house during hosni mubarak's dictatorship. aswany quickly became the arab world's best-selling writer and social conscience in his homeland. foreign translations, a movie and other books followed. aswany spent much of the egyptian uprising in tahrir square making common cause with his countrymen. we spoke recently in his office just south of the iconic square. >> >> thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> warner: i want to start by asking about your novel "the yacoubian building" and its connection to today. it's senate this once gorgeous building, now dilapidated, all these characters scheming, gaming the system to get by. how much are the conditions in that novel and the way people related to one another do you think portray some of the conditions that led to the
uprising >> absolutely. we usually write fiction when the difference between what happens and what should happen is very big and that's why i was motivated and inspired to write because i felt many egyptians are suffering and they just try to be treated in a fair way and that was not the case and then at some point they must do something. so i was... (inaudible). >> warner: because there was such desperation in their lives, wasn't there? >> yes, because i'm a novelist, not a politician and i'm not a political analyst so as a novelist i try to feelhe people much more than trying to make analytical. so i felt all the time that these were never lost. that the people are really close to what we call revolutionary
moment. a moment when the country absolutely ready for the change and it just waits if for spark. >> warner: the character in the novel, he's a political fixture. he says egyptians are the easiest people in the world to rule. the moment you take power they submit to you, they grovel to you, and you can do what you want with them. now, did you feel you were describing an ingredient in egyptian character and if so why did they finally rise up? >> novelist isen n a way an actor. >> warner: an act snor >> yes, because i don't say my real opinion in the novel. so this is the logic of somebody who is corrupt politician related to mubarak regime. they must just the dictatorship, the oppression and the cause they're committing against the egyptian people. so i try all the time to use their own logic, not mine.
this is answer sent what he said. it's absolutely nonsense and the evidence is... you see so this is not true. but they were trying all the time to convince themselves and other people (inaudible). >> warner: now the novel is setting a which you willly in the very early '90s. i think there's reference to the first gulf war. mubarak had only been in power eight or nine years. so the conditions you're describing pre-date even mubarak don't they? >> yes, but i think in the 1990... it was the moex of truth for the egyptian people. for the first time they saw clearly what kind of regime is empowering egypt. >> warner: you're talking about repression, torture? >> yes, corruption, political corruption, everything. so from 1990 to 2011 there was always and accumulation of the
problems but there were no new problems so when i described that society in 1990 it is the same... they had... the society had the same elements led to the revolution. >> warner: you were in tahrir square during the uprising. what do you think the egyptian people learned about themselves during those days and is it lasting? >> yes, of course. i was really inspired. i... sometimes during the revolution i had my doubts that that was really... or i am leaving a dream. the egyptians with who i lived this revolution were very different from the egyptians i lived with before. they have only the same faces. >> warner: what you saw were a different egyptian people than now? >> absolutely. they were not frustrated before
the resignation of mubarak so we're not even sure that we could make it, you see. but everybody said that i got back my dignity or i feel i have my dignity back. is. >> woodruff: do you think, though, that all those years of living in this system in which really corruption of every kind not just bribery and nepotism but even in relationships between people did something to work the egyptian soul or character? >> you see we have... i am a dentist. i am a writer and dentist. it's very important for you as a doctor to know what is the disease and if you try to cure the complications without knowing the disease you could do... you could kill the patient the disease in egypt is the dictatorship and all the negative aspects in egypt were symptoms and complications of the disease.
>> woodruff: and finally, as writer, as a novelist, what role do you see for yourself going forward in this transformation, the creation of the new egypt? >> i don't think that literature is a tool to change the situation. literature is top change the people, not situation. to change us. we learn through literature to be a more understanding causes. accordingly through literature we definitely become much bette human beings who enables us to change the situation. >> warner: thank you so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: democrats tried to plot a new course on the jobs front after president obama's plan was defeated last night. secretary of state clinton condemned iran over an alleged
plot to kill the saudi ambassador to washington. she said it constitutes a dangerous escalation. and a nigerian man pleaded guilty to trying to blow up a u.s airliner over detroit on christmas day, 2009. there's a follow-up to our georgia story online, plus much more. hari sreenivasan explains. hari? >> sreenivasan: see a graphic snapshot of the georgia works program on paul's "making sense" page. on our "health" page, explore the ethical implications when big pharmaceutical companies and universities team up to put new drugs on the market. and find out why leaves turn colors every autumn. there's an explanation on our "science" page. all that and more is on our web site: newshour.pbs.org. gwen? >> ifill: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. on thursday, we'll cover congressional hearings about imposing sanctions on iran in the wake of the foiled plot to assassinate saudi arabia's ambassador. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. thank you and good night.
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