Today we’ll talk about some big news on the #MeToo front — Congress approved a new bill that guarantees legal recourse in courts to employees who have experienced sexual harassment at work. We’ll also talk about the latest in the fight for student athlete rights and how rising rents play into inflation. We’ll end with some Make Me Smiles, including zoo fundraisers and an update on our favorite Zoom cat-astrophe!
Here’s everything we talked about on the show today:
- Inflation: Four reasons your rent is going up from The Washington Post
- Congress approves sex harassment bill in #MeToo milestone from AP News
- NLRB petitioned to classify USC, UCLA athletes as employees from the Los Angeles Times
- This Valentine’s Day, Consider A Gift That’s Warm, Furry Or Crawly. Or Has Fins. from Forbes
- Judge Roy Ferguson’s tweet
Make Me Smart February 10, 2022 transcript
Note: Marketplace podcasts are meant to be heard, with emphasis, tone and audio elements a transcript can’t capture. Transcripts are generated using a combination of automated software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting it.
Marielle Segarra: Three, two.
Meghan McCarty Carino: There it is. Right on cue. I am Meghan McCarty Carino, welcome back to Make Me Smart where we make today make sense.
Marielle Segarra: And I’m Marielle Segarra. Thanks for joining us. It is Hollowed Out Shell Thursday. So before we do the news, how are you doing?
Meghan McCarty Carino: You know, my shell is pretty warm and toasty today. It’s bright and sunny in LA. I think it’s 80 degrees where I am. So it’s actually I mean, I’m not a warm weather happiness person. But it’s it is kind of hard to not let it affect your mood in winter when we have a day like this. So how’s yours?
Marielle Segarra: Yeah, good. I mean, I was gonna say actually here in New York, it’s been a weirdly nice day, almost 50 degrees, it’s sunny. And I’ve got my vacation coming up. I’m going to Puerto Rico, like I was telling you yesterday and you know, I’m going to visitar mi familia y practicar mi español y nadar en mar. Yeah, I’m gonna do all that.
Meghan McCarty Carino: Sounds great.
Marielle Segarra: Um, so…
Meghan McCarty Carino: Not very hollowed out today.
Marielle Segarra No, we’re not. But before I can get to that vacation, we have to do the news. Right. So I’m thinking we should talk about inflation.
Meghan McCarty Carino I feel like we have to. Yeah, yeah.
Marielle Segarra: Well, so today, the numbers came out. And year over year, inflation jumped by seven and a half percent, which is more than was expected and was the biggest jump since 1982.
Meghan McCarty Carino: Wow. Yeah. And when you kind of dig into the numbers, you know, of what drove this, this big jump. You know, earlier last year, we were talking a lot about cars and microchips and all that stuff. I guess. Last month, it was really groceries, utilities, and rent. And unfortunately, rent is not really something that can, you know, be fixed with supply chains as much as some of the other stuff that we talk about. So I fear this is going to be kind of a longer term trend. And as to what is driving rents to go up so quickly. You know, we talk a lot on this show and on marketplace about kind of a fundamental supply and demand imbalance in housing that has been driving the the housing market crazy. That is obviously a factor. But in terms of recently, what is driving rents up, I guess, new household formation, you know, a lot of people maybe moved in with their parents or roommates or didn’t move out from roommates during the darkest days of the pandemic. And then, you know, new households were formed kind of all at once. Last year, people moving back to cities, and the housing market, obviously, like housing prices going up, cuts out a lot of people from buying houses who might have bought houses, they stay in the rental market that puts pressure on rents. Rents go up for that. So yeah, rents are up, and I guess they’re expected to continue to go up because they sort of lag increases in housing prices by a few months generally. So that’s probably gonna stick around.
Marielle Segarra: Yeah. So and yeah, we we will have covered this on Marketplace on the broadcast shows, too, so there’ll be a lot more info on that.
Meghan McCarty Carino: Lots of info on today’s show.
Marielle Segarra: Yeah. Well, I also something else that caught my eye today was the news of this bill that passed Congress that has to do with sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace. So it’s been in the works for five years, and it kind of grew out of the Me Too movement. It basically bars companies from putting forced arbitration clauses into their workers contracts when it comes to sexual harassment and assault. So, up until now, often, people would find that if they were, for instance, harassed at work, and then they wanted to sue, they couldn’t because there was fine print in their contract that says, you have to go through this private secretive arbitration process instead. And maybe they got a monetary settlement, but the person who harassed them kept their job and it was never brought out into the open. And they didn’t get the justice that they were seeking. And so now those will no longer be allowed. And also, this is retroactive. So I guess that that people who have been harassed or assaulted at work in the past and weren’t able to sue will now be able to do that. And I guess there are two things that stuck out to me about it. One, it was a bipartisan effort it passed the House.
Meghan McCarty Carino: Amazing.
Marielle Segarra: Yeah, it passed the House with I believe, 335 to 97 votes. And everyone from you know, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Cory Booker to Lindsey Graham and Josh Hawley supported it. So and it’s rare to get all those folks on the same page about anything.
Meghan McCarty Carino Understatement.
Marielle Segarra: Yeah. And I also watched some of the videos of the testimonies of women to the House Judiciary Committee of what they’d gone through. One of them was Eliza Dushku, the actress who I remember from Bring it on, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but she’s been in a bunch of TV shows and movies, and she was harassed by her coworker on set. And she describes what he said to her and the campaign of harassment, it’s just really vile stuff, and it was caught on tape. But these things were never able to be made public. Until I think it was reported by the media, but it was – she was forced into arbitration. She wasn’t able to bring a lawsuit against him. And she just talks about how that affected her and her career. And I think it’s really worth watching some of those videos to understand the context here.
Meghan McCarty Carino: That’s it, what an incredible, you know, I mean, just to have this finally happen after five years, I know, there have been so many efforts to change laws, since the Me Too movement that have really structurally, you know, kind of keep things keep the status quo. Non-disclosure agreements are another big one that a lot of, you know, state laws are targeting. I know California has laws about, you know, had banned forced arbitration and a lot of states looking at non disclosure agreements too, so.
Marielle Segarra: It’s good to see.
Meghan McCarty Carino: Yeah, well, I have an item also, that’s kind of labor law related and actually happened a little bit earlier this week, but it kind of, I didn’t want it to fall through the cracks. And I think it’s really interesting, and that is that earlier this week, this college athlete advocacy group, the National College Players Association, which is led by Ramogi Huma, a former UCLA football player, they filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board against the NCAA, the PAC 12 conference, and USC and UCLA saying that college athletes in three certain sports, which are the big moneymakers should be employees. And this kind of follows a memo that came out from the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board last year, basically saying, “We think college athletes should be employees.” So it’s kind of teeing up here a case with the National Labor Relations Board, which rules on issues relating to unionization, collective action, that kind of stuff. That could really make a pretty big difference in college athletics, and has the potential to you know, I mean, have national ramifications. Kind of unwind the amateur college athletics system that the NCAA has built and maintained for so long. At a time when, you know, obviously, college athletics, it makes so much money for the NCAA for the schools. And the players have kind of, you know, been in this position where they’re not seeing much of it. Of course, last year, we had some incremental steps in that direction. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of college athletes against the NCAA, that the NCAA couldn’t cap educational compensation that it was kind of basically, you know, antitrust you know, using kind of the the logic of antitrust that the NCAA is not immune to and that colleges could offer educational compensation that they wanted based on you know, the the players they they were recruiting and then another big one. The NCAA last year changed kind of in response to a number of states passing laws, that college athletes should have the right to their name image and likeness, rights and be able to profit from those. So things like you know, appearing in a video game, but they should be able to make money from that or if they’re, you know, their social media influencer, they should be able to get sponsorships and be able to make money from you know, their, their own image and name and likeness, which seems like pretty basic stuff. But yeah, just until last year, yeah, NCAA was raking it in and college athletes received none of it.
Marielle Segarra: And before now, yeah, so right, I was gonna ask before now, athletes could not profit from it, but that say the NCAA could from right from their own image and being in a video game, for instance?
Meghan McCarty Carino: Yeah, yeah, there was the case in California that that kind of, you know, legally probed some of these issues. Well yeah, that their video games where these athletes appeared. And the NCAA was basically making money off of selling their, their likeness, and the athletes themselves were not. And now they can now they can make money from that stuff. And they can, if they are, you know, if they are determined by the National Labor Relations Board to be employees, they could collectively bargain and demand, you know, collectively demand salaries commensurate to their kind of market value. So it’s a big deal.
Marielle Segarra: You know, for a hollowed out shell Thursday, these two news items, not so hollowed out.
Meghan McCarty Carino: I know, we’re totally going against the grain here.
Marielle Segarra: Charlton, I think it’s time to smile. Yeah. There we go. Um, okay, so I’m gonna go first there is, I don’t know if you’ve seen these campaigns by zoos for Valentine’s Day. They sometimes – I actually went to one of these in Philly ones where they let you, you know, they have like, oh, here are two sea turtles that are in love with each other. And like, here are their names and they try to come up with cute marketing campaigns about you know why you should visit the zoo on Valentine’s Day. There’s this trend, it seems that zoos are letting you name certain animals after your significant other and, but specifically things like roaches, if my partner was like, “Hey, I named a roach after you.” I would not be thrilled.
Meghan McCarty Carino: No. Yeah. I mean, unless that partner maybe was an entomologist. They might find it charming.
Marielle Segarra: That would be kind of sweet, huh?
Meghan McCarty Carino: Yeah.
Marielle Segarra: All right. What’s yours.
Meghan McCarty Carino: Well, okay, so I just thought that I should take this opportunity. I was reminded today on Twitter have a very important pandemic moment in workplace Zoom history. So the hold on I’m just pulling it up – Judge Roy Ferguson of Texas tweeted today: “Surprise in honor and celebration of the one year anniversary or is it the first birthday of lawyer cat I hereby give you for the first time publicly the actual end of the lawyer cat hearing. Enjoy.” And he posted a longer video of the now-famous lawyer cat video, which I feel like it’s you know, now that it’s been a year I hadn’t seen it in long enough that watching it again. I am just able to absolutely belly laugh all over again because it is just a piece of art. It’s so hilarious. It’s so good. The sort of scared looking cat oh my God, I’m not a cat –
Marielle Segarra: The face is finally revealed. I’m looking at that I’m watching it right now. And like you finally see the man who was behind the cat.
Meghan McCarty Carino: What you get to see in this new unedited footage from the lawyer cat hearing. Yeah, you get to see when he actually succeeds in removing the filter. And he is sort of just sheepishly there with his assistant who he blamed this all on because I get he was using his assistants computer, and unbeknownst to him, which had this filter and …
Marielle Segarra: Oh, my God. I hope the assistant didn’t get fired after that. I mean, it gave us so much joy in such a dark time.
Meghan McCarty Carino: So much joy. So yeah. Alright, that is it for us today. I’ll be back tomorrow with Kimberly for economics on tap and our first YouTube livestream of the year. You can join us at 3:30 Pacific Time, 6:30 Eastern time at our YouTube channel that is Marketplace APM and you won’t miss it if you subscribe to our channel and turn on notifications, like and subscribe.
Marielle Segarra: Yes please. Okay, keep sending us your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org Or leave us a voice message at 508-UB-SMART. Just waiting. There we go Make Me Smart is produced by Marissa Cabrera with help from Marque Green. Today’s episode was engineered by Charlton Thorp.
Meghan McCarty Carino: Bridget Bodnar is the senior producer and the director of On Demand is Donna Tam.
Marielle Segarra: So like just between us who do you want to name a cockroach after?
Meghan McCarty Carino: I have some ideas. Keep it to myself.
Marielle Segarra: Tell me later.
Meghan McCarty Carino: Yeah.
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