The Uncertain Hour from Marketplace

About the Program

Jerry Vasquez always dreamed of working for himself. So when he saw a notice in the PennySaver advertising janitorial franchises, he decided to go all in. He bought a franchise janitorial business with a company called Jan-Pro. Things started out alright. His clients liked him. They’d leave him notes, some with smiley faces drawn in.

But, he says, he soon realized he was earning less than minimum wage doing a really dirty job. He could barely get by on the rates negotiated by Jan-Pro. He was in debt to the company and he started feeling like had little control over a business that he owned. Jerry had wanted his own business — and on paper, he did — but it felt like something entirely different.

As Jerry would soon find out, some of Jan-Pro’s other franchisees felt similarly — they were stuck. So Jerry decided it was time to fight back. He and some of his fellow Jan-Pro franchisees sued the company, saying they’d been misclassified as independent contractors when they should have been employees (entitled to minimum wage, over time, and other protections). But the argument over what defines an employee has a long and strange legal history. We'll dive in and explore the origins of the federal minimum wage, why lawmakers wrote the law as broadly as they did, whom it applied to and whom it excluded. And we’ll tell you about this odd but powerful phrase, “to suffer or permit to work,” that’s at the heart of lawsuits like Jerry’s.


One hour

Show Clock

Download Clock

ContentDepot File Transfer

Preview audio available: August 11, 2021
Promo spot available: August 11, 2021
Program rundown available: August 23, 2021
Date content will be uploaded: August 23, 2021


Broadcast Window

August 25, 2021 - October 31, 2021

Broadcast Rights

Available to all APM affiliates; subscription to the APM Celebrates package is not required for carriage. Affiliate stations may carry this program multiple times before November 1, 2021. The program must be carried in its entirety. No excerpting is permitted. Simulcast streaming rights are available for this program. Prior to carrying this program, stations must contact their American Public Media Station Relations Representative.

Krissy Clark

Krissy Clark is the host and senior correspondent for Marketplace's award-winning podcast The Uncertain Hour, a show that explains our weird, complicated, and often unequal economy – and why some people get ahead, and some get left behind. Each season Clark and team dive into obscure policies and forgotten histories to explain why America is like it is – from welfare reform, to the drug war, to why it’s so much harder to get a “good job” right now. The Uncertain Hour goes deep to tell us how we got here and what it all means.

Throughout her career in journalism, Krissy has been recognized for her work—she is a Gracie Award winner, a nominee for a James Beard Award, and was a Stanford Knight Journalism Fellow. She was on a team of reporters who received an Investigative Reporters and Editors medal and a national Scripps Howard Award, and she shares a First Prize in Investigative Reporting from the National Awards for Education Reporting. She was a finalist for two Loeb Awards, the Livingston Award for Journalists Under 35, and two Third Coast Awards.

Questions about carrying APM Celebrates & Specials or your affiliation?