9/8/17

Michigan Workers Stand Up for One Fair Wage

A coalition seeking to raise Michigan’s minimum wage to $12 per hour and phase out the lower wage for tipped workers announced the launch of a ballot measure campaign to take the issue to voters in the 2018 election. The coalition includes restaurant workers who are members of ROC Michigan, ‘high road’ employer members of RAISE and a coalition of other organizations. The announcement was made in Downtown Detroit in front of the Spirit of Detroit statue.

“As workers will tell you, we are launching this ballot measure because workers in Michigan deserve fair pay for hard work,” said Dr. Alicia Farris, state director of Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan. “The restaurant industry is one of the largest and fastest growing sectors of the Michigan economy, but also the lowest-paying. These are the jobs available to anyone being laid off from other sectors, but they pay the least. It’s time for One Fair Wage for Michigan.”

Today, 70 percent of tipped workers in Michigan who earn $3.38 are women who suffer from three times the poverty rate of other Michiganders, even when you take tips into account. Forty percent are single moms feeding their families on tips. Minnesota, a similar Midwestern state, has One Fair Wage –they require the industry to pay the full minimum wage with tips on top. Minnesota’s restaurant sales per capita, job growth among servers, and rates of tipping are the same or higher as Michigan’s.

“When you earn $3.38 an hour, your wage goes to taxes and you get a paycheck that says $0. You live on your tips, and when you live on your tips, you have to put up with inappropriate customer behavior in order to feed your family in tips,” said Sheena Bland, a restaurant worker from Detroit. “Ninety percent of tipped workers say they’ve experienced unwanted sexual behavior from customers, co-workers, or managers. In fact, the restaurant industry has the highest rates of sexual harassment of any industry. It’s because they’re asking us to ‘show more skin’ or put up with someone grabbing you in order to earn that money in tips. We need a One Fair Wage policy for Michigan.”


MEDIA COVERAGE

09/11/2017 – Crain’s Detroit Business – Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda in Michigan to lend support to One Fair Wage initiative

Excerpt from clip:

“Actresses Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin will be in Michigan this week to lend support to a new ballot campaign aimed at eliminating the state’s two-tiered minimum wage system for tipped employees.

Tomlin, a Detroit native, and Fonda will make appearances at public and private fundraisers hosted by local business people to raise awareness and funds for the initiative, One Fair Wage.

A coalition that includes the labor-related Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan plans to pursue a ballot proposal that would increase Michigan’s minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2022, with tipped workers earning the same by 2024.

In Michigan, bartenders, wait staff and other tipped employees are paid $3.38 per hour, vs. the state’s minimum wage of $8.90 per hour.

The rates reflect minimum wage increases the past two years and a scheduled increase to $3.52 for tipped employees and $9.25 for others on Jan. 1.”

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20170911/news/638731/lily-tomlin-jane-fonda-in-michigan-to-lend-support-to-one-fair-wage

09/12/2017 – 9 & 10 News – Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin push minimum wage hike in Michigan

Text from clip:

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Actresses Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin will be in Michigan this week advocating for and raising money for a 2018 ballot initiative to increase the state’s minimum wage.

Their events come days after the One Fair Wage ballot drive was announced by a group advocating for restaurant workers.

The measure would gradually raise what’s now an $8.90 hourly minimum wage to $12 in 2022. The lower minimum wage for tipped employees would eventually equal the regular minimum wage, too.

Organizers need hundreds of thousands of voter signatures to make the ballot.

Fonda and Tomlin will host public events at Kalamazoo College Tuesday, Wayne State University Thursday and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor Friday. Private events also are scheduled, including fundraisers costing up to $1,000 per ticket.

http://www.9and10news.com/2017/09/12/ap7-141/

09/12/2017 – Mlive – So why are Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda in Michigan to push for higher minimum wage?

Excerpt from clip:

“’This not just an economic issue,’ Fonda said about pay for tipped workers. ‘It’s a gender issue. Most women working for tips are women.’

‘It’s a legalized gender pay gap,’ Jayaraman told the K-College audience.

She added that making the minimum wage the same for all workers, regardless of tips, is ‘not a radical idea. Seven states already do this.’ And contrary to dire warnings of the National Restaurant Association, Jayaraman said, restaurants in those states have continued to flourish and tipped workers are less likely to live in poverty. (The seven states: California, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Nevada and Montana.)

But while the drive to raise wages for tipped workers is important, Fonda said, their advocacy goes beyond that, stressing the ‘parallel effort’ to create a larger progressive agenda.

‘What do we need in Michigan? What kind of state do we want?’ Fonda said. ‘What happens here in Michigan could become a template.’

Those efforts includes listening to Trump voters, Fonda said.

‘I am a Democrat. I have a board of directors (for her nonprofit) that include people who voted for Trump,’ she said. ‘I need to understand why.’”

http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/09/lily_tomlin_jane_fonda_in_mich.html

09/12/2017 – The Detroit News – Tomlin, Fonda fight for higher wages in Mich.

Text from clip:

Correction: This story has been updated to correct the Michigan minimum wage.

Actors Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, stars of the Netflix comedy/drama “Grace and Frankie,” are touring the state promoting the One Fair Wage campaign along with Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.

The national advocacy group fights to raise wages and labor standards for restaurant workers.

The women are speaking at Wayne State University Thursday, Sept. 14, from 1-2 p.m. in the General Lecturers Room 150 at 5054 Anthony Wayne Drive in Detroit.

On Friday, they’ll be at the Power Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of University of Michigan, 121 Fletcher in Ann Arbor, from 1:30-3 p.m.

Tickets are not required for either event. A third event was held Tuesday morning at Kalamazoo College. Visit rocunited.org for more info.

Fonda, Tomlin and the ROC United are trying to drum up support for a statewide ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage of restaurant workers from $8.90 to $12 an hour in 2022.

According to the Associated Press, organizers need hundreds of thousands of signatures from voters to get the initiative on the ballot.

Tomlin is a Detroit native. Both award-winning actresses are known for their political activism.

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2017/09/12/lily-tomlin-jane-fonda-visit-michigan-fight-higher-wages/105541982/

09/12/2017 – WWJ-AM (Radio) – Headline Clip 

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09/12/2017 – WWJ-AM (Radio) – Headlines Clip 

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09/12/2017 – WWJ-AM (Radio) – Headlines Clip 

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09/12/2017 – WXMI-GR (FOX) – Fox 17 News at 4:00pm

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09/12/2017 – WNEM (CBS) – Action News at 5 

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09/12/2017 – WWMT-GR (CBS) – Newschannel 3 Live at 5pm 

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09/12/2017 – WXMI-GR (FOX) – Fox 17 News at 5pm 

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09/12/2017 – WPBN (NBC) – 7&4 News at 6PM Clip 

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09/12/2017 – WWMT-GR (CBS) –  Newschannel 3 Live at 6pm 

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09/12/2017 – WXMI-GR (FOX) – Fox 17 News at 6:00pm Clip 

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09/12/2017 – WXMI – GR (FOX) – Fox 17 News at 10:00pm Clip 

http://my.tvey.es/Qb9a4

09/12/2017 – FOX 17 West Michigan – Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda push for state minimum wage increase in Kalamazoo

Excerpt from clip:

“‘Michigan is very interesting state,’ said Academy-Award winning actress Jane Fonda. ‘It became a key state last November. This is a state that for decades that has been a democratic stronghold. This is the state that was the birthplace of the American Labor movement.’

Fonda reminisced on her early activism days, meeting with Michigan’s auto industry workers decades ago. Now she’s back and educating people on the One Fair Wage ballot initiative that she says will raise the state’s minimum wage from $8.90/hr to $12 by 2022 and for tipped staff employees in the restaurant industry, from $3.38/hr to $12 as well by 2024.

‘It’s not just an economic issue,’ said Fonda. ‘It’s a gender issue because most of the people who work for tips and don’t make ends meet are women.’

According to the One Fair Wage organization, more than 70 percent of tipped restaurant workers in the U.S. are women and in Michigan, 80 percent. Nationally they suffer three times the poverty rate of the rest of the U.S. workforce.”

http://fox17online.com/2017/09/12/lily-tomlin-jane-fonda-push-for-state-minimum-wage-increase-in-kalamazoo/

09/12/2017 – WWMT CBS 3 West Michigan – Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin in Michigan, advocating for fair wage in restaurant industry

Text from clip:

“Two Hollywood legends are fighting for legislation in our state.

Tuesday, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin spoke at Kalmazoo College, advocating for fair wages in the restaurant industry.

Fonda and Tomlin make us laugh with their on-screen humor, and Tuesday they used that to raise awareness about an issue dear to their hearts.

Lily was born in Detroit, and worked in the restaurant business when she was young. She says it’s about time our state lead the way in giving tipped restaurant workers a living wage.

‘We were in that movie together, 9 to 5, where raised a lot of issues of females who work in the offices,’ she said.

The 9-to-5 women are putting their on screen work into a real life initiative.

Along with the restaurant opportunities center, Jane and Lily want to raise the wage for people who work for tips in Michigan.

‘We thought this would be a perfect place to create a template. Using the ballot measure, One Fair Wage, which we will work to get on the ballot next November,’ Fonda said.

The One Fair Wage measure would call for a gradual increase of sub-minimum wage from $3.38 an hour to $12 an hour.

The campaign was launched Tuesday at K-College’s Arcus Center.

‘When you pay people better they stay longer, they provide better food better service, you get better clientele, more income, and you don’t have to keep re-training people, re-hiring people,’ said Saru Jayaraman, with Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.

According to the ROC, people who work in restaurants are twice as likely to rely on food stamps, costing taxpayers money.

‘All companies should pay their workers a living wage. The public shouldn’t subsidize them,’ Fonda said.

Jane and Lily believe, if the wage structure can be changed here in Michigan, a template for success could be used elsewhere.

‘We have to fundamentally, systemically change in this country, if we’re going to be the country we can be proud of and survive,’ Fonda said.

Of course, critics say raising the minimum wage will hurt businesses because they’ll have to cut workers to meet those higher wages.

For information about the One Fair Wage campaign, click here. http://onefairwage.com/

We’re also working on getting our entire one-on-one interview with Jane and Lily up as well.”

http://wwmt.com/news/local/jane-fonda-lily-tomlin-in-michigan-advocating-for-fair-wage-in-restaurant-industry

09/12/2017 – Fox Business Network – Varney & Company 

http://my.tvey.es/q7RNr

09/12/2017 – WNEM 5 – Celebrities join Michigan rally for hike in state’s minimum wage

Text from clip:

“Rallies are planned across the state this week as thousands protest for a higher minimum wage in Michigan, and they’re getting some celebrity support.

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, the stars of Netflix’s Grace and Frankie are in Michigan this week backing a ballot campaign to eliminate the two-tiered minimum wage system for tipped employees.

‘I think that’s more than fair with the way everything is right now,’ Dakotta Clark said.

Clark is thrilled to hear about an effort to raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour. It’s called the One Fair Wage ballot drive.

The measure, if approved, would gradually raise what’s now an $8.90 hourly minimum wage to $12 in 2022. The lower minimum wage for tipped employees would eventually equal the regular minimum wage, too.

‘I’m at a factory driving a forklift. I think I need more than $9.90 an hour,’ Clark said.

The minimum wage in Michigan is $8.90 per hour. In January, that figure will rise to $9.25 per hour.

Is that enough? Well, it depends who you ask.

‘Every time they arbitrarily bump the minimum wage up people at the beginning end lose their job or lose hours. So, they’re not ahead,’ one person said.

‘We deserve it. More than that. Twelve dollars isn’t going to bring you up to standards with what’s going on right now,’ another resident said.

‘I think the minimum wage should be higher but not that big of a jump the first step,’ said another resident.

Meanwhile, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce is sounding off about the ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage.

In a statement, the department said it opposes any further increase to the state’s minimum wage:

‘The Michigan Chamber opposes any further increase in the state’s minimum wage, especially given that the state’s minimum wage was increased in September of 2014 and the wage is set to increase again in January of 2018. If Michigan were to further increase its minimum wage, it would result in our state having one of the highest minimum wage rates in the country, thereby making Michigan uncompetitive in the race for jobs. Michigan already has the highest minimum wage in the region, outpacing Indiana ($7.25), Illinois ($8.25), Ohio ($8.15) and Wisconsin ($7.25).’

However, Clark said that hourly rate isn’t high enough. He hopes to see $12 an hour in his paycheck sooner than later.

‘That would mean a better life for my daughter and my family so I would definitely want that,’ he said.

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin will hold public events at Kalamazoo College, Wayne State University and the University of Michigan.”

http://www.wnem.com/story/36349585/celebrities-join-michigan-rally-for-hike-in-states-minimum-wage

09/13/2017 – WJBK-DET (FOX) – FOX 2 News 6 PM

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09/13/2017 – WEYI (NBC) – NBC 25 News Today Clip

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09/13/2017 – WDIV-DET (NBC) – Local 4 News at 5

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09/13/2017 – WXMI – GR (FOX) – FOX 17 Morning News Clip

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09/13/2017 – WDIV-DET (NBC) – Live in the D Clip

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09/13/2017 – WXMI-GR (FOX) – Fox 17 Morning News 5 Things Clips 

http://my.tvey.es/Eb2p6

09/13/2017 – FOX 17 West Michigan – Morning Buzz: 5 things to know for September 13

Excerpt from clip:

A couple of big stars are using their fame to fight for wages in Michigan.

Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda are touring the state, campaigning to increase the state’s minimum wage. They made their first stop at Kalamazoo College on Tuesday.

The “Grace and Frankie” co-starts are launching an initiative called the “One Fair Wage” which will raise the state’s minimum from $8.90 to $12 an hour by 2022, and increase the minimum wage for tipped staff in the restaurant industry from $3.38 an hour to $20 as well by 2024.

They’re looking to collect 350,000 signatures in order to get this on the ballot for the 2018 mid-term elections.

Their next stop is in Ann Arbor.

http://fox17online.com/2017/09/13/morning-buzz-5-things-to-know-for-september-13-2/

09/13/2017 – ABC 7 – Woman walking rescue puppy in Detroit surprised by Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin

Imagine you are walking a cute puppy when, only none other than Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin stop to admire it.

That’s what happened to Kristina Millman-Rinaldi in Detroit today.  She posted on Facebook that the duet approached her and her rescue dog and stopped to admire. Millman-Rinaldi is the Executive Director of Dog Rescue.

The stars of “Grace and Frankie” have been touring Michigan promoting higher minimum wages in the state. They’re teaming up with One Fair Wage to bring the issue to the ballot in 2018.

Fonda and Tomlin have already hit the west side of the state and will be making appearances Thursday at Wayne State University and University of Michigan on Friday.  They will also join restaurant workers in Detroit to canvass and help educate residents on the need to higher wages.

Tomlin, a Detroit-native and Cass Tech High School graduate, on Wednesday will accept the Detroit Homecoming award and key to the city during the 4th annual Detroit homecoming event at the Michigan Central Train Station.

WXYZ has partnered with Crain’s Detroit business to livestream the Detroit Homecoming ceremony tonight starting at 6 p.m.

http://www.wxyz.com/news/woman-walking-rescue-puppy-in-detroit-surprised-by-jane-fonda-lily-tomlin

09/14/2017 – WJR-AM (Radio)

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09/14/2017 – WJR-AM (Radio) 

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09/14/2017 – WXYZ-DET (ABC) – 7 Action News at 5

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09/14/2017 – WXYZ-DET (ABC) – The Now Detroit Clip 

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09/14/2017 – WJBK-DET (FOX) – Fox 2 News 5 PM

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09/14/2017 – FOX 2 News: Live at 11 AM

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09/14/2017 – Mlive – Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda visiting Ann Arbor, Detroit to call for higher wages

Text from clip:

ANN ARBOR, MI – As part of their tour of Michigan for the One Fair Wage campaign, actresses Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda are making public appearances in Detroit and Ann Arbor.

They’ll be stopping through the Motor City on Thursday, Sept. 14, and then Tree Town on Friday, Sept. 15, according to Progress Michigan, a group helping to coordinate the visits.

They’re calling for raising the minimum wage in Michigan and bringing parity between the full minimum wage and the wage that tipped workers receive. The current full minimum and tipped minimum wages are $8.90 and $3.38, respectively.

Progress Michigan argues that’s far below what is needed to maintain an adequate quality of life.

The One Fair Wage campaign aims to put the issue on the ballot in 2018. The goal is to raise Michigan’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2022, with tipped workers earning the same by 2024.

Tomlin and Fonda are expected to participate in events on the campuses of Wayne State University and University of Michigan.

According to Progress Michigan, they also will join restaurant workers in downtown Detroit to canvass and educate residents.

The event at Wayne State takes place from 1-2 p.m. Thursday in Room 150 of the general lectures building, 5045 Anthony Wayne Drive.

The public lecture at UM takes place from 1-3:30 p.m. Friday at the Power Center, 121 Fletcher St.

Both events are free and open to the public.

The actresses, along with U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, also are attending a private lunch at Miss Kim, a Zingerman’s restaurant at 415 N. Fifth Ave., in Ann Arbor from noon to 1 p.m. Friday, with a $500-ticket VIP reception before. General admission tickets are $200.

Tomlin, 78, was born in Detroit and is a 1957 graduate of Cass Tech High School.

Fonda, 79, has some connections to Ann Arbor, having been married to UM graduate Tom Hayden, a well-known political and anti-war activist and former president of Students for a Democratic Society, from 1973 to 1990. Fonda visited Ann Arbor a number of times before and after Hayden were married.

http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2017/09/lily_tomlin_jane_fonda_visitin.html

09/14/2017 – WJBK-DET (FOX) – Fox 2 News 10 PM 

http://my.tvey.es/p6W8Y

09/14/2017 – The Detroit News – Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin advocate for higher Mich. wages

Excerpt from clip:

Detroit — Actress and native Detroiter Lily Tomlin knows what it’s like to be an underpaid, under-appreciated waitress.

“The only time I ever got a 20 percent tip was when a customer dropped a glass of water on my big toe and broke it,” Tomlin said. “… In a moment of extreme vulnerability, I even thanked him for the big tip. He actually had the nerve to say, ‘You’re welcome.’”

At the time, Tomlin’s husband was injured and unable to work, which made her the breadwinner.

“It fell to me to pay the bills,” Tomlin said, “but it’s hard to pay the bills when you don’t make a living wage.”

Tomlin was joined by actress Jane Fonda Thursday afternoon to advocate for raising the minimum wage to what Tomlin calls “a living wage.”

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2017/09/14/jane-fonda-lily-tomlin-advocate-higher-mich-wages/105608714/

09/14/2017 – Detroit Free Press – Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin bring the fight for living wage to Detroit and Ann Arbor

Excerpt from clip:

Speaking in character as a beleaguered waitress struggling to support her family, Lily Tomlin told a packed auditorium in Detroit, “Once, under a plate, a mean-spirited diner had the sense of humor to leave me a silver dollar pancake.”

Said Tomlin with perfect timing, “I got a chuckle out of that and I had a quick snack, but it did not pay the bills.”

The laughter was infectious, and so was the spirit of activism as Tomlin and her longtime friend and co-star, Jane Fonda, appeared together at Wayne State University on Thursday as part of a campaign for a living wage.

The Emmy-nominated actors from Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie” – who also teamed up for “9 to 5,” the 1980 classic about working women – were there for a gathering organized by Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.

Their goal? To spread the word about ROC United’s One Fair Wage campaign to get an initiative on the 2018 ballot that would boost Michigan’s minimum wage from $8.90 per hour to $12 over the course of several years.

http://ux.freep.com/story/entertainment/2017/09/14/jane-fonda-and-lily-tomlin-living-wage-detroit-ann-arbor-grace-frankie-netflix-labor/667526001/

09/15/2017 – WWJ-AM (Radio) – Quick Clip on Radio

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09/15/2017 – MyTV 20 Detroit – 7 Action News This Morning Clip

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09/15/2017 – Mlive/Ann Arbor News – Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda get laughs, push for higher wages in Ann Arbor

Excerpt from clip:

ANN ARBOR, MI – Lily Tomlin had the audience inside the Power Center laughing from the second she introduced herself as Judith Beasley, a middle-aged, career waitress with a Southern accent.

“Almost all of my life, I’ve struggled to make ends meet,” she said, addressing the crowd on Friday, Sept. 15. “Then, just when I come close to making ends meet, it seems like someone moved the ends.”

Her tales of earning $3.38 per hour, the physical strain on the body from working on her feet all day and encounters with sexual harassment from patrons were far from a joking matter, though, as she used the character to illustrate the need for a higher minimum wage.

She was joined by noted actress and activist Jane Fonda, concluding a week-long One Fair Wage campaign, calling for raising the minimum wage in Michigan and bringing parity between the full minimum wage and the wage that tipped workers receive. The current full minimum and tipped minimum wages are $8.90 and $3.38, respectively.

http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2017/09/lily_tomlin_jane_fonda_push_fo.html

09/15/2017 – WJBK-DET (FOX) – FOX 2 News Morning 

http://my.tvey.es/p8K4E

09/17/2017 – The Michigan Daily – Fonda, Tomlin promote One Fair Wage at Power Center

Text from clip:

Academy Award-winning actresses Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin drew an audience of about 300 students, staff and local residents Friday afternoon to the Power Center. The celebrity activists, accompanied by Saru Jayaraman — co-founder of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, an organization that aims to improve restaurant industry standards nationwide — discussed economic inequality and the minimum wage’s effects on women in the restaurant industry.

Prior to the event, the Daily sat down with Fonda and Tomlin to discuss what the two have been highlighting thus far on their statewide tour.

“Ann Arbor made sense as a stop for us for us — it’s a college town, a progressive city and the food industry employs many college-aged women who we hope to advocate for here,” Tomlin said. “We need college students to be a part of this platform, this change. It’s very important.”

Fonda echoed Tomlin’s sentiments regarding Ann Arbor being an appropriate locale to discuss this issue.

“It’s important for Lily and I to bring our message to a place like Ann Arbor, where we can hope, even at a minimum, to help make contact with people, convince them to talk about this issue with their friends, collect signatures for the ballot, go to town halls and help develop a people’s platform that will help talk about all of the issues facing this country and this state,” Fonda said.

Fonda and Tomlin both notably appeared in “9 to 5” which premiered in 1980.

Lilly Fink Shapiro, the Sustainable Food Systems coordinator at the University, opened the event, and noted there are 60 faculty and staff members working together at the University to explore issues related to food production and distribution, as well as the policies that shape the emergence of different food system models globally.

“The University of Michigan is on the map for our world-class research, curricular and interdisciplinary study of sustainable food systems,” Shapiro said. “We are one of the few Universities in the country to offer both an undergraduate minor, a graduate certificate in sustainable food systems, and we have five tenure-track faculty who are a part of a cluster hire to teach and conduct research in this growing field.”

Tomlin was the first speaker to take the stage: She performed a monologue as Judith Beasley — a character she portrayed in sketches throughout her career on Saturday Night Live. Tomlin explained through her monologue that Beasley represents the millions of waitresses, like herself, “who have worked hard all their lives and yet cat can barely eke out a living.”

Since the first minimum wage law was passed in 1938, Tomlin explained, restaurant workers’ wages had gone from zero dollars per hour to $2.13 per hour at the federal level and $3.38 dollars per hour in Michigan — a raise of $3 over 80 years.

“And no, this is not fake news,” said Tomlin, acting the part of Beasley. “We restaurant workers are facing the greatest level of economic inequality since the Gilded Age and 70 percent of tip workers who earn that measly 3.38 an hour are — drumroll, wait for it — women.”

Tomlin described an overworked waitress — speed-walking with multiple plates up and down her arms, sometimes with carpal tunnel syndrome in her elbows.

Still acting the part of Beasley, Tomlin said, she became the primary breadwinner in her household when her husband became injured; she needed to provide a good home for her children.

“What was I to do?” she said. “Working as a waitress was the only skillset I had. I hope no one snickered at that phrase, ‘skillset,’ because waiting on tables — to do it right — requires one’s personal best. Yes indeed, with low wages, we still have high aspirations.”

Speaking as herself, Tomlin used the term “breastaurant” — referring to restaurants that employ a female waiting staff. She pointed out an irony of women surrounded by food in their jobs, and yet dependent on food stamps to support themselves and their families.

Speaking as herself, Tomlin noted she was born and raised in Detroit; her parents were both blue collar workers – her father, a factory worker, and her mother, a nurse’s aide.

“I know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck and not have any savings,” she said. “I went into food service very early.”

Tomlin said she got a job as an usher at the Avalon Theater in Detroit; she worked bringing food trays to hospital patients and later she worked at a Howard Johnson’s in New York City.

In her opening remarks, Fonda noted she and Tomlin advocated for female worker’s rights in their 1980 comedy “9 to 5” — a film in which three female workers attempt to get even with their misogynistic boss.

Fonda explained she, Tomlin and Jayaraman are working to get the One Fair Wage measure on the ballot for the midterm election in November 2018; 350,000 signatures are needed for the petition. According to Fonda, such act would raise the minimum wage to $12 in Michigan. It would also phase out the two-tiered wage system in which different groups of workers receive different pays and set the same wage for tip and non-tip workers.

“It’s seems ridiculous that we’re applauding for $12 minimum wage, doesn’t it?” Fonda said. “I mean it’s got to eventually go much higher than that. What on Earth does the owner (of a restaurant) think when he, or she — but they’re mostly ‘he’s’ —knows that his workers, and they’re mostly women in Michigan — 80 percent of restaurant workers are female and they have three times the poverty level as other workers, and they’re heavily dependent on food stamps and other social services — what does an owner think when he knows that his workers are having to work two jobs, maybe even three, just to make ends meet?”

Fonda said she, Tomlin and Jayaraman are in Michigan because for decades it has been a steadfast Democratic stronghold, it was the birthplace of the American labor movement and it has the largest Black-majority city in the country, among other attributes.

“We’re here because we think Michigan can become a template for the rest of the country,” Fonda said.

According to Fonda, the National Restaurant Association, which represents more than 300,000 restaurants in the United States, is very against the One Fair Wage mission and the ROC; it also favors the two-tiered system because it guarantees big restaurant chains can make a lot of at the expense of waiters.

Fonda explained seven states, including California and Minnesota, have only one-tier systems — where everyone earns the same minimum wage — and people working in restaurants still get tips.

Jayaraman noted the restaurant industry is the largest and fastest growing sector of the U.S. economy, comprising more than 12 million workers.

“Despite the size of this industry, despite its growth, despite the fact that most of us have worked in it, despite the fact that we actually, just last year, made world history becoming the first nation on Earth that is now spending more money on food bought outside of the home, rather than food bought inside the home — despite all of those things, it continues to be the absolute lowest paying wage job in the United States,” Jayaraman said.

With regard to the actual restaurant setting, Jayaraman said she has talked to female lawyers and doctors who have faced sexual discrimination in their current jobs, but never said anything because it was never as bad as that which they experienced in the restaurant industry. Jayaraman said the restaurant industry is setting an extremely low standard for what is acceptable for women.

“In those seven states (that have already enacted the One Fair Wage), not only is there higher job growth, higher restaurant sales per capita, even higher rates of tipping … people still tip at the same rate or higher even when workers get an actual wage,” she said.

At the end of the event, Fonda called for attendees to spread awareness of getting the One Fair Wage measure on the ballot by knocking on doors and canvassing. She said different groups — women’s group, LGBTQ groups and environmental groups, among them — need to come together and fight for their rights.

Fonda explained she spoke at the University in the past with her then-husband Tom Hayden, who was an alum and former Daily editor-in-chief.

“This is different than the last time I used to speak here … it’s different, because we don’t have time anymore,” she said. “We can’t just say, ‘Well in four years, we’ll get someone new.’ We can’t because of climate, we’re running out of time. We have to do this like our lives depend on it because we do.”

LSA freshman Alexis Marschall is studying women’s studies and sociology. Marschall said she attended the event because she is a fan of Fonda and Tomlin.

“I am also a liberal student, wanting to help out in any way I can, and this seminar was very helpful in motivating others to get into the community and help, so I wanted to come to see how I could help, see what they could say,” Marschall said.

Marschall said she thinks the speakers did a good job shedding light on the issue of wage equality and encouraging attendees to help in any way they can.

“Wage equality is a huge issue that needs to be presented,” she said. “There are a lot of hidden connotations behind the restaurant industry, and what’s really important about this was it doesn’t take a lot to help, but every little hand that is helping collaborates … to make the big change.”

Also in attendance was Ferndale resident Torri Buback, who came with two friends with whom she is working on a web series about wage inequality.

“A few years ago I decided that I was living all wrong, I (thought) there’s got to be something more, what is it?” Buback said. “I realized I was letting society mold me into who it wanted me to be … I decided to figure out where that was affecting me in each, every single area.”

Buback said production for the web series got pushed back, and so in the interlude, she worked as a waitress, where she said she did not realize what she was getting herself into.

“Everything they described, I saw it with my own eyes, but I saw it with, I feel like, renewed eyes because I knew what it was like to be a professional and this was choice that I was making for my soul to grow,” she said. “I decided that I was going to take everything that I could out of that for my personal (life).”

https://www.michigandaily.com/section/campus-life/jane-fonda-and-lily-tomlin-discuss-economic-inequality-restaurant-industry