Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin in Michigan, advocating for fair wage in restaurant industry

Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin in Michigan, advocating for fair wage in restaurant industry

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.

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

Read more:

Jane Fond and Lily Tomlin visit with message on the minimum wage

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