Fonda and Tomlin speak out on fair wages for restaurant workers

Sep 15, 2017

Actresses Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda partnered are in Michigan with restaurant worker advocacy groups to promote a ballot initiative raising the minimum wage in Michigan.

Advocates are raising money and collecting signatures to get the measure, which would raise the state's minimum wage gradually to $12 an hour by 2022, on the 2018 ballot. 

Speaking at Ann Arbor's Power Center, Detroit native Tomlin said she worked as a waitress for years to help support her family.

"How do restaurant owners take for granted their workers' wages will be subsidized by the diners' tips, and I dare say their taxes, because they have to get public assistance of all kinds?" Tomlin asked.

Michigan's minimum wage is $8.90, but workers who receive tips earn a base wage of $3.38 per hour.

Tomlin pointed out that 70 percent of tipped restaurant workers are women, who she says are routinely tolerate sexual harassment and other mistreatment by their customers in order to earn tips.