Thurs AM in Newark: Jane Fonda joins #FightFor15 Policy Briefing

Above: Actress and activist Jane Fonda fighting for fair wages for women in the restaurant industry. Photo: Go Nakamura/New York Daily News

THURS AM: Actress/Political Activist Jane Fonda joins Labor, Community &  Legislative Leaders
– For Policy Briefing on NJ’s Campaign to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour
What:  Breakfast and Policy Briefing on New Jersey’s Fight for $15 – with Jane Fonda
When: Thursday, November 15, 2018, 10am-11:30am
Where: Ackerson Hall, Room 101, 180 University Avenue, Newark NJ
Who:  Actress and Political Activist Jane Fonda; Assemblywomen Shavonda Sumter & Britnee Timberlake; Saru Jayaraman; Restaurant Opportunities Center Action; Analilia Mejia, NJ Working Families Alliance; Economist Paula Voos, professor at Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations; Rutgers University Center for Women and Work, Rutgers University Center for Innovation in Worker Organization

Tomorrow morning, Jane Fonda joins a breakfast and policy briefing on the campaign to raise New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. She’s been a vocal advocate for One Fair Wage, a campaign to raise the minimum wage for all workers by ending the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers across the United States.  NJ Legislative leaders have pledged to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019. Increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour will lift up the wages of over 1.2 million New Jersey workers and their families. Recently, Assemblywomen Timberlake and Sumter introduced Assembly bills to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the course of 5 years and a bill to eliminate the tipped sub-minimum wage over the course of 8 years.

Jane Fonda is good people. Long time ago, there was a nuclear accident outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, at Three Mile Island. The biggest movie out then was The China Syndrome, about a nuclear accident at a plant in California. Jane Fonda played a TV reporter used to lightweight assignments and hungry for better. Visiting a nuclear plant, she witnesses the panic of an engineer, Jack Lemmon, in an emergency shutdown. He sees a vibration that we see means the plant’s corporate owners are covering up safety violations; the plant has a near meltdown. Fonda’s cameraman,  Michael Douglas (also the film’s producer), films it all secretly, the only evidence of disaster to come. Explaining what could happen, an expert in the film says a meltdown could “render an area the size of Pennsylvania uninhabitable.”

The China Syndrome came out March 1979, and was immediately attacked by the nuclear industry as ridiculous. Twelve days later, Three Mile Island happened. In Pennsylvania. Widespread panic. Everybody wanted to talk to Jane Fonda, movie star, anti-nuclear activist. Some of that was real reporting, but there were plenty reporters eager to trip up ’Hanoi Jane on a science question.  She came to the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) to get schooled by Walter Hang, our young brilliant scientist, and C-SPAN’s go-to on nuclear everything. I was senior organizer at NYPIRG.  My job had nothing to do with PIRG’s scientific research, but when Walter was busy she hung with me. She was ferociously bright and curious, ready to put in work, wanting to do right, including by all of us. I know she’s the same on the issue of wages for hard-working people. She has been paid very well for her creative work for decades – and she’s doing some of her best acting in these years. But her concern has never been only about herself. It’s what I respect about her. The people she’s coming for deserve the wattage she’ll bring, and deserve better pay – they work hard and they need it to live here. Jane Fonda’s good people for showing up for them.

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