People Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda’s endorsement is the latest high-profile backing of Question D on the Portland ballot. Richard Shotwell/Invision/Associated Press

Actress Jane Fonda is endorsing a proposal to raise Portland’s minimum wage to $18 per hour by 2025 and eliminate the tip wage credit. Fonda plans to join a tele-town hall with voters Thursday night to support Question D.

One Fair Wage Portland, a group advocating for the proposal and affiliated with the national One Fair Wage organization, is advertising the event on Twitter. Fonda will be talking with organizers, workers and restaurant owners.

Fonda’s endorsement is the latest high-profile backing of Question D, which also would ensure app-based ride-hailing and delivery service workers, such as those working for Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, earn the minimum wage.

Last week Hillary Clinton put her support behind it, releasing an ad for One Fair Wage encouraging Portlanders to vote yes.

The Portland Democratic City Committee this week also endorsed Question D, along with Question C, both of which were put on the ballot by the Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America’s Livable Portland campaign. The group also endorsed all eight questions from the Charter Commission.

Mike Sylvester, an outgoing Democratic state representative from Peaks Island and board member at One Fair Wage, said Wednesday that Fonda has been working on wage issues for women for decades, citing a 2017 appearance she made at Georgetown University in which Fonda said she was surprised that many efforts to raise minimum wages do not include tipped workers.


“Think about what that means,” Fonda said at the event. “It means that the employer, very often huge corporations … pay low wages, and they expect the customers – us – to make up the difference so that the employees will be earning a living wage.”

Opponents of Question D say eliminating the tip credit would hurt service industry workers and could lead to increased costs for restaurants, a move toward counter service, automation and other unintended consequences.

They’ve also raised concerns that the inclusion of ride-hailing and delivery service workers could threaten the flexibility of those workers as independent contractors who currently have the ability to work when and how much they want.

“OFW relies on celebrity endorsements like Jane Fonda, who has nothing to do with the restaurant industry or Portland,” Joshua Chaisson, a spokesperson for Restaurant Industry United, which opposes Question D, said in a statement.

“Meanwhile, local celebrities like Mayor Snyder and Becky Rand of the infamous Becky’s Diner have both endorsed “No” votes on Question D in the last 24 hours. Like my holiday shopping, I’ll stick to supporting local.”

Sylvester said the changes proposed in Question D are an issue of justice.

“My French Canadian ancestors protested against the elimination of child labor in mills because they were afraid of change and the owners were telling them that it would be harmful,” Sylvester said in a statement. “I don’t think anyone now thinks that my great grand pépère was on the right side of history. We do the right thing, despite fear of change, because it is just.”

Fonda has participated in other advocacy with One Fair Wage, which is focused on eliminating sub-minimum wages that allow certain categories of workers to earn less than the standard minimum wage. Saru Jayaraman, president of One Fair Wage, said Fonda has worked with the organization since 2017, weighing in on ballot measures in a number of states.

Last year, InStyle reported that Fonda participated in an event advocating for a higher wage for tipped workers and speaking out against sexual harassment of restaurant workers. A page on her website includes links to articles and video from her work on the One Fair Wage campaign in Michigan.

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