Two-time Oscar winner, producer and activist Jane Fonda will receive the Producers Guild of America’s 2019 Stanley Kramer Award at the 30th annual Producers Guild Awards on Jan. 19 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
Fonda is the second individual, sharing the honor with Sean Penn in 2010, to receive the recognition. The award is usually given to a film, like ‘Get Out’ in 2018 and ‘Loving’ in 2017, and its producers as an achievement or contribution that illuminates and raises public awareness of important social issues.
Jane’s contributions are many, but they include celebrating her 80th birthday last December by raising $1.3 million to lower the teen pregnancy rate and improve the overall health and well-being of young people in the state of Georgia, and the Women's Media Center, which she co-founded with Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan to make women and girls more visible and powerful in media.
This year, Fonda starred in the summer box office hit ‘Book Club’ and was the subject of the HBO documentary ‘Jane Fonda in Five Acts’, chronicling her life and her activism. Next month the fifth season of her comedy series ‘Grace and Frankie’, which she executive produces and stars in, will begin streaming on Netflix.
A few days ago, Fonda and Tomlin joined New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray in a plea to New York State Gov. Cuomo to impose a higher minimum wage for workers who rely on tips in New York, signing on to a letter culminating an extensive time of study on the issue for New York workers.
"You were one of the first elected leaders to heed that call and we were thrilled that you took the lead almost a year ago, by calling on your Department of Labor to begin examining the impact of a subminimum wage on low wage workers – most of whom are women," the letter says. "It has been nearly six months since hearings on the tipped minimum wage concluded in New York, and we are confident that we made a reasoned and rational policy argument for One Fair Wage."
The group in its letter notes that the U.S. House is set to introduce a bill outlawing the subminimum wage in early 2019 and that 13 other states are considering such legislation.
Seven states have successfully raised base wages for tip workers.
"It is time to celebrate the end of the subminimum wage and bring New York in line with states that prioritize workers' needs and rights more than the industry's political influence," the letter to Cuomo says.
In all, 36 people signed the letter, including incoming state Sens. Julia Salazar (D-Brooklyn), Jessica Ramos (D-Queens) and Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx) as well as Assembly members Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) and Ellen Jaffee (D-Rockland County) and Rebecca Seawright (D-Manhattan) were among the elected officials who signed on.
The restaurant industry has argued their workers in many cases make more than the regular minimum wage when tips are factored in, and the fear changes in the present system.
Governor Cuomo’s office announced on Dec. 26 that the state’s minimum wage increases will take effect Dec. 31, raising minimum pay to $15 per hour for New York City’s larger employers.
The increases are part of scheduled, gradual minimum wage hikes established in the state’s 2016-2017 budget. Varying raises are planned throughout the state through 2021.
"With the historic increase in the minimum wage, New York continues to set a national example in the fight for economic justice," Cuomo said in a statement. "In New York, we believe in a fair day's pay for a fair day's work and are proud to be stepping up for hardworking families and making a real difference in the lives of New Yorkers. We won't stop until every New Yorker is paid the fair wages they deserve."
The governor did not address the tipped workers issue this past week, although some expect he may make an announcement in his inaugural address
Last year, Cuomo said the different minimum wages for tipped workers wasn't "working well."
"It hurts immigrants," he said. "Seventy percent of the employees are women. So that's one of the inequities that we're going to be looking at."
Opponents of an increase argue it will lead to a decrease in tips, but most studies point to a greater good for more people overall result with a change in the system to raise the minimum wage for tipped workers.