Nataki Rhodes worked for many years as a server in Chicago and is now a staff member of ROC-Chicago where she is responsible for working with community groups on One Fair Wage campaigns.
Wardell Harvey works as a server in New Orleans. As a father, has had to supplement his income as a server by working as a barber.
Andrea Velasquez has worked as a bartender and server in Detroit. When she has reported incidents of sexual harassment on the job has been told to ignore it and not complain.
Saru Jayaraman is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United) and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. After 9/11, together with displaced World Trade Center workers, she co-founded ROC in New York, which has organized restaurant workers to win workplace justice campaigns, conduct research and policy work, partner with responsible restaurants, and launch cooperatively-owned restaurants.
Saru Jayaramanis a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was profiled in the New York Times “Public Lives” section in 2005, and was named one of Crain’s “40 Under 40” in 2008. She has written two books: Behind the Kitchen Door, and Forked: A New Standard for American Dining. She is a lecturer at the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy.
Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin
Lily Tomlin was born in Detroit, and worked in the restaurant business when she was young. She says it's about time Michigan leads the way in giving tipped restaurant workers a living wage. "Jane and I are here, because twelve million people work in the restaurant industry, and eighty percent of them are women. They're tipped but paid at a very low rate, and it’s just not fair. It’s time to do something about it." According to Jane Fonda, "If you don’t know a problem exists, you’re ignorant, and that’s not good but it’s ignorance. If you know a problem exists and you don’t do anything about it, then you’re part of the problem. Once I found out the problems that women workers, whether it’s in an office or in a restaurant, are faced with, I had to do something about it, which is what brought me to Michigan."
Mark Bittman is a former Op Ed writer for the NY Times covering food policy, agriculture, health, the environment. His body of work spans all media with print and web columns, videos, interviews, TV appearances and shows. He’s a regular on the Today Show and has hosted four TV series, including Showtime’s Emmy Award-winning climate change documentary, Years of Living Dangerously. His How to Cook Everything books, with one million copies in print, are a mainstay of the modern kitchen.