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Restaurant workers

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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. 

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Current and former servers at two West Michigan pancake houses have some extra money coming their way.

It’s a result of a federal investigation into unfair labor practices at Sophia’s House of Pancakes in Benton Harbor and Kalamazoo.

The U.S. Department of Labor investigated the two locations and found a number of labor law violations.

They included requiring servers to turn $2 of their hourly tips over to the owners. That’s illegal under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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The restaurant industry is becoming more and more important to Michigan.

In fact, the restaurant industry is one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in Metro Detroit. 

But many entry-level workers have trouble becoming managers and find it difficult to move up to a better position. And some say that this difficulty stems from racial and gender discrimination.  

Stateside’s Renee Gross reported on the story. 

Saru Jayaraman is the director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. She said there’s racial and gender discrimination and segregation related to lack of mobility and glass ceilings faced by these workers.

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There is occupational segregation and inequality in Metro Detroit's restaurants, according to a report by Restaurant Opportunities Center United, a restaurant workers advocacy group.