LANSING – Job providers from across Michigan's economic landscape announced May 1 the Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition, a partnership of business leaders and their companies who have come together with the goal of working with public policy makers in Lansing to update Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The coalition also includes chambers of commerce an associations around the state.
"Rebuilding Michigan's economy means building Michigan's reputation as a state known for treating all people fairly, recognizing talent, rewarding hard work and a shared commitment to doing what it takes to strengthen our economy and attract jobs," said Jim Murray, President of AT&T Michigan.
Under ELCRA, it is illegal to subject people to differential treatment based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status or marital status, and the ELCRA prohibits employers from discriminating in hiring, compensation or the terms, conditions or privileges of employment. Currently, sexual orientation and gender identity are not included under the ELCRA.
"Together, our Michigan work ethic and our adherence to ideas of basic fairness and equality have been a cornerstone for our economy, creating jobs, opening opportunities, encouraging investment and supporting families," said Jim Murray, President of AT&T Michigan and Co-chair of the Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition. "Updating ELCRA to include the sexual orientation and gender identity of Michigan residents strengthens that cornerstone at the very time Michigan is pushing hardest toward economic recovery."
With the organization continuing to grow, founding members of the Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition include AT&T, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Consumers Energy, The Dow Chemical Company, Google, Herman Miller, PADNOS, Steelcase, Strategic Staffing Solutions, Whirlpool Corporation
Recent research shows an overwhelming majority of Michigan residents support updating ELCRA, and 33 communities across Michigan have already acted to update their civil rights ordinances to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Surveys of small business owners show that a strong majority – 60 percent – support amending ELCRA.
"Michigan's continued economic growth relies on keeping and attracting talented, hard working, determined people," said Brian Walker, CEO of Herman Miller and Co-chair of the Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition. "Working along side our state policy makers, leaders in Michigan's business community know that updating the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act is the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do, and now is the right time to do it."
Recent polling data shows 75 percent of the state's residents support amending ELCRA, including 56 percent of strong Republican voters and 64 percent of independent voters.