–Chamber 80,000-network-strong adds heft to statewide coalition pushing for passage of the Competitive Workforce Act-
(Tallahassee, Fla.) – Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce (FBCW) welcomed the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (FSHCC) to the statewide coalition today. Recognized as one of the Top Five Chambers in the Nation by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, FSHCC communicates with a network of 80,000 Hispanic small business owners in Florida.
“We are ecstatic to have the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on board,” said FBCW Campaign Manager, Patrick Slevin. “Their backing and the support of other chambers and small businesses around the state reinforce that businesses of all sizes want to see Florida lawmakers pass the Competitive Workforce Act.”
The support of the chambers, such as the FSHCC, further demonstrates what polls are revealing. Eight in 10 entrepreneurs support a federal law to protect Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) individuals against discrimination in public accommodations, such as restaurants, hotels and other businesses that are open to the public, according to a national poll conducted in April 2015.*
“As Florida’s first, and only, statewide business advocacy organization concentrated on the Hispanic business community, we strongly support passing the Competitive Workforce Act,” said FSHCC President and CEO Julio Fuentes. “Hispanics have powered Florida’s population growth since 2000, currently ranking third in the country. The Competitive Workforce Act will not only benefit our network of 80,000 small business owners, but all Floridians as a welcoming place to work and grow a business.”
Top employers in the state have united to form the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce coalition, which aims to grow Florida’s economy by attracting and retaining the best workers to the state with the promise of equal opportunity employment. Thirty-six major Florida employers, including Fortune 500 companies AT&T, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo have joined, with more than 400 local businesses on board.
The coalition is led by Patrick Geraghty, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Florida Blue in Jacksonville; John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and Worldwide CIO of Tech Data Corporation in Clearwater; and Philip Dinkins, Senior Vice President of Cushman & Wakefield in Tampa. They serve as president, secretary and treasurer of Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce, respectively.
While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, the gay and transgender community is currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. House Bill 45 by Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) and Senate Bill 120 by Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach), commonly referred to as the Competitive Workforce Act, aims to address this by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the law.
*Source: Opinion Poll: Small Business Owners Oppose Denying Services to LGBT Customers Based on Religious Beliefs; Small Business Majority, July 13, 2015
About Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce
The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The coalition believes that the Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies. For additional information, please go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.
About Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
The FSHCC’s mission is to promote the economic advancement of Florida’s Hispanic Business community, with a focus on economic and political empowerment. Through its public advocacy efforts, FSHCC improves the quality of life of every Hispanic in Florida. The organization boasts a network of 80,000 small business owners throughout the state. Learn more about the FSHCC at www.FSHCC.com.