Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber, Leading Area Businesses Join Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition

Washtenaw County, MI – Michigan’s business leaders renewed their call for updates to Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) today, as the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti (A2Y) Regional Chamber and major regional enterprises joined with the Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition.  The coalition backs the addition of sexual orientation and gender identity protections under Michigan law.

Arbor Brewing Company, Downtown Home and Garden, Golden Limousine International, Michigan Ladder Company, the Michigan Theater and Zingerman’s also announced their decision to join the coalition.

“Business leaders in our region are deeply committed to ensuring equal protection for all,” said Andy LaBarre, A2Y’s executive vice president and director of government relations. “We aim to send a strong message that Michigan is a welcoming state that invites and develops the very finest talent. We’ve got to begin by updating our laws for the new millennium, if we’re going to effectively propel future economic growth in our region.” 

The Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti Regional Chamber is a 1,300-member community organization that actively facilitates, educates and advocates on behalf of its members through our services and programs. 

Under ELCRA, it is currently illegal to subject people to differential treatment based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status or marital status, and employers are prohibited from discriminating in hiring, compensation or the terms, conditions or employment privileges.  Sexual orientation and gender identity are not included under the ELCRA, however, and many Michigan job providers see this as a barrier to attracting new skilled workers to the state’s economy.

“This is a supply and demand question, pure and simple,” said Jim Murray, one of the coalition co-chairs and president of AT&T Michigan. “Today’s workers expect equal protections for all, and it’s time our state was assertive in ensuring those protections are provided. These changes are a building block in Michigan’s ongoing economic recovery.”

Research shows 75 percent of Michigan residents support updates to the ELCRA, and many communities have already acted to update their local civil rights ordinances on this issue. Surveys of small business owners across the state also show strong support for bringing Michigan’s civil rights laws up to date. 
The Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition was announced in early May and its current membership includes:

Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber

Arbor Brewing Company


Blue Cross Blue Shield

Chrysler Group LLC

Clark Hill PLC

Consumers Energy

Detroit Regional Chamber

Downtown Home and Garden

The Dow Chemical Company


Golden Limousine International


Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce

Herman Miller

Irwin Seating Company

Issue Media Group

Kellogg Company

Lake Superior Community Partnership

Michigan Ladder Company


The Michigan Theater



Professional Property Management

Quicken Loans

Slow’s Bar BQ


Southwest Michigan First

Strategic Staffing Solutions

Whirlpool Corporation



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