Chambers Representing Thousands and Iconic Little Havana Businesses Support Florida Competitive Workforce Act

– Local Leaders Cite Pro-Business Reasons for Updating State’s Anti-Discrimination Law –

(MIAMI) – The Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and local business communities such as Little Havana are voicing local support for passage of the Florida Competitive Workforce Act. The measure is currently before the Florida Legislature as House Bill 33 by Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) and Senate Bill 156 by Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach).  The Competitive Workforce Act will update Florida’s anti-discrimination law, which will create uniformity across the state and help attract and retain the best employees.

More than 275 Florida businesses and organizations are backing the legislation. This includes the Wynwood Business Improvement District, which announced its support in February. The chambers and a number of Little Havana businesses are the most recent to endorse the legislative measure. Here they explain why….

“Our Executive Committee of the Chamber voted unanimously to endorse the Competitive Workforce Act, and the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce is pleased to back this public policy that promotes the economic interests and quality of life in our state,” said Mark Trowbridge, president and CEO of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, which represents approximately 1,550 members.

“Passing the Competitive Workforce Act will provide consistency for employers and employees across the state, and the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce supports this endeavor to enhance Florida’s business climate,” said Liliam Lopez, president and CEO of the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which represents nearly 1,300 members.

Suzanne Batlle, owner of Azucar Ice Cream, is one of many business owners on the famous Calle Ocho (8th Street) lending her support to the effort.

“As a business owner in an area known for its warmth in welcoming visitors, I support policies that create the best possible environment for businesses to succeed,” said Batlle. “If we really want to attract more tourists and businesses to Florida, we have to roll out the welcome mat to everyone. Passing the Competitive Workforce is one way we can show business owners and visitors that we really do want them to build here, grow here and visit here.”

Batlle’s sentiments are shared by more than 20 business owners in Little Havana who have endorsed the Competitive Workforce Act including the iconic Ball & Chain, Little Havana Cigar Factory, Exquisito Restaurant and Little Havana Visitor’s Center. Additionally, many businesses in the greater Miami area are backing the legislation such as Barlington Group, Chef Michael Schwatz’s Genuine Hospitality Group and Fortis Development Group.

With the December 2014 passage of a Human Rights Ordinance, Miami-Dade County became the 28th municipality in Florida to offer fully inclusive protections. As a result, more than half of Floridians live in areas that offer protections for the LGBT community. However, it leaves inconsistencies for employers across the state as well as many Floridians vulnerable to discrimination. A coalition of some of the state’s top employers including the Miami HEAT, AmericanAirlines Arena and Bilzen Sumberg,  Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce, believes that passing these protections statewide is a sound business strategy and will draw the best and the brightest workforce to our state.

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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 Florida 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 or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.