Press Release

The Central Florida Partnership (CFP) today announced several major statewide and local pro-business organizations will be asking the court for permission to join as interveners and be part of the “Paid Sick Leave” lawsuit filed Wednesday, August 1, in the Orlando County Circuit Court. The complaint involves a dispute over the legality and validity of the ballot initiative, stating that the petition is unlawfully misleading registered voters as to the scope, application, subject matter and chief purpose of the ordinance proposed by the petition. 

The 12 interveners will join six co-plaintiffs in an overall effort to suspend the activities being led by Washington, D.C. backed political committee, the Citizens for a Greater Orange County (CGOC). The lawsuit is being filed by GrayRobinson, P.A. on behalf of the Partnership and is being funded by the CFP.  The charges stem from the CGOC’s petition drive to place a paid sick leave measure to appear on the November 6, 2012, ballot in Orange County. 

“On behalf of the Central Florida Partnership, we welcome the inclusion of these well respected Florida organizations who share our belief that this ‘Paid Sick Leave’ ballot proposal is an ill conceived idea, and brought forth at the wrong time,” said Jacob V. Stuart, President of the Central Florida Partnership. “The interveners joining our co-plaintiffs represent the interests of small and large business operators, the hospitality and tourism industry, the residential and commercial construction industry, advanced manufacturing, chambers of commerce, and their employers who understand all too well that this measure is misleading and harmful to our economic recovery.” 

The 12 local and statewide entities, all of which will be part of a single motion to be filed on Friday, August 10, asking to join as interveners in the lawsuit, include: 

Associated Builders & Contractors of Florida (ABC)
Associated Industries of Florida (AIF)
Central Florida Disability Chamber of Commerce
East Orlando Chamber of Commerce
Florida Concrete and Products Association (FCPA)
Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA)
Florida Retail Federation (FRF)
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando
Manufacturers Association of Central Florida
National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)
Underground Utility Contractors of Florida, Inc. (UUCF)
West Orange Chamber of Commerce 

“We have consistently opposed the addition of government mandates that drive up the overall costs of doing business here in Florida,” said Tom Feeney, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF). “This proposal results in higher costs for employers and their employees and hurts both businesses and the jobs they create for Floridians.” 

President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Carol B. Dover said “The tourism and hospitality industry is the driving force in Florida’s economy, providing close to one million jobs in our state. To have a mandated sick-time policy places an undue burden on those in our industry who currently operate on a very small profit margin. The rising costs of fuel and food continue to cut into that bottom line with no relief in sight. Government should not continue to place obstacles on our job creators.” 

“The ‘Paid Sick Leave’ issue, if passed as a local referendum, is a one size does not fit all remedy and one riddled with unintended consequences,” said Richard Watson, Legislative Counsel for the Associated Builders & Contractors of Florida which represents the strongest network of commercial and industrial contractors in the state with five chapter offices serving over 1,660 companies in every major construction market. “Flexibility by employers will be lost if the Committee’s petition drive succeeds.” 

“We joined the ‘Paid Sick Leave’ lawsuit because we continually hear from small business owners who are greatly concerned over the costs, the burdens and the impositions that threaten their businesses, employees, families, and livelihoods,” said Bill Herrle, Florida Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). “The issue deserves reasonable discussion and should not be subjected to a hurried effort for ballot placement.” 

President and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation Rick McAllister said, “Retail businesses of all sizes should have the flexibility to decide what types of paid benefits to offer their employees. This one-size-fits-all regulation threatens job growth.” 

Rogue Gallart, President of the Central Florida Disability Chamber of Commerce whose mission is to provide information and education on business creation and growth, specifically designed for the needs of people with disabilities, had this to say. “Entrepreneurs we work with each and every day in the disabled community expect to be treated no differently than others in the Central Florida region. To have one county dictate policy over surrounding counties does a disservice to those building a business in this competitive workforce.” 

“The construction industry has been the hardest hit business sector in Florida during this economic recession,” said R. Bruce Kershner, Executive Vice President of the Underground Utility Contractors of Florida (UUCF). “Paid Sick Leave would be especially unaffordable for the industry and passage of this initiative will further the carnage. Raising payroll costs will result in more businesses simply closing up shop, unable to compete with contractors from outside the county.”  

“It took a bipartisan effort to reform the petition process on the state level and it’s clear that such reform is necessary on the county level,” said Michael P. Murtha, President of the Florida Concrete and Products Association. “If State Representative Scott Randolph and the proponents of this misguided measure used their efforts to sincerely help to turn around this economy, maybe our industry’s unemployment rate wouldn’t still be at 40 percent,” continued Murtha whose association represents more than 175 companies statewide that produce ready-mixed concrete, concrete pipe, cement, aggregate, concrete masonry and admixtures for concrete. 

“If passed, the paid sick leave proposal would be a tremendous hardship on many small to medium family owned manufacturers who would have to pass the costs on to their client,” said Sherry Reeves, Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association (MACF) of Central Florida. “This should not be forced upon those who are working to provide much needed jobs in our community.” 

“The West Orange Chamber has always, and will always, protect our member’s interests first and foremost,” said Stina D’Uva, President/CEO of the West Orange Chamber of Commerce. “It is our responsibility to block this measure and all of its negative consequences that will impact all of our members, large and small.” 

“Joining in the lawsuit against the paid sick leave proposal is the right thing to do,” said Ramon Ojeda, President of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando. “There is a fine balance between the democratic process and proposing a measure that is confusing to the voters and does not support the business community.”  

“The East Orlando Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to building a positive business climate for its member organizations and the proposed ballot initiative would only erode the business climate for our members,” said Brian Watson, Chairman of the East Orlando Chamber of Commerce. “Specifically, the East Orlando Chamber believes that the ballot initiative is misleading and ambiguous, in addition to being harmful for the growth and prosperity of those doing businesses in East Orlando.  The East Orlando Chamber is proud to serve as an advocate for its members, and this is one example where the East Orlando Chamber, as well as the other plaintiffs to this lawsuit, have come together to support the common interests of their respective constituents.” 

The original six co-plaintiffs include the Central Florida Chapter, Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association, Florida Chamber of Commerce, Orlando, Inc., the Home Builders Association of Metro Orlando and the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce. 

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About the Central Florida Partnership (CFP)

The Central Florida Partnership was created to anticipate the complexities of global markets, growth, and collaboration – and to respond with timely and appropriate action. Serving business, civic and community leaders in Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole and Volusia Counties – the CFP is a business-led initiative where regional leaders come together to share regional conversations – moving “Ideas to Results.” America’s Newest Regional Partnership, the Central Florida Partnership is a platform where regional leaders can learn to better collaborate, cooperate and coordinate – resulting in improved communications throughout the Central Florida Region. For additional information, visit www.CentralFloridaPartnership.org

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