Detroit Regional Chamber > Chamber Among 30+ Organizations Calling for Unity in State Leadership to Fight COVID-19

Chamber Among 30+ Organizations Calling for Unity in State Leadership to Fight COVID-19

October 22, 2020

A coalition of 32 health care, labor, higher education, and business executives, including the Chamber’s President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah, called on Michigan political leaders to cease litigation over public health orders aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 as cases and hospitalizations are on the rise across the state.

An open letter sent Wednesday to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, and House Speaker Lee Chatfield called for unity among state leadership and “collective action” to prevent additional deaths from the virus.

Other organizations whose executives signed on to the letter include Barton Malow, Dow Inc., DTE Energy Co., General Motors Co., Herman Miller, Lear Corp., Meijer Inc., Rocket Companies Inc., Steelcase, TCF Financial Corp., and the United Auto Workers.

The letter follows the Michigan Supreme Court ruling from earlier this month, which invalidated the Governor’s executive orders issued to handle the COVID-19 crisis in the state, and calls for a legal cease-fire to uphold public health and workplace safety regulations issued by the administration without being challenged in the legislature or court.

In the letter, executives stated, “On the cusp of a second wave, Michigan needs clearly defined mandatory standards which govern mask usage, workplace practices, public gatherings, and certain social activities…The orders recently issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and (Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration) are sufficient to play this role. We should now focus on deploying them with discipline.”

The request for a more unified approach to fight COVID-19 and keep Michiganders safe comes after a group of House Republicans proposed letting counties loosen state-level COVID-19 restrictions when coronavirus cases have declined for at least 14 consecutive days.

The leaders who signed the letter also touted the bipartisan collaboration to extend unemployment benefits from 20 weeks to 26 weeks and extending “common-sense liability protections” to employers.

Executives who signed the letter also are core members of the Michigan Economic Recovery Council (MERC) formed in the spring to give Whitmer guidance on reopening the economy. Presidents of Michigan State University, Oakland University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University also signed.

Download and view the full letter below.