Vice President of Gulf Coast operations for The Dow Chemical Co., Earl Shipp, published an op-ed yesterday announcing the company’s public support of a YES vote on Prop 1 to protect Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).
Dow employs 13,000 Houstonians and Shipp made reference to a billion-dollar investment plan that would further grow Texas branches. The VP said HERO promotes the type of diverse and talented workforce that makes future investment in Houston strategic.
The non-discrimination protections laid out in our city’s equal rights ordinance are reflected in many corporate hiring policies, including Dow’s. However, work is not the only place where hardworking Houstonians need protection from discrimination, as Shipp points out:
As a company, we have nondiscrimination policies; however, our employees live in the communities around us. We believe, as do many other major companies in Texas and across the country, that the public square must reflect those same policies or talent will migrate to other places. We need our employees to be treated fairly and equally and to have the same opportunities – both at work and in the communities in which they live.
If Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance is repealed at the ballot on November 3rd, then Houstonians would have no local tool for dealing with discrimination in employment, housing, or public spaces. Even if some residents are safe from discrimination in hiring and firing because of company policies, without HERO they could still be denied housing or service in places like restaurants, hotels, and sports arenas.
Ultimately, everyone deserves a fair opportunity to earn a living, provide shelter for their family, and be served by local businesses and government offices—regardless of the color of their skin, their gender, military status, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Shipp highlights that if HERO is repealed, Houston risks losing its competitive edge to neighboring cities like Dallas, San Antonio, Fort Worth and El Paso where non-discrimination ordinances have been on the books for years, saying:
Houston, as Texas’ largest urban area, needs to compete with these other Texas cities for the workforce that business needs to grow and flourish.
That’s really what this debate is about – making sure the Houston area remains a place where the best and brightest want to live and work and that the city protects its welcoming, pro-business reputation.
Dow is the latest to join a growing coalition of businesses and developers, who collectively represent hundreds of thousands of employees and millions of dollars of investment in the Houston-area; and who steadfastly support the campaign to uphold Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance.