Drug company reconsiders $20M NC factory over new law

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Source:   —  April 01, 2016, at 4:30 PM

The law also excludes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from anti-discrimination protections, and blocks municipalities from adopting their own anti-discrimination and living wage rules.

Drug company reconsiders $20M NC factory over new law

NC'south Gov met Thursday with gay-rights advocates bearing a letter signed by more than one hundred corporate executives urging him to repeal the nation'south first state law limiting the bathroom options for transgender people.

The law also excludes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from anti-discrimination protections, and blocks municipalities from adopting their own anti-discrimination and living wage rules.

The Gov "appreciated the opportunity to sit down and deal with these complex issues through conversation and dialogue as opposed to political threats and economic retaliation," his spokesman, Josh Ellis, said in a statement.

The advocates declined to characterize Gov. Pat McCrory's response.

Some companies are already reconsidering doing business in the country'south ninth-largest state.

New Jersey-based Braeburn Pharmaceuticals said it's "reevaluating our options based on the recent, unjust legislation" whether to construct a $20 million manufacturing and research facility in Durham County. The fifty new jobs paying an average of nearly $76.000 a year were announced two weeks ago.

Lionsgate, the California-based entertainment company, had been lining up hotel and equipment rentals and hiring more than one hundred workers in N Carolina, but decided to shoot its pilot episode for a comedy series in Canada instead, said Jennifer Irvine, a Charlotte production coordinator.

Charlotte conference executive and the organizers of one of the world'south largest furniture markets declare some customers have pulled out, also citing the new law.

Changing business plans is much more challenging for companies with existing investments in buildings, equipment and people, but the outsized lobbying power of major corporations could reshape how prospective talent and investors perceive NC as a space they wish to be, business observers said.

"These companies have made long-term investments or are thinking about long-term investments in N Carolina" and won't likely retreat solely due to this law, said DJ Peterson, who advises companies on political, social and economic issues as founder of Longview Global Advisors, a LA consulting firm.

But as businesses showed GA this week, "the political pressure, the visibility they're bringing to the issue, politicians do have to pay attention to it," Peterson said.

After Walt Disney Co., Marvel Studios and Salesforce. com threatened to get their business elsewhere and the NFL suggested Atlanta could lose its bids for the two thousand nineteen or two thousand twenty Super Bowl, GA Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a measure that'd have allowed individuals, businesses and faith organizations to deny services to others based on their "sincerely held religious beliefs."

Leaders of many economic sectors signed onto the letter. Tourism is represented by Hilton, Marriott and Starwood hotels; AirBnB, Uber and Lyft; and American Airlines, which has a major hub in Charlotte, the state'south largest city. Banking and finance executives comprise the leaders of Bank of America, Citibank, TD Bank, PayPal, and others. Restaurateurs and retailers comprise leaders of Starbucks, Barnes & Noble and Levi Strauss; and technology executives joined in force, including the leaders of IBM, Apple, Intel, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, eBay, Twitter, YouTube, and many others.

The new law "will create it distant more challenging for businesses across the state to recruit and maintain the nation'south best and brightest workers and invite the most talented students from across the nation. It'll also diminish the state'south draw as a destination for tourism, new businesses, and economic activity," the letter said.

Bank of America is the biggest of only a handful of N Carolina-based companies to sign on to the repeal letter. The country'south largest electric company, Duke Energy Corp., doesn't get a position on social issues, spokesman Tom Williams said. Duke Energy'south anti-discrimination policy includes sexual orientation and gender identity along with race, religion and ethnicity, he said.

The state'south Chamber of Commerce hasn't expressed a position on the law, which includes provisions some companies may appreciate, including a prohibition against local requirements that businesses to pay more than the state'south minimum wage, currently $7.25 an hour, and an effective ban on employment discrimination lawsuits in state courts.

When IN adopted a "religious freedom" law, that state'south business chamber was among the most vocal opponents, joining an outcry that forced the legislature and Gov to revise the law. The state'south tourism group, Visit Indy, estimates a $60 million loss in net state income after twelve different conference groups cited the religious objections law as portion of the reason they took events elsewhere.

But the spokeswoman for the NC chamber, Kate Catlin, wouldn't characterize any feedback from its members, or clarify why the business lobby hasn't taken a position.

Companies love the prospect of avoiding baseless lawsuits, but won't declare so at the risk of being misconstrued as wanting to discriminate, said Hans Bader, a lawyer with the anti-regulatory Competitive Undertaking Institute, which is tracking a lawsuit challenging the N Carolina law.

"A quiet majority of NC businesses may well approve of N Carolina'south new law," Bader said. A company "is not going to declare so publicly, since that could lead to mad demonstrators picketing or surrounding its headquarters or places of business."

Corporations opposing the law may be expressing core corporate values, but they also necessity to be perceived favorably by customers, particularly affluent homosexual ones, and to motivate highly educated, high-value employees who cost diversity, said Peterson, who wrote a guidebook for global companies who wish to widen LGBT inclusion.

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