Dennis W. Archer Jr.: This Is No Time for Partisan Bickering

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Employees are anxious about getting back to work, but many are simultaneously afraid of the consequences of returning too soon. In today’s Tele-Town Hall with Dennis W. Archer Jr., CEO of Ignition Media Group and founding partner of Archer Corporate Services, in conversation with Tammy Carnrike, chief operating officer of the Detroit Regional Chamber, Archer addresses why all need to work together to ensure a smooth transition out of the crisis.

Ensuring a Strong and Singular Transition

Archer said he recognizes success coming out of the pandemic as first defining the “new normal” and then staying there, without causing a second wave of virus cases. He noted that transitioning out of the “Stay Home, Stay Safe, Save Lives” order will require carrying out multiple phases of revised rules and regulations.

“To rush into ‘opening back up the economy’ only to have to shutter it again in a couple of months is not success,” said Archer.

Chamber Vice President of Government Relations Brad Williams raised to Archer that the Chamber’s most recent statewide poll indicates most Michiganders are in the middle about whether they feel safe to go back to work.

  • 20% feel very safe
  • 41% feel somewhat safe
  • 25% felt somewhat unsafe
  • 7% felt very unsafe

Williams asked Archer how as an employer he is prepared to handle changes to the work environment and address the anxieties of employees.

“We are also polling our teams to ask them, what do you want in a workplace when you come back?” said Archer.

At Archer Corporate Services, team members take their temperature before they come in, Archer explained. They will continue wiping down surfaces and other measures to prevent the spread of the virus. And because no one wants to go to a restaurant where the bartender is wearing a mask and gloves, we have to get to a place where that’s no longer necessary, he added.

Addressing inequality post-pandemic

Archer asserted that COVID-19 has shed light on the root cause of inequality, namely lack of economic opportunity and unequal access to capital. Archer said he hopes people will learn from the pandemic about what elements are needed to create lasting change.

“How do we prescribe something that can create long-term change as it relates to more equality from an economic standpoint?” asked Archer.

The answer, explained Archer, will involve reassessing how education in Michigan is funded and making sure kids throughout the state have equal access. It will also involve ensuring everyone has equal access to economic opportunities no matter their background.

“This is not a time for partisan bickering,” said Archer. “We don’t have time for that. We only have time to focus on moving beyond this pandemic.”

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