APS and local activist Reverend Jarrett Maupin are at something of an impasse over diversity statistics the reverend is demanding out of Arizona's biggest power company.
Maupin is following in the footsteps of Jesse Jackson, who successfully demanded workforce diversity statistics from Silcon Valley tech companies in a bid to get more minority representation in the tech industry. Maupin says he's taking a similar fight to power companies, starting with APS.
APS actually publicly released the statistics on its minority employment, but it was not to Maupin's satisfaction.
The company disclosed that 3 percent of its employees are African-American, pointing out that it approaches the share of Arizonans that are African-American, at 4 percent.
But Maupin, the head of the Progressive Christian Coalition, is demanding government forms known as EEO-1 forms, which include a company's ethnicity, race, and gender statistics reported to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Department of Labor. Maupin's demanding this form in a public letter to the head of APS' parent company, Pinnacle West, and has threatened to begin staging protests outside of APS' offices in Phoenix if he doesn't get it. Despite Maupin's checkered past, he still has a following -- he got more than 2,000 people to vote for him as the Democratic nominee for Congress in Arizona's Ninth Congressional District, which put him fourth out of four candidates.
"To date, your company has not released the requested information," Maupin writes in a letter to Pinnacle West CEO Donald Brandt. "Again, sir, we are asking you to order the release of your company's (including all affiliates') most recent EEO-1 filings, in their entirety. These EEO-1 reports are filed annually, (as required by Federal law) with the EEOC. I also reiterate the request, again on behalf of minority rate-payers, that you begin the process of augmenting your Board of Directors by adding to its number a member that is either a Black man or woman."
APS isn't eager to respond to Maupin beyond a statement released earlier this week.
"We have responded to Reverend Maupin and we have provided information that he requested, and the info we provided came directly from the EEO-1 filing," APS spokesman Jim McDonald tells New Times. "And we don't see a need to respond again."
Maupin plans to continue raising a stink until he sees that form.
"They could end this tomorrow by releasing that EEO-1 form," he says.
While this stalemate continues, it's worth noting that APS is an interesting target for Maupin.
Maupin has plenty of political connections, and APS is in a big battle with solar companies -- a fight that's also gotten very political.
Take, for example, that local public-relations hotshot Jason Rose has organized a pro-solar group of Republicans called TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar Won't Be Killed) that's directly opposed to APS on issues such as net metering. Rose also has organized at least one event with Maupin. Plus, we noticed this tweet:
— Jason Rose PR (@jasonrosepr) September 25, 2014
Both Rose and Maupin completely denied Rose's involvement in this diversity matter. Separately, both men told us Rose had only gotten the information because Maupin keeps Rose on his press-release e-mail list.
As for the tweet, Rose has done campaign work for Parker before, and the election Rose is referencing was Parker's recent loss in the Republican primary for the Corporation Commission, a state agency that regulates APS. The two winning primary candidates in that race are believed to be beneficiaries of so-called "dark money" from APS.
Like we said, APS and its opponents are embroiled in some politics.
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Maupin has told us he's not singling out APS, and plans to take similar fights over employment diversity to other western states, like PacifiCorp and NV Energy. He says he didn't take this fight to the Phoenix area's other, smaller utility, Salt River Project (SRP), because it's a non-profit, quasi-governmental entity whose board members are elected by property owners.
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