A recent article from the Phoenix New Times on September 6, 2019, reported that an employee from the Arizona Public Service Electric Company (A.P.S.) had submitted a complaint to the Arizona Corporation Commission alleging that the powerful utility entity had engaged in “political bullying.”
The piece further described how APS encouraged its employees to:
- Vote against Proposition 127 last year. That proposition, if it passed, would have required the state to rely on renewables energy sources for half of Arizona’s energy output by 2030.
- Support candidates to the Arizona Corporation Commission who were friendly to APS.
The person submitting the complaint said that APS:
- “Put out emails, posters, meetings and other announcements [sic] advising employees to Vote No because it was not in the best interest of APS.”
- Told…”employees …. by Senior Management and Leadership who to support, what to support, and which candidates are sympathetic to causes that support APS’s political agenda and financial goals.”
- Pressured African American employees more than others.
If these allegations prove true, it would make APS, an organization that is not shy on spending millions to defeat unfriendly propositions or unsupportive political candidates, one of several corporate organizations across the country whose leading executives have made it their business to influence their employee’s political decisions.
That is wrong.
This is corrupt.
That is UnAmerican.
That is, unfortunately, because of the 2010 Citizens United Decision, probably legal.
According to a piece in the Harvard Law Review, employers (and unions,) thanks to the landmark Supreme Court Ruling, are within legal bounds to try and influence their employees to subscribe to their political agenda.
Thanks to the ruling, there appear to be no protections for workers who are coerced by their employers to do what they want them to do politically.
Several Democrats in Arizona running for office thinks what APS and other businesses engaged in these political activities and poor business practices should stop and legal protections for workers against this indoctrination needs to be enacted.
2020 Maricopa County Attorney Candidate Robert McWhirter
“If there’s hard evidence of coercing political opinions out of employees, I would consider investigating this from the office of the Maricopa County attorney. I review the statutes related to voter coercion and voter fraud.”
“Leaving this aside we are talking about a basic standard of democracy. We can’t allow the rich and the powerful to coerce a democracy.”
“We live in a constitutionally defined democratic republic. Sure, we are not a direct democracy where every citizen votes on every issue. But, we all democratically vote to select our decisionmakers. In this, we are all supposed to have an equal vote and voice.”
“The problem with the Supreme Court’s Citizens United is it approved the rich and powerful having megaphones. Rich corporations being able to force its employees to do political work is yet another example of amplifying the rich.”
“But the point of democracy is to create a society of government looking for the common good, not the selfish interest of loudmouths with megaphones.”
“In ancient Athens, as our Constitution’s framers knew, your right to speak in the Assembly manifested your citizenship. Isegoria, the equal right to speak in assemblies was democracy. The ideal assembly speaker (rhētōr ) was an “honest, ordinary citizen.”
“Voice and vote are the same things.”
“Somewhere along the line, we seem to have forgotten that the vibrancy of America – the very essence of why we are the greatest nation on earth – is because we all have a voice in a free and open society where everyone has the same chance to make the most of themselves.”
“Corporations paying employees to amplify their voice is un-American.”
2020 Congressional District Five Candidate Joan Greene
“This is just the crack and everyday new elements are coming out. Voter influence, people dying, taxpayer money being used to purchase politicians and the list goes on.”
2020 Congressional District Eight Candidate Michael Muscato
“Is anyone surprised APS bullies employees into supporting their agenda? They give millions of dollars to politician’s campaigns so they’ll do their bidding whenever they want them to. Sure, some of it may be altruistic, but if you paid attention to the APS hearing last week, you’d have heard more of it was a cynical way of buying influence and ensuring higher rates, killing other competing technologies, avoid ing being held accountable the deaths of customers, and for obscene political campaign contributions.”
“Take my opponent Debbie Lesko, for example. Instead of APS-funded PACs and executives giving her more money than any other Congressional candidate, why not use that money to hire more staff to ensure senior citizens aren’t dying from heatstroke? Why not use that money to encourage energy efficiency? Why not use that money to help develop alternative energy plants in tribal areas of the state? Why not use that money on cultural awareness and diversity training for APS managers? Instead of spending money to do the wrong things, APS should get back to doing the right things. After all, being a constitutional monopoly has responsibilities. Being a good citizen is one of them.”
2020 Congressional District Eight Candidate Bob Musselwhite