Just a few months removed from issuing a blistering report on. the hotel industry, the NAACP has eyed its next target. And it’s no farther away than your nearest telephone. The organization recently sent out surveys to 18 telephone and wireless communications companies, including mega-conglomerates AT&T, Bell Atlantic and MCI. The study will monitor African American employment, franchise ownership and vendor relationships in the industry. And if they come up wanting, the organization may ask African Americans to cut the cord on many of the telephone service companies.
“Technology is an area of commerce and trade that will be pivotal to any effort toward economic empowerment of racial minorities,” says NAACP President and CEO Kweisi Mfume. “That’s why this industry was selected to be examined as part of our economic reciprocity project.”
But is it working? How effective the first round of grading has been is debatable. While Mfume says preliminary 216, reports have shown “positive developments within the hotel industry following the NAACP report card, it’s difficult to determine if any employment or vendor opportunities in the hotel industry have increased as a direct result of the NAACP survey. According to Mfume, the organization will issue a follow-up report card on the hotel industry this summer.
As for telecommunications officials, some say they are awaiting Mfume’s survey and don’t seem overly concerned about receiving the same D and F grades that embarrassed hotel chains last winter.
“We believe we have an enviable record,” says Burke Stinson, a senior public relations manager with AT&T. “But I think we’re open enough to acknowledge that we still have miles to go. This survey might teach us a few things.”
The group expects to deliver the results of the survey this summer.