GULFPORT — Members of the National Association of Professional Allstate Agents Inc. (NAPAA) in Gulfport will soon take part in a secret mail ballot vote that will decide whether the Association will affiliate with Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) as a guild. This according to the OPEIU.
The vote will be administered by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and be counted Aug. 17 at the AAA’s New York office.
The OPEIU said the decision to poll the membership was bolstered by responses from attendees and the NAPAA board of directors at the group’s most recent national conference in New Orleans where Michael Goodwin, president of OPEIU, presented the case for affiliation and took questions from the audience. The OPEIU represents 125,000 employees and guild members, but when coupled with its affiliation with the AFL-CIO, the number swells to more than 11 million. With a positive vote on the ballot initiative, the group will take steps to formalize the affiliation. Upon affiliation, NAPAA members will be granted membership in the OPEIU, the national AFL-CIO and all State Federations of Labor, giving the agent group better access to legislative assistance and legal expertise.
“With the prospect of a 20 percent cut in agent compensation looming, the Association believes the time is ripe to affiliate,” said NAPAA executive director Jim Fish. “In addition, many insurers utilizing independent contractor agents have manipulated IRS precepts to the point where independent contractors are now employees without benefits or protections.
“Agent morale at Allstate has hit rock bottom, which cannot be good for the company, the agents or the shareholders. This is not a matter of political philosophy; it’s a matter of defending the interests of ill-treated small business owners. The ballots will be distributed within a matter of days. This historic vote will be proof positive that agents are extremely unhappy with the status quo at Allstate.”