Members of the National Association of Professional Allstate Agents (NAPAA) voted overwhelmingly to affiliate with the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), AFL-CIO.

Secret ballots were mailed to all 1,200 members of NAPAA and when the ballots were tallied, more than 94 percent had voted in favor of affiliating with OPEIU.  The vote was administered by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and was counted today at the AAA's New York office. 

"Our members have sent a message and we hear them loud and clear," said Jim Fish, NAPAA executive director. "Now we will work closely with OPEIU to finalize an affiliation agreement that establishes NAPAA as a guild."

The NAPAA Board of Directors is expected to meet in the near future to formally approve the affiliation. Once the agreement is approved, NAPAA members will be granted membership in OPEIU, the national AFL-CIO and all State Federations of Labor.

"Affiliating with OPEIU is the first step toward ensuring that Allstate agents are treated as true independent contractors instead of employees," said Fish. "Currently, agents are subjected to unachievable quotas, the specter of reduced compensation and an ever-present threat of contract termination. Many companies today are circumventing IRS precepts regarding employee status and are now classifying these same people as independent contractors.  This practice has to stop."

"This is a matter of defending the interests of ill-treated small business owners, and NAPAA members have recognized that OPEIU is the right organization to help them achieve the benefits and protections they deserve," said OPEIU International President Michael Goodwin.  "With the insurance industry being highly regulated at the state level, NAPAA will soon be able to offer legislative access and legal support to questionable compliance issues, faced by both agents and customers alike."

Professional employees in the areas of health care, education, aviation and sports umpiring have been attracted to OPEIU and sought representation in recent years.