Group of Allstate agents approves membership in labor union
A group of Allstate agents voted Aug. 17, 2011, to join an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, the giant labor union.
Secret ballots were mailed to all 1,200 members of the National Association of Professional Allstate Agents. When the ballots were tallied, more than 94 percent had voted to affiliate with the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), which is connected to the AFL-CIO.
“Affiliating with OPEIU is the first step toward ensuring that Allstate agents are treated as true independent contractors instead of employees,” Jim Fish, executive director of the Allstate agents group, says in a news release. “Currently, agents are subjected to unachievable quotas, the specter of reduced compensation and an ever-present threat of contract termination.”
Fish is a former Allstate agent.
The union vote followed Allstate’s moves earlier in 2011 to restructure agents’ commissions and to encourage the combination of smaller Allstate agencies.
For its part, Allstate issued a statement dismissing the action by the National Association of Professional Allstate Agents.
“This group’s vote to affiliate with the OPEIU would seem to be an internal issue for them. Their members include only a small number of Allstate’s current agency owners,” Allstate says.
Allstate, the country’s second largest auto and home insurance company, has about 12,000 agents nationwide.
The Office and Professional Employees International Union includes physicians, pharmacists, chiropractors, appraisers, podiatrists, clinical social workers, hypnotists, teachers and helicopter pilots.
The board of the Allstate agents group must approve the union affiliation before members are granted membership in OPEIU and the national AFL-CIO.