July 20, 2011
By Stephanie West
Gulfport, MS – Tired of being controlled as employees and defined as independent contractors, members of the National Association of Professional Allstate Agents, Inc. (NAPAA), 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. The vote will be counted on Wednesday, August 17, 2011.
The decision to poll the membership was bolstered by an enthusiastic response by attendees and the NAPAA Board of Directors at the group’s most recent national conference in New Orleans, LA, where Michael Goodwin, president of OPEIU presented the case for affiliation. He was quick to point out that guilds have proven to be very effective for self-employed workers, citing the Screen Actors Guild, of which Ronald Reagan was once president.
The OPEIU represents 125,000 employees and guild members. 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% cut in agent compensation looming, the Association believes the time is ripe to affiliate, according to 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,” Fish said.
“Confident of an affirmative vote to affiliate with OPEIU,” Fish continued, “Agent morale at Allstate has hit rock bottom, which cannot be good for the company, the agents or the shareholders.