Nearly 1,000 Prudential Financial Inc. employee-insurance agents across the country are now members of a white-collar union.
The New York-based Office and Professional Employees International Union, Local 153, won the right to represent agents in 34 states who work directly for Prudential, but not agents who are independent contractors.
“This is a large unit of insurance agents, a group primarily commission-based and not traditionally thought of as the type of workers that are unionized,” OPEIU International President Michael Goodwin said.
Mail-in ballot results counted at the National Labor Relations Board’s Newark, N.J., regional office had 64 percent of agents voting in favor of union representation.
Of the nearly 1,000 agents eligible to cast ballots, 617 voted to unionize; 151 voted against.
There are 4,400 Prudential agents in the U.S., many of them independent contractors.
“We are breaking new ground here and are now looking forward to negotiating a contract with Prudential that best represents our members’ interests,” Goodwin said.
In a statement, Newark-based Prudential said it respected the decision of its agents to unionize.
“We will negotiate with the union in good faith,” the company said.
The successful vote for OPEIU comes two years after the union lost a similar bid to represent nearly 2,000 Prudential agents.
Prudential’s insurance and investment businesses earned $18.22 billion in revenue in fiscal 2003.
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