Agents of Prudential Insurance Company of America in 34 states have voted overwhelmingly to join an office workers union.
An official of the National Labor Relations Board office in Newark, N.J., says 80% of almost 800 votes cast in the election were in favor of joining Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 153, based in New York. Balloting was completed April 20.
Of the 964 eligible voters, 617 voted in favor of the union and 151 voted against. Prudential challenged 15 of the ballots and the remainder cast no vote, according to Edward Peterson, assistant director of the NLRBs Newark office.
Although Prudential has 7 days to object to the balloting, spokeswoman Karen Howell says the company told agents to “vote their conscience” and that it intends to negotiate in good faith with the union.
The voting only included agents who are directly employed by Prudential.
The election was the second union balloting held among Prudential agents and came after 2 years of legal wrangling.
In 2002, an administrative law judge ruled in favor of a union objection that Prudential had illegally banned e-mail messages expressing support for the union. The union had lodged that objection after it lost the election earlier that year by 64 votes, according to Kevin Kistler, director of organization and field services for OPEIU.
Prudential appealed that decision to the NLRB, but before the board could rule, the union withdrew its objection and called for a new vote.