WASHINGTON D.C. — Workers at 15 warehouses in the East Coast operated by U.S. AutoForce Inc.'s Max Finkelstein unit have left the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), according to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (NRTW).
The union filed a "disclaimer of interest," which indicates that union officials are ending their monopoly bargaining power at a workplace..
The withdrawal affects around 500 workers at Max Finkelstein facilities in Bradenton, N.J.; Colonial Heights, Va.; Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.; Fairfield, N.J.; Hanover, Md.; Imperial, Pa.; Kirkwood, N.Y.; Lewiston, Maine; Myerstown, Pa.; Northborough, Mass.; Randolph, VT; Rochester, N.Y.; Ronkonkoma, N.Y.; South Windsor, Conn.; and Winchester, Va.
The largest distribution center of the group is the Myerstown facility, with roughly 70 employees.
According to the National Right to Work foundation, the move comes after Chrisopher Dornery, a Winchester, Va.-based Max Finkelstein truck driver, submitted a petition on behalf of co-workers requesting that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) conduct a vote to remove the union.
It is unclear when the union was installed, but a representative from the foundation said it had been in effect for several decades.
The NRTW said it provided free legal aid to Dorney. The group said his petition contained enough signatures from workers across several states to prompt a union decertification vote.
"We warehouse workers and drivers at Max Finkelstein may be from many different facilities in many different states, but we are in agreement about one thing: RWDSU union officials don't represent our interests," Dorney said in a statement. "It's our right under federal law to challenge RWDSU's forced representation power."
Founded in 1919, Astoria, N.Y.-based Max Finkelstein was acquired in January 2022 by U.S. Autoforce, which declined to comment on the move.
The NRTW is a nonprofit organization that provides free legal aid to employees who believe their rights have been violated by compulsory union membership. It said it assists thousands of employees in about 200 cases nationwide per year.
NRTW President Mark Mix called Dorney and his co-workers' effort "yet another example that workers often want to escape union officials' one-size-fits-all agenda. It's also a demonstration that workers will go to great lengths in order to exercise this right."