With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, employees at Main Street Car Wash (also known as Jomar Car Wash) in Flushing have successfully forced unpopular Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) union officials out of their workplace.
Main Street Car Wash employee Ervin Par spearheaded the effort. Last month he submitted a petition signed by enough of his coworkers to prompt the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to conduct an employee vote whether to oust the union. The NLRB is the federal agency responsible for enforcing federal private-sector labor law and for adjudicating disputes between employers, unions, and individual workers.
This marks the second time Par has led his coworkers in attempting to boot out RWDSU bosses. Par also sought Foundation legal aid in 2018 with an earlier petition for a union decertification vote. Union officials were able to stifle that employee request by filing so-called “blocking charges” at the NLRB.
This time, however, RWDSU bosses avoided facing an employee vote that would have likely ended in defeat for the union by fleeing the car wash entirely. Union officials submitted paperwork disclaiming interest in continuing control over the facility this week, dodging an NLRB-administered decertification vote.
Par revealed in a 2018 interview for Reason magazine why he and his coworkers overwhelmingly disapproved of the union’s presence: “They just come and collect their fees, but I don’t see an economic benefit from the union…Among my colleagues, there’s a majority that doesn’t want the union.” Because New York is a state lacking Right to Work protections for its private-sector workers, Par and his coworkers were forced to pay money to RWDSU officials just to keep their jobs. In Right to Work states, all union financial support is strictly voluntary.
According to Reason, in 2018 Main Street Car Wash was one of only six car washes in New York City still under union control, a number that had been declining following other union departures due to lack of employee support.
The RWDSU is notably the same union that Bessemer, AL, Amazon employees rejected by a more than 2-to-1 margin during a highly publicized April 2021 union election. Despite their election loss, RWDSU officials are still trying to install themselves at the Bessemer facility. Also, a final NLRB decision has yet to issue on whether allegations RWDSU made against Amazon officials about the election process should erase the workers’ vote and prompt a do-over election.
Atlanta, GA-area employees of water treatment company Ecolab have also recently obtained free Foundation legal assistance in an effort to oust RWDSU officials.
“Mr. Par and his coworkers persevered for almost three years to end RWDSU union officials’ grip on power in their workplace,” commented National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix. “Although we’re glad the employees have finally been able to exercise their right to remove RWDSU from their workplace, union officials should never have been able to manipulate the rules to stifle the decertification effort for so long.”
“Workers across the country who seek to remove unwanted RWDSU presence in their workplace should not hesitate to contact the Foundation for free legal aid in exercising their rights,” Mix added.