The manufacturing division of the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union has asked the industrial umpire to allow a vote on leaving the organisation.
Manufacturing division secretary Michael O'Connor said attacks by the construction division and three years of dysfunction in the broader division could not be tolerated.
"This situation is disrupting our primary role of advancing the wages, conditions, job security and the work rights of our members, and it's costing our members money," he said in a statement on Friday.
"We are asking the Fair Work Commission to give our members the right to vote and determine what's in their best interests."
The move was flagged in March.
Mr O'Connor said despite the turmoil in the broader union, the division had secured some significant wins, especially for workers in the timber and textile industries.
Divisions of the CFMMEU have been in and out of court in recent years arguing over member poaching.
In 2020, Mr O'Connor quit as national president after a bitter internal split and fallout with controversial construction division official John Setka.