Freudenberg-NOK plant in Milan votes to unionize

Results unofficial, UAW challenging some votes.
Melissa Topey
Aug 16, 2013
Freudenberg-NOK, an autoparts plant in Milan, unofficially became unionized Thursday by a close vote of 103 to 97. Cheers went up when the vote total was announced.

“We did it. We came together as a team and we did it,” said Melanie Jett, an hourly employee at the plant, as she hugged fellow workers.  

But one obstacle remains.

The UAW, the organizing union, is challenging 10 votes, arguing they were cast either by salaried or temporary employees who are prohibited from voting. A UAW organizer reassured pro-union employees gathered outside the plant Thursday that those votes will be kept out. Freudenberg-NOK plans to make sure those 10 votes are counted.

“Today’s vote proved to be inconclusive due to the ballots challenged by the UAW,” said Lisa Gentile, spokeswoman for the company. “Freudenberg-NOK believes all eligible associates should have a voice in the outcome of the election and will continue to follow its standard policy of honoring and defending all legal protections afforded to our associates under the National Labor Relations Act.” A hearing will be held within the next couple of days at the National Labor Relations Board office in Cleveland, union organizers said.  

Freudenberg employees were hopeful even before the vote began, saying they thought they had the votes. Employees held a rally starting at 6 a.m., standing at the employee parking entrance holding Union yes signs. There ranks were added to by union officials from other UAW chapters, some from places as far away as Detroit and Kokomo, Ind. Other employees honked horns as they drove into the parking lot to go to work.

The employees said they were not against the company or their work. They wanted a fair and balanced workplace where there was more of a partnership with management.

Thursday they got it, unofficially.


The Big Dog's back

Great news.

Licorice Schtick

The union-haters eagerly hope for the smug self-satisfaction they will feel if the plant closes.

All employed people are better off thanks to unions.

Unions make mistakes, but so does management. Mismanaged companies fail and blame the union, when in many cases the company would have failed anyway.


HUGE MISTAKE!!! I'll give it 3 years and then out. That is how long it will take for the honeymoon to wear off. Then it will be Tsbaki all over again! You saw what the union did there.......NOTHING!!! And all those Kool-aid drinking union employees LOST THEIR JOBS!!!! Have you people not learned anything yet? The union just wants pure numbers to take your money and deposit it into their pockets, NOT YOURS!!! And when it's all over and you are out of a job because you decided to listen to some union rep when he said to strike.........don't come crying to us! You made your bed, now sleep in it! Oh, by the way, you just took a pay CUT due to your union dues! REAL SMART!!!


Unions make employees LAZY!!!


A parallel to parents who pamper their children - same result

Licorice Schtick

Having no union makes management lazy.

Having no union makes employees poor.


13 years and counting and I make more than average the salary for the job I do and trust me I'm not lazy. Unions take pride in the work we do so you WILL get a great product. I've worked for years outside a union and it's what working for someone should be.


Were the bakers better off when Twinkies/Hostess folded?

Raoul Duke

I thought they had it pretty good there already. I don't how this is going to help.

Good 2 B Me

They had a horrible work environment. Extreme favoritism and an extremely hostile management staff. They have not had it good in over 10 years there. It continues to get worse and worse.


To quote Lisa from corporate headquarters, Looks GOOD on the outside but is ROTTEN on the inside. Only option left was to get Union representation.


Closed soon....


Wow. 6 people decided it all. What a "victory." Well, there goes another plant. So instead of 103 people "enjoying" the union...200+ will eventually be out of the a job because of this.

Good 2 B Me

This union is not there for these people to 'enjoy.' It was voted in to protect the employees against the tyranny of the "leadership" in that factory. This is for the good of ALL of the employees.

Raoul Duke

What would "protect" employees from "tyranny" would be if there were more good jobs than people to fill them. Then employees could choose where they wanted to work. See how it all works together to turn the middle class into new age slaves?

Good 2 B Me

Not sure what that has to do with this, but ok. The management therre is extremely hostile to the workers. It has been getting worse through the years and has gotten to the point of no return. Some of the people that helped to get the Union involved are very quiet and nonconfrontational people. They have been pushed to the breaking point and decided to fight back. SO yes, the tyranical management has pushed them to this.


I don't know where you are getting your information from... but the management at Freudenberg NOK are NOT "hostile" to the employees! Freudenberg meets with their employees on a regular basis to talk about issues anyone may have. Why wasn't it brought up then? Because they had to be bullies about it. You are really cracking me up here reading your garbage!

There is not one of these union organizers there that are "very quiet and non confrontational". These spoiled individuals will be surprised when the door hits them in the A_ _ on the way out because that is probably what is going to happen to this company. Shame on you for even saying such a thing! If it was so bad there why would people still be working there after 10-30 years? They know where the door is. You obviously don't know anything about Freudenberg NOK!

Good 2 B Me

I served my time there prior to retiring a couple of years ago; so yes I do know it very well. Why are there only a handful of employees there in the 10-20 year range? Simple. That is when this mess began. They began blatantly showing favoritism, rules were only applied when it was convenient. It has gotten to were people are not even allowed to talk to each other. The Union was organized by several employees including a couple that are in that 10-20 year range. Why? Because they remember what is used to be like. They also know that they are being bullied by management. I was there and witnessed the change in person from a position that answered to management, but was not production. I have seen how they acted. This has been brought up in meetings. They have been laugheds at and threatened concerning the Union. The moment that Management was served their notice, Some of the managers literally broke down and cried.

As for the really long term people, several of them have been there long enough to have grown with the people who are now playing favorite with them from the management level.

So, yes, I actually am quite aware of what has taken place there and how things operate.

Good 2 B Me

"There is not one of these union organizers there that are "very quiet and non confrontational".

You sound like management by lumping all unions into the same category. I am guessing that you are suddenly worried about YOUR A__ getting the boot and the place closing! Hit a little too close to home on that one?


Once again, talking trash! No Dear, I am not in management. Sure there are things that have gone on here that maybe shouldn't have, but that is everywhere. These things in no way constitute for a union. Really?? These people need to grow up that's all. I hope these votes that the union is contesting works out for Freudenberg. That's the last thing area needs is another vacant building just because of greedy employees! It's never enough is it???

Good 2 B Me

This is not about Greed. This is about the unfair treatment. Since you claim to work there, you should know this. Feel the change coming? Get on board now. If you are afraid of the change, move along now! It is that simple! Someone out there would be happy to have your little job!

Good 2 B Me

These people have been mistreated for years. It was only a matter of time before this happened. Sadly, management has gotten worse and worse through the years. I salute the employees that organized this and congratulate them for being willing to take such a huge risk. Congratulations. I hope that you get what you had hoped for from this!


They hoped the company would shut down? Because that is the likely result...

The Big Dog's back

Coming from Mr. doom and gloom. I hope eventually you find peace in your life.


Heck Brutus this is good news. I have already sent a link to this article to our business development team. We will be more than happy to assist them in relocation!

More work for me!


Re: "Coming..."

Still drivin' that old Mazda?

When you gonna buy a NEW GM, Ford or Chrysler and put your union lovin' mouth where your money is and quit being a hypocrite?


depending on age of his "old Mazda". Mazda was partially owned and operated by FORD and a lot of their product was made and assembled by UAW employees for many years.


Re: "depending on age,"

Good to know.

So he probably wouldn't get it trashed if he parked it in a UAW union hall parking lot huh?


If it has that "precious" UAW sticker in the corner of the window he should be fine.


I applaud them for making a stand against what is becoming the new normal here...low wages and crappy working conditions, but I wonder how long the plant will be in Milan. Look what happened to Tenneco, CVG and Norwalk Furniture...they will just pull out and move to Mexico and China were wages are cheap and there are no work rules. I hope the best for them.