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.



Yup, me too.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Correct me if I am wrong but isn't joining a union to have a partnership in management like trying to "boink" your way back to being a virgin? A union exists to specifically be a foil against management. Some people may have been sold a bill of goods here, and I do empathize with those who will now have parts of their checks forcibly confiscated for a service they do not want, need, nor desire (not to mention going to candidates they would never actually support on their own).

If you are now forced to be a part of something undesirable to you I would advise you to stay involved, run for union boss or whatever, and take control of it from those who just wanted the bennies of a union and none of the responsibility or decision-making. I won't presume the management is pure as the wind-driven snow in this by any means, but I have a hunch that the U.A.W. wasn't completely forthcoming either.

How long were the talks with union reps going on? Were all members briefed on the responsibility of a union, its bosses, and members? Were they shown videos of meetings and offered impartial advice on the advantages AND disadvantages of joining a union? Did they sign off on all the points of understanding at what it takes? Were they allowed to offer their support or rejection of political action the union takes or otherwise ask questions about how specifically their dues were going to be used?

Or was it just a generic promise of something more or better than what they have now? Given the misery of today's economy and the fact people are trying to look out for themselves it is an easy sale that could cross over into fleecing very easily. As a man who sells paper and cardboard on a regular basis to kids, I am very sensitive to and defensive of people being manipulated into or out of something without an explanation or understanding of the transaction.

While this may sound anti-union, I certainly am NOT. I get to speak to many people who are forcibly conscripted into unions and have expressed their grudges, as well as those who fully embrace unions and are upset that they aren't interacted with as they are SUPPOSED to be.

In other words, what percentage of the union members actually vote? Attend meetings? Run for positions in the union? I don't know myself but if national election participation is any indication it is abysmal. We can probably also look at the general decline of other organizations from churches to social clubs (so it isn't just unions) as further, woeful evidence. It is TOUGH to compel people to participate in things that they even supposedly like!

Most people just want to work and go home and not be browbeaten and propagandized. It is bad enough when management does it but what hope is there when your own union, your last hope, does it just as much if not more? I can't fully blame them for not participating, but by not doing so they will never get anything more or different from their union.

Perhaps this is why we see articles on the decline of unions or the partnerships that ones like the AFL-CIO have to make to bolster ranks and the spirits of people. Or why the choice of participation in "right-to-work" is being eyed by more states. What are the participation stats there? How many people, when not forced into a union, willingly join? If it is high then that means the union is doing a great job and not seen as a nuisance to the worker(s)! That is how it should be. Compelling, engaging, active, and attractive.

It sounds great, fun, and a way that you will have a secure future of some kind. It will all be garbage if it isn't done properly and employee/union member misery will be rampant after the honeymoon phase wears off.

There is no free, negotiated-for lunch.

Big Dog, anyone? Shed some light on this for me?

The Big Dog's back

Your wrong hero. Again. A union exists to better things for employees and the company alike. I have to admit the Repubs have done a pretty good job of brainwashing the 30 to 50 crowd.


Re: "A union exists,"

Are you busy organizing or do you even have a union where you work?

I'll bet not hypocrite.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Are Republicans brainwashing or are unions actually not doing the betterment or even just have a crappy PR department? As a person who is sick and tired of contention that results in in loud shouting "I/WE'RE RIGHT AND THEY'RE WRONG" that is all that came to mind reading this article. Am I jaded? Maybe, I'm willing to admit, but that is also why I asked for input in case I was missing something.

All I can do is observe, ask questions, and pay attention, but last I saw businesses weren't lining up begging unions to come into their shops because they have a magic business model that does what is claimed regarding betterment. Big Dog, if a union came into my shop and said "we'll make it so you can afford to hire 10 people at $20/hour will full pension and benefits" I would jump on that quicker than a hobo on a ham sandwich.

As I talk to and observe union members that are fed up, stonewalled, and unhappy with their unions I can only presume that the union is failing to serve or at least communicate with its own members. As I talk to and observe very pro-union people their largest frustration is the lack of participation by the members. Why isn't the union forcing or otherwise making a compelling case to encourage participation?

All I hear and see is discontentment regarding these organizations, so what else am I supposed to think as an observer?

Licorice Schtick

Workers alone are relatively powerless against employers. Workers unite with unions to change that power dynamic. The imbalance is greatest with the unskilled so they has the most to gain and so are the most likely to do so. If they overreach, then yes, management will consider the relatively expensive alternative of going where unionization is less likely, but not if it's cheaper to stay.

It's easy to blame unions for all manufacturing problems, but in many cases the real problem is lazy stupid management. And sometimes it's external stuff that neither workers nor management can do much about.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I appreciate your reply and can agree to the opportunities and dangers a union poses to a business (mismanagement and miscommunication from management aside as that is its own issue that riles me up).


And the parking lot was empty Friday. Get used to it.


FYI. The parking lot was empty because it was their company picnic


One of my employees daughter works there. She likes it, she feels that the family owned company treated her well. I can not judge. I have never dealt with them, but packaging gaskets is labor intensive and can be outsourced. I would bet they kept it here in the US because of quality concerns. I do not know but the vote margins were very close, just like our last presidential election. I predict tension starting very soon!

The Big Dog's back

Do you really think one of your lackeys is going to be honest with you?


We are a team and yes I do. Boy do you think all management acts like gods or something?


I worked there for a short period and back then the gaskets ( components) were being shipped in, I don't recall them being actually made in the US.

Licorice Schtick

Like there's no tension already. The difference is, unless they improve, now management will share the discomfort.


Great job people. You now get to have money taken out of your check in order to eventually not have a job.

Free Man

Closed soon....


Coming soon a new Freudenberg-NOK plant in a right to work state, Erie County good news, large parking lot available. Soon to be appointed union hack to head union and not do any work, can always flip over to ODOT if a democrat is elected governor.


why dont the people that want to tell companys what they want to be paid go start their own company and have their employees tell them what they will be paid bet that would work for these uaw workers

be for real

soon wages go up high,people wont do anything ,but their assigned machine,have to hire more people they will go out of buisiness and ship their company over sees


This plant has struggled throughout the years to come back and now the employees have sealed their fate by allowing the union to get their foot in the door. In a couple more years, we will be reading where this plant moved or went out of business. The greedy employees should be glad they have a job. The unions are breaking this country.

The Big Dog's back

Greedy employees? What about greedy management?

Good 2 B Me

That plant has been extremely successful. This is to stop the unfair labor practices of Management. This is the same Union to negotiated fair wages and benefits for Ventra. This is not a bad move, it is to secure a safe, fair workplace.


Congratulations UAW organizers, you've found another crop of dupes!

Now the employees can have money taken out of their wages in order to help pay the salaries of the fat cats and other officers in the UAW.

"Scores of union leaders earn six-figure salaries":

"The Center for Public Integrity found compensation for leaders of the 10 largest unions ranged from $173,000 at the United Auto Workers to $618,000 at the Laborers’ International Union of North America and almost $480,000 for the president of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees"

The Big Dog's back

How many fatcat business owners are there?

Ticker Company CEO Name Year Compensation ($)
ORCL ORACLE CORP Lawrence J. Ellison 2012 $96,160,696
TSLA TESLA MOTORS INC Elon Musk 2012 $78,150,010
GBL GAMCO INVESTORS INC Mario J. Gabelli 2012 $68,970,486
ATVI ACTIVISION BLIZZARD INC Robert A. Kotick 2012 $64,942,306
CBS CBS CORP Leslie Moonves 2012 $62,157,026
LNG CHENIERE ENERGY INC Charif Souki 2012 $57,518,332
CACC CREDIT ACCEPTANCE CORP Brett A. Roberts 2012 $54,282,500
MCK MCKESSON CORP John H. Hammergren 2013 $51,744,999
HCA HCA HOLDINGS INC Richard M. Bracken 2012 $46,359,246
LINTA LIBERTY INTERACTIVE CORP Gregory B. Maffei 2012 $45,302,040
JEF JEFFERIES GROUP LLC Richard B. Handler 2012 $45,182,239
LVLT LEVEL 3 COMMUNICATIONS INC James Q. Crowe 2012 $40,708,970
XOM EXXON MOBIL CORP R. W. Tillerson 2012 $40,266,501
DIS DISNEY (WALT) CO Robert A. Iger 2012 $40,227,848
NUAN NUANCE COMMUNICATIONS INC Paul A. Ricci 2012 $37,077,679
YHOO YAHOO INC Marissa A. Mayer 2012 $36,615,404
RL RALPH LAUREN CORP Ralph Lauren 2012 $36,325,782
NKE NIKE INC Mark G. Parker 2012 $35,212,678
PLL PALL CORP Lawrence Kingsley 2012 $33,862,509
VIAB VIACOM INC Philippe P. Dauman 2012 $33,450,824
HON HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL INC David M. Cote 2012 $33,247,178
CVX CHEVRON CORP J. S. Watson 2012 $32,227,122
NLY ANNALY CAPITAL MANAGEMENT Michael A.J. Farrell 2012 $32,016,284
WRB BERKLEY (W R) CORP William R. Berkley 2012 $31,296,780
PRU PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL INC John R. Strangfeld Jr. 2012 $30,693,655
TYC TYCO INTERNATIONAL LTD Edward D. Breen 2012 $30,552,734
KO COCA-COLA CO Muhtar Kent 2012 $30,460,186
PM PHILIP MORRIS INTERNATIONAL Louis C. Camilleri 2012 $30,304,091
REGN REGENERON PHARMACEUTICALS Leonard S. Schleifer M.D., Ph.D. 2012 $30,047,097
NWSA NEWS CORP K. Rupert Murdoch 2012 $30,022,292
JNJ JOHNSON & JOHNSON William C. Weldon 2012 $29,838,259
EBAY EBAY INC John J. Donahoe 2012 $29,705,081
CMCSA COMCAST CORP Brian L. Roberts 2012 $29,124,014
SBUX STARBUCKS CORP Howard Schultz 2012 $28,909,773
MDLZ MONDELEZ INTERNATIONAL INC Irene Rosenfeld 2012 $28,811,314
DUK DUKE ENERGY CORP William D. Johnson 2012 $28,655,920
OXY OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM CORP Stephen I. Chazen 2012 $28,519,053
AXP AMERICAN EXPRESS CO K. I. Chenault 2012 $28,491,734
LYV LIVE NATION ENTERTAINMENT Michael Rapino 2012 $28,479,535
MCD MCDONALD'S CORP James A. Skinner 2012 $27,741,408
UTX UNITED TECHNOLOGIES CORP Louis Ch?nevert 2012 $27,562,325
LMT LOCKHEED MARTIN CORP Robert J. Stevens 2012 $27,549,444
BA BOEING CO W. James McNerney Jr. 2012 $27,484,138
DVA DAVITA HEALTHCARE PARTNERS Kent J. Thiry 2012 $26,799,121
TRW TRW AUTOMOTIVE HOLDINGS CORP John C. Plant 2012 $26,203,477
TWX TIME WARNER INC Jeffrey L. Bewkes 2012 $25,889,823
GE GENERAL ELECTRIC CO Jeffrey R. Immelt 2012 $25,806,352
PFE PFIZER INC Ian C. Read 2012 $25,634,136
ABT ABBOTT LABORATORIES Miles D. White 2012 $25,118,836
MDT MEDTRONIC INC Omar Ishrak 2012 $25,025,639
GPS GAP INC Glenn Murphy 2012 $24,627,812
BLMN BLOOMIN' BRANDS INC Elizabeth A. Smith 2012 $24,450,233
NOC NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORP Wesley G. Bush 2012 $24,411,853
KRC KILROY REALTY CORP John B. Kilroy Jr. 2012 $23,804,530
EXC EXELON CORP John W. Rowe 2012 $23,483,442
FE FIRSTENERGY CORP Anthony J. Alexander 2012 $23,310,829
DG DOLLAR GENERAL CORP Richard W. Dreiling 2012 $23,160,197
DOW DOW CHEMICAL Andrew N. Liveris 2012 $22,989,668
WFC WELLS FARGO & CO John G. Stumpf 2012 $22,873,085
POST POST HOLDINGS INC William P. Stiritz 2012 $22,744,428
AXS AXIS CAPITAL HOLDINGS LTD Albert A. Benchimol 2012 $22,674,021
COF CAPITAL ONE FINANCIAL CORP Richard D. Fairbank 2012 $22,605,374
DF DEAN FOODS CO Gregg L. Engles 2012 $22,533,094
CAT CATERPILLAR INC Douglas R. Oberhelman 2012 $22,374,744
T AT&T INC R. Stephenson 2012 $22,234,703
DHR DANAHER CORP H. Lawrence Culp Jr. 2012 $21,898,728
TJX TJX COMPANIES INC Carol Meyrowitz 2013 $21,768,800
JCI JOHNSON CONTROLS INC Stephen A. Roell 2012 $21,382,876
LYB LYONDELLBASELL INDUSTRIES NV James L. Gallogly 2012 $21,242,927
AGN ALLERGAN INC David E.I. Pyott 2012 $21,164,198
CBE COOPER INDUSTRIES PLC Kirk S. Hachigian 2011 $21,128,672
F FORD MOTOR CO Alan Mulally 2012 $20,955,806
CSC COMPUTER SCIENCES CORP Michael W. Laphen 2012 $20,859,081
SD SANDRIDGE ENERGY INC Tom L. Ward 2012 $20,764,622
QCOM QUALCOMM INC Paul E. Jacobs 2012 $20,730,873
WMT WAL-MART STORES INC Michael T. Duke 2013 $20,693,545
TGT TARGET CORP Gregg W. Steinhafel 2012 $20,647,464
WLP WELLPOINT INC Angela F. Braly 2012 $20,590,781
BEE STRATEGIC HOTELS & RESORTS Laurence S. Geller 2012 $20,559,749
MPC MARATHON PETROLEUM CORP Gary R. Heminger 2012 $20,398,168
CVS CVS CAREMARK CORP Larry J. Merlo 2012 $20,330,097
BLK BLACKROCK INC Laurence D. Fink 2012 $20,231,401
AMG AFFILIATED MANAGERS GRP INC Sean M. Healey 2012 $19,800,156
CMG CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL INC Steve Ells 2012 $19,741,296
NBR NABORS INDUSTRIES LTD Anthony G. Petrello 2012 $19,734,569
APC ANADARKO PETROLEUM CORP R A. Walker 2012 $19,664,885
MRX MEDICIS PHARMACEUT CP Jonah Shacknai 2011 $19,636,817
BBY BEST BUY CO INC Hubert Joly 2013 $19,550,692
COP CONOCOPHILLIPS R. M. Lance 2012 $19,287,218
LTD L BRANDS INC Leslie H. Wexner 2012 $19,232,970
UNP UNION PACIFIC CORP James R. Young 2012 $19,114,972
VPRT VISTAPRINT NV Robert S. Keane 2012 $19,043,339
DE DEERE & CO Samuel R. Allen 2012 $19,031,943
RTN RAYTHEON CO William H. Swanson 2012 $19,024,036
INTC INTEL CORP Paul S. Otellini 2012 $18,991,300
FDML FEDERAL-MOGUL CORP Jos? Maria Alapont 2012 $18,988,692
PNR PENTAIR LTD Randall J. Hogan 2012 $18,772,054
PIR PIER 1 IMPORTS INC Alexander W. Smith 2013 $18,755,923


CEO & Presidents, NOT "owners."

Shareholders "own" the cos. putz.

And one can choose to buy their products or NOT.

The Big Dog's back

That's your comeback nincompoop?


Re: "GE GENERAL ELECTRIC CO Jeffrey R. Immelt 2012 $25,806,352"

Friend of your pal? :)

The Big Dog's back

Nope. piece of shoot just like the rest.


There you have it folks. I have no horse in this race but whatever happened to the business model that included taking care of your employee? It seems that OSHA and the Labor Dept. have been all over some employers for not following the law. I see the articles on the NR website often. There's lots of pros and cons when it comes to unions but the same can be said about management. Any good business has to have good employees. MANAGEMENT AND OWNERS ARE GREEDY!