Anti-, pro-unionization efforts ramp up at Volkswagen

A labor project run by Matt Patterson, a senior fellow at the Washington D.C., nonprofit the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which advocates for “limited government, free enterprise and individual liberty,” has put up a billboard near Shallowford Road that reads, “Auto unions ate Detroit. Next meal: Chattanooga.”

Patterson said that the auto union’s influence on Detroit led to government bailouts of major auto manufacturers and hurt the national economy.

He said that the UAW needs to organize in the South, which King has also said.

But companies such as Volkswagen have been attracted to Southern states because they are right-to-work states, which have a fewer instances of organization.

“I worry that the people of Chattanooga [don’t] have all the info they need on how this could impact them,” Patterson said. “It’s easy to say that it’s up to the factory workers. But it’s also true that the decision will affect everyone in Chattanooga by making the UAW more powerful.”

Patterson said that unions impose rules and regulations on companies, which limits flexibility and ultimately drives up labor costs and hurts the business.

He said Detroit auto manufacturer leaders made bad decisions by letting the UAW form there.

And he wants Chattanooga leaders and residents to have a debate on the issue.

“I think that political leaders in Chattanooga—and this is just my opinion—they are afraid to take a public stand on the issue because you have a potentially very powerful, very political entity, which appears to be on the verge of coming into town,” he said. “They are afraid to anger [them]. [The UAW] is known for throwing their money around and buying politicians.”