While the UAW has focused much of its post-election ire on Corker, anti-union activists say a key player in their effort in Chattanooga was Patterson, a little-known Norquist lieutenant who heads the Center for Worker Freedom.
Patterson began laying the anti-union groundwork in Chattanooga last spring, while still working for the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He began writing a series of opinion pieces for newspapers and helped organize local events.
“I thought if the UAW was going to have a victory in the South, then this was going to be the place where they had the best chance,” Patterson said in an interview.
Patterson was one of the featured speakers at an anti-union town hall last July in Chattanooga. The event was organized by Mark West, head of the Chattanooga Tea Party, and his neighbor Don Jackson, former head of VW’s Chattanooga plant.
Anti-union activists deny coordinating their efforts. But West and Jackson said Patterson shared information, including newspaper articles and opinion pieces, with Mike Burton, 56, a paint shop worker at the VW plant who last summer began organizing anti-UAW workers in Chattanooga and later formed a group called Southern Momentum.
Burton, who became a poster boy for the anti-union movement, raised more than $100,000, mainly from workers and local citizens, according to Maury Nicely, a Chattanooga attorney retained by Southern Momentum.
Some of the money was used to create a website, www.no2uaw.org, develop a YouTube video and print anti-UAW fliers
This may help the UAW’s complaint with the NLRB, since this is a lot more detailed information than it was able to provide for its complaint about coordinated anti-union efforts.