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Country Club Workers Rally for End to 100-Day Lockout

June 14, 2010

Pleasanton, CA - Maintenance and food and beverage workers at the elite Castlewood Country Club who have been locked out of their jobs for over 100 days protested in front of the Club on Saturday, June 12, to demand the Club end the lockout and bargain in good faith with their union.

The Castlewood workers were joined by 3 mineworkers from Boron, CA, who earlier this year endured a 107-day lockout before coming to an agreement with their employer. Castlewood workers were also joined by community allies and California Assembly Member Torlakson.

"We voted to keep our union 41-17 despite being locked out. The Club challenged that vote and lost at the NLRB. It's time they stop this insanity and let us go back to work," said 5-year Castlewood banquet server Sergio Gonzales. Under federal law, the union cannot be decertified for a year.

The lockout began on February 25, 2010 when management turned away employees when they reported to work. Negotiations stalled when the Club insisted that their employees contribute $739 per month toward their family health care costs, nearly 40% of the average take-home pay of the locked out employees.

Workers offered to increase their share of health costs from 0 to $225 per month, restrict health benefits to full-time employees, and accept a wage freeze in the first year and very low raises in later years.

These concessions would more than offset the costs of retaining family medical benefits.

According to the Club, it has spent $337,000 on expenses related to the labor dispute. That price tag includes $35K lost margin on events. "With that kind of money, how can they say they can't afford our kids' health care? It doesn't make sense to me," said 6-year janitor Maria Munoz.

Last month, workers voted to join the union's Strike and Defense Fund, a fund meant to protect workers from economic actions made by their employer. With this vote, locked out Castlewood workers now have access to $185,000 to help them with living expenses while they are locked out. Additionally, because EDD ruled that the lockout is an offensive action on the part of the Club, workers can receive unemployment benefits. "This is really important to me because now I know I can keep fighting for many more months for a fair contract and an end to this lockout without being starved into a deal that would essentially be a 40% pay cut for me," said Francisca Carranza, a maintenance worker at Castlewood.

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