On August 1, maintenance, food and beverage workers at the elite Castlewood Country Club in Pleasanton, CA, rallied to demand the Club end the lockout and bargain in good faith with their union, UNITE HERE Local 2850. The locked out workers were joined by their families, community and labor allies.
The workers have been locked out of their jobs for over 150 days and are held the protest.
"The BP oil spill in the Gulf hasn’t last this long! We need to get back to work," said 5-year Castlewood banquet server Sergio Gonzales.
The lockout began on February 25, 2010, when management turned employees away 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 have more than offset the costs of retaining family medical benefits.
According to the Club, it has spent over $337,000 on expenses related to the labor dispute. That price tag includes at least $35K lost margin on events."It would have taken them years to spend that kind of money if they accepted the union’s proposal and didn’t lock the workers out" said Wei Ling Huber, president of UNITE HERE Local 2850.
"They don’t realize we are fighting for our families. We are not going to go away." said Angel Melendez a 15-year Castlewood cook.
EDD ruled that the lockout is an offensive action on the part of the Club and the locked out workers have been receiving unemployment benefits.
Workers have also received donations to help them keep a roof over their heads. "The community supports us," says Maria Ramriez, 4-year maintenance worker at Castlewood. "We’ve been receiving a lot donations and messages of strength. People do not want us to be starved into giving up hope and a good contract."