For immediate release
August 5, 2010
Who: Castlewood Workers and Community Members
What: Picket, Rally and March as Congressional Candidate crosses Picket Line in 150-day Lockout
Where: Castlewood Country Club
When: 11:30am to 1:00pm, Thursday August 5, 2010
Pleasanton, CA: Locked out Castlewood workers fight to move their families out of poverty as Republican Congressional candidate David Harmer crosses their picket line to help launch his political career.
Former JP Morgan bailout executive turned Congressional candidate for District 11, David Harmer, is holding a $2,400-a-head fundraiser at the Castlewood Country Club, where management has locked out workers for over five months. The 61 cooks, servers, bartenders, dishwashers and janitors have been in a protracted fight to protect their health care.
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.
"They don’t realize that we are fighting for our families. We are not going away, we will continue this fight until we get back to our jobs and get a fair contract," said Angel Melendez, a 10-year Castlewood cook.
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.
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. "I cannot believe that while we are struggling to feed our families, people are paying over two thousand dollars for a political lunch,"
says Maria Munoz, a 6-year janitor at Castlewood. I’m not asking for a bail-out, I just want to go back to work."