Representatives of Unite Here! Local 2850 said they are in negotiations with Castlewood management to avoid a lockout the club has threatened if union members don't accept "a final contract offer" the club has offered. The contract offer calls for a wage freeze this year and only nominal increases, if any, in the next two years of the three-year contract.
Most onerous, however, according to Sharon Cornu of the Alameda Labor, are hikes in health care premiums for unionized workers which, up to now, have been fully covered by Castlewood.
Under the management contract offer, workers would have to shift from a union-sponsored plan to one controlled by Castlewood. Monthly fees would jump from zero to $366 a month for single policies and to $739.for families. A medical insurance tracking formula computed by Kaiser shows that those rates would jump about 10 percent a year.
"With the average wage of union workers at Castlewood now $12.52 an hour, these new premiums would make it impossible for these people to pay the costs," said Pleasanton Mayor Jennifer Hosterman, who met with two Castlewood employees.
"The union said it acted in "good faith" by agreeing to a wage freeze," Hosterman said. "Its contract proposal also called for health care payments, amounting to $25 for singles, $100 for single plus one and $175 for families. It's my understanding that management has flatly rejected the union's offer and has ordered a lockout if Local 2850 doesn't sign Castlewood's final contract offer."
Hosterman said she understands that Castlewood has been losing members because of the recession and has fielded a deficit budget for several years. The more aggressive stance towards Local 2850 is an effort to change the financial course of the club.
"I had two union members who work at Castlewood come to see me," Hosterman said. "They reside in Pleasanton and have been living paycheck to paycheck as it is just trying to pay the rent and keep their kids in Pleasanton schools.
"They told me union workers at Castlewood couldn't afford the high health care premiums, that they rely on the health care policies they have for themselves and their families, and they are afraid they're going to lose their jobs."
Hosterman said she has asked Castlewood's general manager Jerry Olson to consider a "time out" before imposing the new contract and maintaining a status quo to give these employees tie to determine their next step.
At press time, neither Olson nor John Hughes, the club's senior pro, had returned calls from the Weekly. Dining room manager Tom Hunt said he couldn't respond to questions about the labor dispute and that only Olson could speak for the club.
"I'll do whatever I can to resolve this dispute," Hosterman said.