Pleasanton Weekly

News - November 26, 2010

Castlewood management, union farther apart than ever

Workers parade through Pleasanton as lockout continues

by Glenn Wohltmann

With the lockout at Castlewood County Club now well into its ninth month, the 57 full- and part-time workers are reminding people they haven't given up.

The workers, union representatives from UniteHERE local 2850 and some local officials held a parade Sunday through Pleasanton, complete with a marching band, a horse-drawn carriage and an inflatable turkey. The parade stepped off from the Main Street Park at Bernal Avenue and Main Street and made its way west on Sunol Boulevard to the country club near Castlewood Drive and Foothill Road.

But when it comes to negotiations, the two sides are farther apart than they were when the lockout began.

The latest move backward came when Castlewood management proposed bringing the workers back -- as long as they were allowed to fire or lay people off without taking seniority into consideration.

Club management, according to UniteHERE organizer Sarah Norr, said the club is happier with its current staff than it was with its locked out employees.

"The club came in with a bunch of proposals that were not part of the original last and final offer, and that we see as very negative for the workers, so basically they're moving backwards instead of forwards," Norr said. "We discussed it with the workers ... they said, 'Why would we sign a contact that would put us out of work?'"

The two sides have had few face to face meetings in recent months, with just one in September and one in August. They met again on Nov. 11 and agreed to another meeting later this month.

"We have another negotiating appointment set up for Nov. 29 and we're really hoping that Castlewood would move forward toward a fair compromise instead of moving back in negotiations," Norr said.

She said most of the workers have gotten other jobs, but often not full-time and often for less than they were earning at Castlewood.

"Most of them are working in local establishments that are non-union," Norr said.

The union has two current cases before the National Labor Relations Board because of company practices -- refusing to meet to bargain at reasonable times and the proposal to bring people back out of order of seniority.

"In the United States, you're not allowed to replace locked out workers," Norr said.

She made the argument that allowing the company to decide who to bring back and how many hours to give them was bad faith bargaining.

Castlewood's General Manager, Jerry Olson could not be reached for comment. A recorded message at the country club said he'll be out of the office until Nov. 29, which is just in time for another negotiating session with the union.

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