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Guest opinion: End the lockout of Castlewood workers

Original post made on Apr 4, 2010

by Matt Sullivan

We are in one of the worst recessions in our nation's history. Many people have lost their jobs, their health insurance, even their homes. The people of Pleasanton haven't been immune to this and many of our residents and businesses are suffering. Our city and school district budgets have been cut, teachers have lost their jobs and city spending has been curtailed.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, April 4, 2010, 6:12 AM

Comments (43)

Posted by Mary, a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 4, 2010 at 12:49 pm


This is not your business! Six of the Castlewood workers live in the city of Pleasanton, so I guess they could vote for you. But 400 members live in Pleasanton and can vote against you, and if you don't think we will you have no idea how angry this made us.
Giving out Jim Clouser's home phone number is unfair. He is a volunteer and does not deserve this. I hope someone posts you number and then we can all call you and tell you to mind your own business.

Posted by John, a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 4, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Expecting payment of health insurance for a job that only pays $12.53 an hour is ridiculous. Expecting to be able to support a family anywhere near Pleasanton with that kind of wage is naive. A city councilman looking at only one side of the argument and attempting to insert himself in the middle of a contract dispute between a business and its workers is moronic.

Posted by itsme, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 4, 2010 at 3:28 pm

When one inserts oneself into a management dispute, it would best if they knew all the facts. For instance, how much is union dues, how much tip income is involved, how many employees already have insurance through their spouses insurance? Many questions. The only cognizant thought I saw in the commentary was, "We are in one of the worst depressions in our Nation's history".

It appears to me, the reason the writer was so annoyed was because his phone call was met with hostility and disregard.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Apr 4, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Mary, don't forget, APE MUST NEVER TURN ON APE!

Now that I have jimmy's phone number, i'm gonna give him a buzz...tee hee hee, tee hee hee...

Posted by fact checker, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 4, 2010 at 4:30 pm

This is Mr. Sullivan's last term as councilmember.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Apr 4, 2010 at 6:40 pm

thank you for sharing...

when Plutonians complained about the tennis coach that raped little girls, you defended have no credibility...busted!

Posted by wonderful, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 4, 2010 at 6:47 pm

What a class act. Matt Sullivan is rapidly becoming the Chris Daly of Pleasanton. Bye Bye Matt.

Posted by mary, a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 4, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Cholo, Who are you saying defended Henry Germain?

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 4, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Maybe Mr. Sullivan can, for the sake of readers that agree with Castlewood management's actions, advertise the phone number of the union local's rep.

Posted by mary, a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 4, 2010 at 10:31 pm

What a great idea Stacy! I for one would love to call the union and of course Mr Sullivan. How about Mr Sullivan providing his number since he provided the number of Mr Clouser. My guess is he is not so brave to provide his number...

Posted by Disgusted, a resident of Golden Eagle
on Apr 5, 2010 at 12:49 am

Those union workers chose not to accept the offer from Castlewood management so they should go look for other jobs...move on. Why all this drama and politics? Get a life!

Hang in there, Castlewood management. You guys are doing the right thing.

Posted by bob, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 5, 2010 at 8:20 am

Mr Sullivan is a hypocrite.

Castlewood is being held to some moral standard for not offering to pay 100% of Medical coverage for restaurant employees.

Get Real- How many Pleasanton restauant operations provide ANY benifits to their workers, and how many pay $12.50 per hour? About 0.

If Mr Sullivan wants to support his lofty standards, he should boycott every restaurant in Pleasanton that does not pay these benefits. He will be eating and drinking his coffee at home. I doubt that is what he does.

Lastly, where does a City Council member think that he can take an adversarial position against a tax paying business in Pleasanton in the middle of a contract dispute ?

Posted by Matt, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Apr 5, 2010 at 8:43 am

The following is the contact for
Matthew J Sullivan
home @ 7882 Flagstone Dr
Pleasanton, CA 94588-4235
(925) 485-0278

Posted by Observer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 5, 2010 at 9:08 am

How was YOUR Easter Matt ? Did you hear all the swearing of your name in disgust coming from down the road?

Posted by Lugnut, a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 5, 2010 at 9:21 am

I am not sure Castlewood is in city limits. I know they contract with ALCO Sheriffs for police and with the LPFD for fire. I think they are in the county. does anyone kniow for sure?

Posted by Furdog, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Apr 5, 2010 at 9:39 am


Castlewood is in the County of Alameda and NOT the City of Pleasanton. Matt Sullivan has NO business getting involved in this. The City of Pleasanton will be a much better place once Matt Sullivan no longer has a seat on the council. Counting down the days!!!

Posted by easter bunny, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 5, 2010 at 9:44 am

(Comment partially removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)

When you are on the Board of Castlewood you have a say otherwise you are acting like a dictator telling others how to run their lives and business.

Posted by Joe, a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 5, 2010 at 10:59 am

Bitter people for a Monday!

I was watching TV and some of the Castlewood workers ASKED the Council to get involved. I know Matt and he is a caring person who wants to make residents outside of Castlewood know what is going on. The lock out was not right. In my opinion, management should not have given up so easiely.

And the anonymous person "Matt" who ever publised his name and address -- shame on you!

OBTW, did you notice the paper is advertising/offering discounted Castlewood memberships? Wonder why? Hmm.

Posted by Frustrated Pleasantonian, a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Apr 5, 2010 at 11:23 am

Perhaps Mr. Sullivan should know all the facts before he writes his opinion. The problem here is the union, so far the union has not even allowed the workers to vote on the most recent offer that Castlewood made to the Union. The Union only cares about one thing and that is the Union. I agree that the cost of health care is getting ridiculous and that full health care at $700 dollars a month would be very hard on that wage. But, has anyone checked to see what other like businesses in the area are doing here? Yes, Castlewood has and what they are offering is standard for the business they are in.

Also, most if not all of the people striking outside of Castlewood are not even employees from Castlewood, they are people paid by the Union to stage protests. I felt sorry for the local clergy that got involved and were giving these people food that their churches had so nicely collected. This food did not go the people that needed it but to the paid strikers that all have jobs!

I agree with the person that perhaps Mr. Sullivan should visit all the restaurants in town and find out what benefits and pay they offer. They only reason that Castlewood is being picked out for this is because they are a Country Club and people assume that means everyone who is a member is rich and uncaring. To the contrary, most of them work very hard, have monies taken from their pay for health care and have chosen to spend some of their money to be members at a Country Club instead of a Clubsport or other activity.

The City Council has on their agenda for this week to make a proclamation about this issue, I hope they plan to make a proclamation now every time a local business does not do something the way they think it should. If not, then they are hypocrites!

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 5, 2010 at 11:34 am

Stacey is a registered user.

While the desire to help may be well-intentioned, the method employed is a form of organized stalking. Do the ends justify the means? Would Mr. Sullivan agree that the abuses of war is a necessary means to bring about peace and social justice? I would think not.

Posted by Jan Batcheller, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 5, 2010 at 11:46 am

With all due respect, Mr. Sullivan, don't you have more pressing matters to deal with inside the City of Pleasanton? You say your request of Castlewood was met with hostility and disregard - bravo! When you stick your nose in someone else's business you get what you deserve.

As one who studies voter precinct maps, you know better than most that Castlewood is a private club located in unincorporated Alameda County and outside the City of Pleasanton.

You rationalize your involvement based on the fact that a few of the impacted employees live in Pleasanton. Nice try, but if that were so where were you in February when the NFL Players Union boss announced that a lock-out by NFL owners is eminent? After all there are NFL players living in Pleasanton.

Where were you last month when nurses working at Santa Rita were locked-out after they cose to strike? We've got nurses living in Pleasanton too.

Can we look forward to you inserting yourself and the City of Pleasanton into the world's business from now on?

Bad precedent, Mr. Sullivan. You and the City Council have no business in this matter. As a taxpayer and voter in this town, I'm now very concerned about how you will represent our interests the next time a public employee contract comes due.

For you to publish the home phone number of the individual who volunteers his time to serve as a club president, and urge people to call him is appalling. Have you got the guts to publish the home phone number of Sheriff Greg Ahern and urge folks to call him regarding the health worker lockout at Santa Rita? Will you publish the home phone numbers of NFL owners and urge folks to call them?

If it's jobs you're concerned about, try voting FOR something once in awhile instead of AGAINST everything and calling for studies.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Apr 5, 2010 at 11:54 am

Jan, your bitterness is mean spirited. Your associations with the Chamber of Commerce may appreciate your vile attitudes and words regarding Matt Sullivan, but the rest of us do not.

Is it possible to politely disagree with you without the wrath of vitriol, ire and anger spewing forth?

Posted by Mary, a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 5, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Well said Jan, for the record only 6 of the locked out employees live in Pleasanton!!

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Apr 5, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Dear Jan & Mary;

Jim (James) Clouser is listed in my phone book --- with the same no. that Matt referenced. PUBLIC info! BTW, are you aware he does NOT live in Pleasanton either?

Posted by Objective Observer, a resident of Golden Eagle
on Apr 5, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Mr. Sullivan needs to focus his energy to matters that concern his city. Castlewood CC. is not in Pleasanton. What was in Pleasanton was a Nob Hill Foods that closed. Those jobs that were lost, were all members of the Food & Commercial Workers Union. Has he contacted Raley's (owner of Nob Hill) and voiced his opinion? How about Robert Half International? They are currently located in the Pleasanton City Limits, in Hacienda Business Park. They are leaving and relocating to San Ramon in the next 60 days. They are taking over 1500 jobs with them. Does he realize what sort of a negative financial impact that will have on the city and the business owners around thier current offices? Has he spoken up for them? What about the lost payroll taxes and business tax revenue? Is that not of more concern to you and the city?

As I look at Main Street and the vacancies all over town, I would suggest that Mr. Sullivan, Mr. Haggerty and the Mayor of Pleasanton have enough issues in "thier own house" that should take priority over this rather insignificant labor dispute outside thier area of responsibility. Spend your time with matters that you are elected to address on behalf of your voters. Matters that have a much larger impact on on your city. It is an election year. I hope that the voters of Pleasanton are watching you, and your cronies in city government.

Posted by Observer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 5, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Gee, for a minute I thought Matt was 'manning up' by sharing his #. WRONG ! So the other point about residency...apparently Matt happy to hassle & out people no matter WHERE they live...he makes it HIS business.
Yes, we're aware of another council person...IN FACT it was Ms Hosterman who STARTED the meddling with private people and hassling
a private business.
Membership snide B......Yes, the economy has been hurting for a year and that includes people you are so jealous of..You know the kind that start little business, and who ALSO get laid off when their company shuts down. Not everybody was available for NUMMI bailouts or giant stimulus for startups, etc. MANY people at all levels have cut back several notches from where they were. THAT is WHY the club had LESS money in the FIRST place, and couldn't continue the ALL coverage EXCESSES !!!! NOT because of your smart ***comment as if it had something to do with strike. WRONG. the cash shortage came FIRST, smart *** !!!! I guess you will feel great joy if you shut down Castlewood. It HAS been closed at times in the past 100 years and can be again. So go have your wedding and C of C events someplace else, IF that's what gives you JOY. TINY PETTY people are pathetic !! If I can't have it, nobody can !

Posted by Angry Conservative, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Apr 5, 2010 at 1:57 pm

As a fearful, angry, male conservative, I feel these workers should provide their labor for free in the spirit of free enterprise. How do these workers expect members to maintain their lavish lifestyles when we have to pay them over $10 per hour! If we increase their pay how can members expect to pay for a family fleet of large SUVs, deluxe gas barbeques, pony rides for Buffy. Who cares if these workers are trying to support a family, they are ruining that self-centered bubble of Pleasanton that I know and love!

Posted by Puck, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 5, 2010 at 2:05 pm

It is irrelevant if Mr. Clousers' name is in the phone book or not. I am sure that Dirty Matt didn't even bother to look; the union just supplied him the information. The point is that he published Clousers ' name and phone number in an article and asked that people call and harass him at his home. I trust not that Dirty Matt's phone number has been published that others will call Mr. Sullivan and harass him with the 2 am phone call with the obligatory hand up. What does Clouser not living in Pleasanton have to do with the time of day? He is a member of Castlewood Country which has members from all over the east and south bay. He paid his money and has every right to represent Castlewood as its President.
I do happen to notice that those people that are "for" the 5 workers that do live in Pleasanton forget that there are over 5oo Castlewood members that are taxpaying and voting citizens of Pleasanton that support the action taken by the Castlewood management. Business needs to be run so as not to lose money yet pay a fair wage and benefits when appropriate. For being unskilled labors the locked out employees are really over paid compared to their counterparts in the City of Pleasanton. Maybe Jennifer and Matt should contact all of the restaurants in the city of Pleasanton and demand that they pay the wages and benefits that Castlewood is offering and see what kind of kickback they get. Bet they don't have the (Word removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)
to take on that fight.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 5, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Sharon in Carriage Gardens,

The public has a right to public information. They do not have a right to stalk another. Mr. Sullivan is encouraging the latter.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 5, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"How to Put an End to Unwanted or Harassing Phone Calls" Web Link

I noticed that on the union's website they publish Clouser's phone number and are also encouraging the public to call. I'd not be surprised if this is where Mr. Sullivan got the idea from.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 5, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Anyone want to make any predictions on how Mr. Sullivan's mistake will shake things up at the Council meeting tomorrow?

The actual resolution is mostly harmless. Web Link The resolution takes no sides, only encourages an end to the lock-out and a return to the negotiation table. The problem is that Sullivan appears to have taken sides and this will probably "reflect poorly" on the Council as a whole.

Posted by WWJD, a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 5, 2010 at 3:22 pm


Posted by My 2 cents, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 5, 2010 at 5:57 pm

I do not belong to the country club, and I am not part of that union or an employee, so I am just an outsider looking in.

I first read about this on the PW, and I was quite surprised to learn that a place like the country club would have a union. I am sorry, but other jobs similar to those in the country club (say workers at fast food chains for example) do not have collective bargaining. Employees imo should be hired, retained and evaluated on individual merit, not some collective bargaining.

While I feel bad for the ex-employees, I do not agree with unions, especially not for jobs like that.

The country club is a private entity, the members who pay dues to belong to the club are the ONLY ONES who should have a say in this matter. If they want to start fresh with non-union employees, they have the right to do so.

The country club is entitled to do what they think is in the best interest of their club, its members and its financial well-being.

In any other job, if an employee does not like the benefits or salary, they simply look for another one, they don't picket and cause a scandal!

Posted by What kind of people are you?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 5, 2010 at 9:02 pm

I hope you aren't representative of the rest of the people in Pleasanton, because if you are, you are one sorry lot. You're affluent now(and pretty smug about it), but no doubt your forebears were in a similar situation as the Castlewood workers - oppressed by rich, powerful interests with little hope to change their lives. I'll bet when your grandparents fought for their rights they were scorned by the power elite of that day, just like you are doing to the workers today in your turn as the power elite. And to so viciously attack someone who dare speak out against this injustice in support of the workers is mind-boggling! Is this Birmingham in 1963 or California in 2010?

How about a little compassion, and little empathy, for those who aren't on "your side" of your beloved country club, but who make it work for you privileged people?

Posted by Puck, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 5, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Yes you are right, all of us that live in Pleasanton are VERY RICH and were all born with a silver spoon in our mouth.
What don't you understand about this very simply offer that the Club made to its workers: If they were to get to vote on the final offer made by the Club the union employees would be the highest paid with the best benefits package of any food and beverage employee in the entire Tri Valley area. Now how is that an injustice to the impoverished employees by the greedy rich owners of a club??

Posted by Collective bargaining, a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 5, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Puck - you ever heard of it?

Posted by Puck, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 5, 2010 at 10:00 pm

Yep, I've heard of it. Doesn't work to well when the other side refuses to bring any useful issues to the table. The union continues to bring the same proposals, they just change the date at the top of the paper.
One thing has has gotten lost here is that Castlewood has about 90 employees that are not represented by any union and they are receiving the same package that has been offered the union employees. The Club implemented the new benifits plan along with pay raises for a number of the employeesin September and not one employee has left. All 90 are still employed at Castlewood because they know that they are being treated fairly in these tough economic times.

Posted by Union, a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 6, 2010 at 12:06 am


*Only 33 out of the 61 employees would be eligible for
health care benefits

*All eligible employees would be required to pay for health
care benefits

*Health care benefits for new employees would be delayed by
four additional months

*Monthly costs would be cut by more than $9,000 from the
previous contract

*Monthly costs would be cut by nearly $1,000 from
Castlewood's most recent offer


Posted by Nancy, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 6, 2010 at 12:23 am

Wow, just wow. There is so much misinformation, distortion, and hate here, I don't even know where to begin. The employees at Castlewood DID NOT STRIKE, they were locked out! They want to work. Employees at Castlewood have been represented by a union since the 1970s. You all may not like unions but when the employees vote to have one that is their right. They affirmed their vote last week 41-17! The vote was to keep union representation. The management at Castlewood was clearly trying to bust the union. That didn't work so they should go back to the bargaining table. It is the right thing to do. The union has made a number of concessions, including paying $225 per month for health care. Their proposal saves Castlewood money! Castlewood management is not telling their members the truth. BTW, must be nice to be tax-exempt unlike other restaurants in town.

Posted by Arroyo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2010 at 6:46 am

I could be wrong, but it looks like the Castlewood locked-out employees just might be being used as pawns by the union hierarchy.

If the union can coerce Castlewood CC to accept their demands, they can then use the agreement as an example to gain greater benefits from other employers. By using a very small union bargaining unit to "take the gas" while they negotiate, it keeps larger bargaining units working (and paying union dues). After the CCC contract is settled, then they can use the new contract, with enhanced benefits, to hammer the larger employers within the food service industry.

Far fetched? Maybe.

Posted by Matt, a resident of Dublin
on Apr 6, 2010 at 3:05 pm

I do not know all the details of the negotiations between Castlewood and the service workers. I do know that the reported final offer of Castlewood and the subsequent lock out smacks of unfairness. It appears like the Country Club is taking advantage of the bad economic situation.
I will say that I was proud to see local politicians show the integrity and strength of character to speak out on what they see as an unfair situation in their community. Judging by the tone of some of the comments posted on this article, these local electeds have my support; if for no other reason than I do not like the tone and myoptic outlook yelled by some in this country lately.

Posted by Ordinary Joe!, a resident of another community
on Apr 12, 2010 at 10:39 am

Matt- Did your research in to this issue include what the city run golf course is offering? Do we know what Callippe is offering for the cook and wait staff there? Does the city of Plesanton offer an opportunity to get benefits at Callippe that Castlewood is now choosing not to offer?

This whole thing does not appear to be "fun" for anyone. Not Mr Clouser, Mr Olsen or anyone else, on either side of the issue.

I'd think you'd know... running a business, (even a not for profit entity such as CCC), is seldom easy. Castlewood and its management team are addressing an issue that clearly needs attention. Mr Clouser and Mr Olsen have been, and I hope will continue to, address items that need addressing. Also known as doing their job.

Let us know what you find out on what the City of Pleasanton provides to the employees of their facility. If the activity is contracted, you may need to dig a bit deeper... but heh... that would just be doing your job.

Posted by steve, a resident of Parkside
on Apr 14, 2010 at 9:05 am

Take the health care issue out of the equation. Now that we have Obummer care, let them sign up for their own coverage and see if they can do any better. Then, they can get back to negotiating wages and get back to work before Castlewood goes out of business....and then, who will feel sorry for these union pawns?

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