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Labor dispute at Castlewood could affect services
Original post made
on Feb 4, 2010
A labor dispute involving 40 full-time and part-time employees at Castlewood Country Club could disrupt services at the prestigious organization's golf course and dining rooms if not resolved.
Read the full story here Web Link
posted Thursday, February 4, 2010, 7:07 AM
Posted by Social Member #2 who contributes to her own benefits and had a reduction in salary!
a resident of Castlewood
on Feb 8, 2010 at 1:05 pm
Here's CCC side of the story:
February 8, 2010
As many of you know, we have been in collective bargaining negotiations with the Union representing the Club's food and beverage employees since the mid-part of last year. While some of you may have received bits and pieces of information about what has been going on, we thought it would be a good time to inform the entire membership of where the negotiations currently stand and how we got to where we are.
With the knowledge that the Union contract was set to expire on September 1, 2009, the 2008 Castlewood Board of Directors began preparation for negotiations of a new contract by forming a Committee to address the issues. Beginning in the fourth quarter of 2008, the Committee conducted formal wage and benefit surveys of Country Clubs within the geographic area, interviewed health insurance benefits brokers, interviewed restaurant owners in the area and asked management to prepare a list of work practices that inhibited a cost effective operation. As a result, the Committee and management recommended and the full Board of Directors approved a list of work rules, wages, and benefits that needed to be changed in order for Castlewood Country Club to be competitive. These ultimately became the basis for the Club's proposals in the Union negotiations.
In early 2009, the Committee interviewed experienced law firms, to ensure that the Club was optimally represented from a legal perspective. As a result of those interviews, the Committee recommended and the full Board approved Morrison & Forrester to represent the Club in all negotiations. Jerry Olson, our General Manager/COO, and David Murphy, the partner from Morrison & Forester, were designated as the point persons for the negotiations.
Beginning in June 2009, Mr. Murphy formally contacted the Union in an effort to begin negotiations in advance of the expiration of the contract. Unfortunately, the Union made no effort to engage in negotiations until August of 2009, despite several formal requests to start negotiations right away as always had been done in the past. This difficulty in scheduling meetings with the Union continued even after the contract had expired. In good faith and as part of other legal requirements, the Club nonetheless has continued to honor the terms of the expired contract during the negotiations from September 1, 2009 until the present time.
The majority of the work rules and economic issues were negotiated and agreed to by early December 2009. Unfortunately, one of the remaining items is the amount of money the Club is willing to pay for health care benefits. Historically, the Club has provided health, dental, vision, and pension for full-time and part-time employees including spouses and their families at no cost to the employee. This has meant that the Club has historically absorbed dramatic increases in the cost for these benefits. For example, the costs associated with these benefits rose almost 21% for the period from 2006 to 2009. The Club was paying approximately $1 million dollars annually for all employee health, vision, dental and pension coverage. Stated in other words, about 17% of total membership dues were expended for these benefits.
We appear very close to or at a negotiating impasse with the Union regarding the amount of money the Club is willing to contribute for health care benefit insurance. When the Club presented its final proposals to the Union in an offer made in December, a majority of the bargaining unit signed a petition and presented it to the Union requesting a vote on the contract to accept the Club's terms. Unfortunately, our employees appear to be frustrated as the Union has refused to accept that petition or conduct a vote, but instead has urged our employees to reject the Club's position and consider a strike and other actions.
We now also expect that the Union will attempt to put political pressure on the Club and attempt to appeal directly to members. This could come in the form of flyers and telephone calls, and even possibly pickets and news media coverage. We also expect the Union will continue to urge our employees to consider a strike and other actions to pressure the Club to accept the Union's position.
Having had over 30+ members walk away from their memberships in the last 18 months, with 100+ members on the "For Sale" list, and with the continued economic downturn, we believe that the Club must continue to reduce the cost of operations. Beginning in September 2009, for example, we placed our non-union Castlewood employees on a benefit's insurance plan similar to the one we are proposing to the Union employees. Our current plan for our non-union employees covers their full medical insurance premium and, if the employee elects coverage for his/her spouse or his family, a portion of that premium as well.
Our choices in reacting to the current Union negotiating situation appear to boil down to two options - either (1) continue indefinitely according to the Union's current contract negotiations approach, or (2) lock out the current employees. If we were to choose the first option, we would face continuing Union delays, opposition and urging of employee job actions while keeping the terms of the expired contract and its health insurance coverage in place, until the Union decides to change its mind or a legal "impasse" occurs in negotiations which could allow the Club to unilaterally impose the current negotiated terms. If we instead take the second option, we can attempt to impose at least some economic leverage on the Union's negotiating position and avoid the Union's apparent belief that its threats of continuing delays, opposition and future job actions will change the Club's own good faith economic positions.
After very hard and very careful consideration of this, we believe our most effective option appears to be to lock out our current union employees. We will regrettably have to inform our union employees on February 8, 2010 that they will be prevented from working beginning on February 16, 2010. The employees always will have the option to end the lockout by their acceptance along with the Union of the Club's final proposals. In order to continue operations during this lockout, we have contracted an outside temporary services agency to provide trained professionals who would temporary fill the positions of our current employees.
We trust that our members will understand that we have taken every effort to avoid this action, but in the best interest of the Club, we believe we have no other viable choice. We will continue to negotiate with the union in hopes of bringing a quick and satisfactory agreement, thus allowing our employees to return to their positions.
2010 Board of Directors