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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

Comments (48)

Posted by Concerned, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 4, 2010 at 12:13 pm

How disappointing is it when our Mayor "will do whatever i can do to resolve this dispute" reagrading a couple bartenders at Castlewood Country Club that aren't even within her community, but is silent in the Independents article about 70 Pleasanton school teachers in jeporty of losing their jobs. I quess we know where her priorities are. Mayor have another drink on us.

Posted by No, I don't work for the Mayor..., a resident of Downtown
on Feb 4, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Wake up Concerned...The CWood employees in question aren't all bartenders. They are golf professionals, retail staff, food servers, and other staff positions. They are educated PLEASANTON RESIDENTS with families and children in our community. We should applaud the Mayor for looking out for ALL of her constiuents. Just because Castlewood CC is not in the City limits does not mean that our Pleasanton residents don't still work there. And just because Mayor Hosterman wasn't quoted in the Independent article does not mean she is silent on the issue of education and our school system mess.

Posted by great job mayor, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Butt out Hosterman! It is not your job to negotiate wage and benefit increases for employees of a private entity. Pay cuts are the norm these days, as are increases in health care costs. It does not matter that some of these people live in Pleasanton.
I work for a corporation based in Delaware. They cut my wages. Is Hosterman going to try to force them to pay me more just because I live in Pleasanton? This is beyond stupid.

Posted by Mary, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 4, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Everyone knows Hosterman is just looking for a way to get her name in front of folks. It's really not any of her business. I own a business and if I cut wages for my employees is she going to come talk with me?

Posted by Castlwoood Resident, a resident of Castlewood
on Feb 4, 2010 at 1:25 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

Posted by Puck, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2010 at 1:32 pm

If the mayor had a real job she just might understand the realities of the current economy. There are concessions being made in all sectors in these bad times. She is being sucked in to another union ploy to attempt to negotiate through local politicians and the media. Like Concerned said, if she really wants to help out residents of Pleasanton she should help save the teachers jobs that are in jeopardy in her city, most of whom live in Pleasanton, unlike the employees at Castlewood.

Posted by Pro-Law, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Is Castlewood incorporated Pleasanton?

Posted by Pat O'Brien, a resident of Castlewood
on Feb 4, 2010 at 2:22 pm

I am very disappointed at the actions of the club I belong to.
Avoiding increasing member dues at the expense of our long time staff employees does not create a proper balance.
It is unfortuante that the membership as a whole has not had an opportunity to express their concerns in this matter.
To cause this much hardship on the working people of Castlewood to save the members a few dollars a month is very sad.

Posted by Mary, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 4, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Yes, Castlewood is in the unincorporated area of alameda county. So they can't vote for mayor or any other officials of P-town.

Posted by Castlewood Resident, a resident of Castlewood
on Feb 4, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Birdland, we may not be able to vote in P-town but certainly can vote when Hosterman runs for Haggerty's seat.

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

Hosterman needs to be unemployed.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 4, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I don't blame the club for wanting to off load health care costs to employees since it is an unpredictable expense. This is something we're going to be seeing a lot more of across all industries, especially without any sort of health care reform. But it is strange to try to off load the full amount of those costs without an increase in salary. The health care benefit at private companies has been under attack by rapidly rising health care costs for a long time now.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 4, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Web Link

"Goldman, Sood & Leibowitz (2005) estimate that when health insurance premiums rise, companies finance about two-thirds of the premium increase by reducing wages and the remaining one-third by reducing benefits."

Posted by Mary, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 4, 2010 at 3:54 pm

How do we know what the truth is since only the union has weighed in on this, as we all know their are to sides to every story. The idea that Castlewood paid 100% of all health care costs for both full and partime people I find amazing in this day and time.

Posted by Duhfer, a resident of Mission Park
on Feb 4, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Its not uncommon for an elected official to try to bring two negotiating parties together. Whether its her business or not, JH is in her right to make a couple of phone calls to bring peace in a tense situation. If you have an issue with her may or may not helping teachers at PUSD - the council meetings are public - go and ask her. I would highly doubt that she sat idle while teachers lost jobs. There myst be give and take from both sides...sometimes a third party can help cooler heads prevail.

Posted by Pro-Law, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2010 at 10:06 pm

So why is the mayor meddling in communities not within her jurisdiction? Doesn't Pleasanton have enough issues to tackle within the city limits?

Pleasanton Weekly-

I'd appreciate it for when you delete one of my posts in the future you keep the one without the typo, thanks.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 4, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

If Castlewood were a community over in Livermore, I'd agree with the sentiment.

Posted by Pro-Law, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2010 at 5:26 am


You agree with the city hall of Pleasanton (Hosterman) dealing with this type of issue outside of our city limits? I wish (not really) when my job is in jeopardy, in let's say Sunol, she comes and helps me because I live in Pleasanton and the Pleasanton city limit is close Sunol.

Posted by Pro-Law, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2010 at 5:34 am

The article's title "400-700% increases in medical premiums" is rather misleading. It would be better to say Castlewood is proposing the workers pay the medical 100% themselves.

Posted by Kemo Sabe, a resident of Golden Eagle
on Feb 5, 2010 at 8:57 am

Unions have their place in Amerian business, but unions have also cost each and every one of us a lot of money. The cost of cars, car parts, houses, lumber, airline prices etc., etc., etc. Unions fit well when workers are not receiving minimum wage or being treated unfairly by management. It doesn't sound like there are any issues with difficult management, sounds more like difficult financial times.

I don't know of any companies today that fund 100% of their employees health insurance. That would be nice, but impractival. Remember when President Reagan broke the Air Traffic Controller union?

Why does Toyota produce a more cost-effective car (no union workers at their manufacturing plant in the U.S)?

It's a business/union thing and this type of issue has surfaced many times in the last two years - it's natural when the economy is in a slump. The mayor can get involved but she should realize that her words and actions are a direct reflection on her, good and bad.

Posted by great job mayor, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2010 at 9:16 am

I disagree with the idea that hosterman has any right at all to get involved. This is a matter with a privately owned entity that does not even exist within the city limits. Even if it was in Pleasanton, she still has no reason to get involved -- it is a private company and short of violating the law can do anything it desires!
I have yet to hear from hosterman about whether or not she will intervene on my behalf with my corporate offices in Delaware. I had a pay cut but I live in Pleasanton -- doesn't her logic deem her responsible for those negotiations also?

Posted by Scott L., a resident of Birdland
on Feb 5, 2010 at 5:26 pm

The Mayor represents everyone who lives or works in Pleasanton. According to the article, the people who sought out the Mayor are Pleasanton residents.

Posted by Puck, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Scott L - Sure she responded to the two people that the union brought to her but how about representing the 400 members at Castlewood that are Pleasanton residents. These tough economic times have not spared many, including the "perceived wealthy". It is obvious that information in the article was provided by the union and is very bias towards their position. The union must feel they are in a weak position since they are now attempting to negotiate thru the politicians and media.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 5, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Stacey is a registered user.


Castlewood is actually mostly surrounded by Pleasanton city limits and is well within Pleasanton's sphere of influence. For all intents and purposes, it is a part of Pleasanton, just as Happy Valley and that little area along Vineyard. It isn't the same as comparing it with Sunol.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 5, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

But I will agree with you that it is a little weird.

Posted by Hard Times, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Do the workers at Castlewood realize there are unemployed people willing and able to take their jobs should they choose to pursue their quest for status quo benefits in time of economic uncertainty.

Posted by Pro-Law, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2010 at 5:51 am


I agree.

Posted by mary, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 6, 2010 at 8:34 am

How do we know that the employees are not in favor of the contract that Castlewood has offered? I am sure that each and every employee knows about how hard it is to find a job and want to keep there's.

Posted by Tom, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2010 at 11:46 am

I have a friend who works at Castlewood CC and he told me the employees signed a petition asking the union to let them vote to approve the clubs proposal and the union denied that request.

Posted by mary, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 6, 2010 at 12:52 pm

OMG, can they do that? So these employees want this contract and the union says no, so these people could lose their jobs because of some union? Aren't they supposed to do what the employees want?

Posted by Puck, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Mary - Now you see the real picture. Who does the union really represent, their own best interest or that of the employees? Like I said, the union gave the Weekly what they wanted them to know and not all the facts.

Posted by Meddle NOT, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2010 at 2:23 pm

As a long time Pleasanton resident and Castlewood social member, I am highly offended that my Mayor would meddle in a private business...truly chilling ! I fear what she would do if she ever gained greater power...scary ! First the 2 local whinners do not speak for the majority of other employees....few of which are 'long time". In fact a batch of illegals left several years ago.. another employee was sent away several years ago for meat theft..Some didn't return from sickness. It wasn't that long ago that there was not union at CCC at all. This is a club of 'shared majority PLEASANTON owners'.
BTW...CA is an ""employed AT WILL (or whim of employer)" state.! Would they rather be UNemployed ?? That can be arranged. At home OUR benefits have been's called a 'ripple effect' !! Say, the last I heard a year or two ago, I believe Ms Jennifer had failed the bar several times. Did she finally make it. Is she being 'retained' by these TWO...and/or the others employees too.... OF if they differ with these 2 maybe they'll get a different lawyer. Or, maybe the club could clean house, OR maybe just those 2 could take a hike.....just offering some options. I would suggest da mayor butt out, like she butted in.

Posted by Meddle NOT, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Tom, If that's true that the union would not let them accept a ...COMPROMISED... contract, something should be done to the union. That would be strictly because their GREED for dues trumps all else. Their membership is down......from greedily PUSHING beyond the limits of employers...until the employer GOES BROKE and
the employees (middle pawns) are OUT OF JOBS !!!!! That's what happens when unions push too far...SO GREEDY, they wind up with NOTHING!! Speaking of pusing too far, how's the major doing on FIXING her pushing too far with our own city PUBLIC employee unions !! Her job she promised to do was to simply 'represent OUR voter, resident interests".....yet she colludes against us, with the secret, excessive promises to our employees, pushing us (city owners)beyond OUR limits. Why does't she right the wrongs she has created AGAINST US !!!! WE need representation too !!!

Posted by workers deserve healthcare, a resident of another community
on Feb 6, 2010 at 3:52 pm

As a community member, I am outraged that the Castlewood is proposing to put access to health care out of reach for dozens of their workers and those workers' families, many of whom have served the club and its members for many, many years.

I'm glad to see Castlewood club members standing up for the workers at their club. I bet that if all Castlewood members knew what management was doing in their name and with their money, they would be similarly outraged.

Posted by mary, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 6, 2010 at 4:33 pm

to workers deserve health care, we have now heard that the union is not letting these employees have a contract that they want. So who is to say the article that the union gave to the p-town weekly is true? I am sure there are two sides to this story.

Posted by healthcare for workers, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2010 at 5:22 pm

I am also outraged that castlewood is trying to take healthcare away from these workers! as the article says, the workers have offered to pay a portion of their healthcare (and have already agreed to a wage freeze). demanding a 400 percent increase is unconscionable.

Posted by mary, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 6, 2010 at 9:35 pm

healthcare for workers, Lets ask who leaked this story to the P-town weekly THE UNION. So does that not make you wonder how they are spinning the story. The bottom line is Castlewood is a private club and they can do what they think is best for the club.

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Feb 7, 2010 at 12:48 am

When one, perhaps, plans to run for higher office as a democrat, one needs the support of labor...

Democrat = Hosterman and labor unions...

I hope this can be resolved before the Castlewood members are forced to play elsewhere and screw up the tee times for us peons...

Posted by mary, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 7, 2010 at 8:09 am


If you read the article its food service people that are part of the union not the golf staff or the guys who take care of the course. So no worry it won't case you a problem with your tee times.

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Feb 7, 2010 at 11:33 pm

Thanks Mary,

I am so relieved...:)

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.

Current Status

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

Posted by Brent H., a resident of Castlewood
on Feb 8, 2010 at 8:56 pm

The mayor is right. These guys don't give one whit about these long time, highly productive employees who view their jobs with the CC as a family obligation, over strict employment. A lock out - that's not negotiating in good faith - that's saying "We don't need you, we don't want you, and you are replaceable" - what a shame. If a lockout really comes to pass, I would hope all of our members would give up their memberships - this is not about solidarity for the sake of unions - this is about solidarity of and for our community - keeping people who we like (and for those long termers, love) and trust, vs throwing human beings away, putting them on the streets, because we pay them $12.00 an hour, and expect them to pay their own pensions and healthcare to the tune of $750.00 a month, with no phase in opportunities - shame on our management!

Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 8, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Has the union proposed an alternative that helps keep CCC solvent during these times?

Posted by Puck, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Brent H - Did you even bother to read the letter above? You bring up points that were not addressed in either the letter or else where on this thread so it makes me think that you are not who you say you are. How do you know that it is a $750 cost for healthcare. Where did that figure come from? Where does it say that they have to pay for their own pensions? Sounds to me like the employees want the contract but the union is preventing a vote. Looks to me like Castlewood has given them a week to figure it out.

Posted by Patricia, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:03 am

Thank you to those members who really appreciated our work, Members to me are part of my family. Many of them we know what they eat and drink because we work with them almost everyday, most of the time I spend more time at the club than with my own family (no playing golf..... working), so that not count for nobody and now managment just want to lock out us because they want to inforce the new contract. We not asking for free benefits we just want affordable according to our earnings. Please think about it.

Posted by Meddle NOT, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:04 am

In addition to the $12. hr for some, a service fee is auto added to the bill. Most members, in addition, also leave or add extra....beyond what will be added to our monthly bills.
Just the facts...

Posted by CCC Member, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Not only are the Food and Service employees tipped well, and they all share the tips, some are even tipped in cash to keep for themselves. They all also receive a handsome bonus at the end of every year paid for by the club members. To say they are only paid $12.50 per hour (average) is bad journalism and political spinning. Those who live paycheck to paycheck should have been looking for other food service jobs a long time ago!! No one is saying that the new contract will eliminate all CCC contributions. Read the club written article.

Posted by Castlewood Member Emeritus, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Mr. O'Brien, I respect you as a gentleman and for your accomplishments but you are obviously a member of the tax and spend liberal fraternity. Would you take a cut in your pay to fund full health care for your employees?? No, you would just pass it along to your members dues!! Do you actually offer your employees full health care coverage??

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