Guest opinion Around Town, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on Apr 2, 2010 at 9:14 am
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 Friday, April 2, 2010, 12:00 AM
Posted by Sharon, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 10:59 am
Matt, bravo on looking out for those in your community that are falling on extremely rough times that impact their families as well. I agree that the recession is taking a toll on most of us - my own family as well. It's easy to turn a blind eye to others when our circumstances are not as dire (we quickly forget that there for the grace of God....). Thanks for the help on refocusing.
Posted by Puck, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 11:22 am
Another politician preaching from the bully pulpit. I cannot see how a lowly city councilman from a city that does not even represent Castlewood Country Club has the right to tell a private business how it should conduct their business. I noticed that Mr. Sullivan published the home phone number of the Castlewood President to encourage every loose cannon in the area to call him but Mr. Sullivan seems to have left out his home phone number so he too could get those early morning wake up calls.
Just so I’m clear on this, I believe that there are a minimum of 750 members at Castlewood that support the action that has been taken by management. Of those 750 members that support the action there are over 500 that not only live in Pleasanton but they also VOTE in the city of Pleasanton. The councilman needs to get his priorities straight when is come to vote counting.
Posted by tony, a resident of the Bridle Creek neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 2:22 pm
Matt didn't mention the 12 positions the City of Pleasanton eliminated last week or the effects of the furlough days the school teachers in Pleasanton are forced to take in order for the city to make budget. I guess as a union spokesman that's not his job. What is Matt Sullivans job?
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 4:02 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
When so-called right wing tea baggers complain about the oppressive tactics by politicians on the left, we can look to Mr. Sullivan for evidence of such abuse of power. He has used his position now to encourage of harassment of a private citizen in a situation where the City has no real interest, no jurisdiction.
Posted by Dan, a resident of the Bridle Creek neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 4:34 pm
Two things: you talk about vitriol in your first post, then in your second post you say "so-called teabaggers...". Are you calling the people who participate in the teabag movement teabaggers, or are you mocking those on the left who define them as teabaggers? Just curious.
The other thing is that I agree with the rest of your 2 posts. As a politician, Matt Sullivan has ABSOLUTELY NO BUSINESS getting involved in this strike. Furthermore, his encouraging people to call a private individual is monumentally shortsighted and dumb.
There's just so much wrong with his opinion that it isn't worth the time to break it down at the moment.
We sure don't elect the best and brightest. Sorry Matt, I'm not usually this blunt.
Posted by Kathy, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 5:01 pm
I, for one, want my elected officials to care - and care deeply about injustices - whether they are within the city boundaries or not. The lockout of the Castlewood employees is an injustice - the fact that the club management will no longer even talk to these employees is despicable. I am glad that Matt cares enough to speak out. In a world where most politicians worry first about their political careers and then (maybe) about their constituency, I applaud Matt and glad that he is on our City Council.
Posted by frank, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 5:34 pm
I, for one, want my elected officials to avoid posting names of privates citizens and their phone numbers and encouraging people to call them. This is a horrendous abuse of power of a public official and a gross violation of the right to privacy of private citizens. The targeted person in this particular instance is not a public figure and what defense Mr. Sullivan has for his egregious behavior is something we look forward to hearing.
Posted by John, a resident of the Golden Eagle neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 5:49 pm
Check out the HERE UNION LOCAL 2850 web page. They are calling for a complete disruption the the Easter event at Castlewood. Tell me how threatening 300 little kids looking for Easter Eggs is helping their cause? We better see the Sheriff protecting our kids.
Posted by Nancy, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 11:04 pm
Bravo Matt! Finally an issue on which we can agree.
Castlewood is clearly in the sphere of influence of Pleasanton. As was stated, many members are City residents. And many of the locked out employees are City residents as well.
Locking out one's workers (today is day 37!) is not the way to bargain in good faith. The employees have been respresented by a union for 30 years and have never been involved in a labor dispute with the club.
And the President of Castlewood's Board of Directors is a public figure. And who is talking about harassing? Calling for an end to the lockout is not harassment.
Posted by Deere John, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2010 at 11:12 pm
I looked at the links, but I don't see any plan to threaten kids. Before we call the sheriff or for a posse, could you direct us to the link where you found this sinister plan? Because I'm sure you're not the type to spread hysteria or anything...
Oh, those poor country club children! Won't someone think about the children? The rich children, I mean--not those blue collar children whose parents have been locked out, of course!
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 12:57 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
There's a legal difference between being a publicly known figure who is a private citizen and being a publicly known figure who is an elected representative. Case law differentiates the two. Castlewood is a private club, not a publicly owned entity. It is wrong and irresponsible to encourage anyone and everyone to call the number of a private citizen, regardless of whether the information posted is public information or not.
Posted by Jennifer Hosterman, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 8:21 am
It is often that people who live in surrounding areas, Castlewood, Sunol, and unincorporated Pleanton, such as Happy Valley, will seek the support and help of the Pleasanton City Council. It's far easier to come to a Council meeting in the evening (after work for most) than it is to a morning off and travel to Oakland to make one's views known to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. I've seen this happen many times over the years, and the Council has always tried to respond and be helpful.
In this case, we have, as always, two constituent viewpoints - the club members and the unionized workers. The Council will decide on April 6 whether to support a call for both sides to come back to the table.
After last night's vote to decertify, the workers voted 41 to 17 to keep their union status.
Given this position, I for one do hope both sides will continue negotiations in good faith, and in the meantime, jobs will be fully restored.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 9:23 am
Let me borrow from what Mr. Sullivan says:
“Past management of Castlewood should be congratulated for offering health insurance to their employees in an era where it is indeed rare for workers such as these to have benefits . . . The full $739 per month for family health insurance . . . is prohibitive.” Isn’t that the crux? The cost is prohibitive for either side.
“. . . we all owe humane working conditions and the benefits most of us now enjoy to union struggles of the past.” I think Mr. Sullivan may need to brush up on what union benefits are costing taxpayers today, and he doesn’t even have to go beyond Pleasanton.
Or perhaps both sides can wait for Obamacare to kick in. At $2,000 per employee, the fine is cheaper for the country club. That would be an understandable business decision, and one now sanctioned by the federal government. And then employees will be covered under some plan that I’m sure will cost taxpayers instead.
And to Mr. Clouser and the union leadership, I don’t want to be seen as defending either side’s position. Private entity; private matter. I would, however, greatly appreciate your taking this private scuffle off the streets of the community.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 10:00 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
It would be a mistake to interpret outrage against Mr. Sullivan encouraging the public to call and harass a private citizen as outrage against Mr. Sullivan speaking out on the matter. Mr. Sullivan is entitled to his opinion on the topic, but he crosses a line when he uses his position of leadership to encourage the general public to call a private citizen. I don't see anyone posting the telephone numbers of individual Castlewood union workers and encouraging the public to call them.
Posted by Puck, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 11:39 am
Of course Jennifer Hosterman used her real name. How else is she going to get her campaign donation and endorsement from the Union come election time? It still amazes me that an elected official who may or may not have any business background think it is their right to tell a private enterprise how it should run its business.
As a member of Castlewood I can assure you that the vast majority of Castlewood members are in support of the position that has been taken by the management team. We are sorry that the employees have chosen to follow their union and remain unemployed as evidenced by their vote yesterday, but we have now hired other people to do their jobs and those people are now happily cashing a paycheck every two weeks. Life goes on.
Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 12:39 pm
To Deere John - This quote came directly from the Facebook page of the union. "Help us make sure the Club members hear workers' cry for justice even inside their luxury dining room!" This shows the union's intent to disrupt a private gathering.
Posted by Fred Norman, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 12:40 pm
I find the negative reaction to Councilman Sullivan's opinion piece quite depressing. Here it is Easter time, which we might keep in mind when condemning those who take a moral stance on moral issues, in this case the immoral treatment of the Castlewood workers. My guess is that the reaction would be different if every one of us in Pleasanton and Castlewood were to be locked out of our jobs or be forced to choose between trying to live on $2,000 a month minus $750 for health insurance or trying to live on $2,000 a month with no health insurance. If that were the case, I think we might look for someone on the city council to support us, and we would thank him or her for doing so. I think we might look at Castlewood management as more than merely private citizens. We might hold them responsible and accountable for their actions, and we might actually call them on the telephone to tell them so. Of course, most of us in Pleasanton and Castlewood are not in that position. We don't need help. But the Castlewood workers do.
Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 12:48 pm
Maybe Matt wrote the letter as a way to curry favor with Assemblyman Torrico, who wrote the following letter copying the Pleasanton City Council (Web Link). Seems Matt wants to use the same political bullying techniques as the Majority Leader of the CA State Assembly.
Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 1:01 pm
Fred - The ex-workers have every opportunity to take their excellent skills and seek employment in the job market. The new workers are now employed and are improving their lives. Happy Easter and joy to the newly employed! Congratulations to Castlewood for employing workers!
Fred - if you are now arguing for a living wage policy for hospitality workers at Castlewood, well, that can be a discussion for another time.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 1:04 pm
Easter and morals have nothing to do with a business matter.
Nor is the treatment immoral; it's an amoral business choice--one side takes a risk with its offer; the other side takes a risk in declining; other choices are subsequently made; consequences follow.
The only people who should be holding management accountable are the club members. They are footing the bill.
Mr. Campbell has stepped beyond his role as an elected official by asking citizens of one community to harass a citizen of another community based on his opinion of what should be done to resolve a private business debate. Offer an opinion; offer to mediate; pretty sure that's it for options. Well, I guess you could join the country club and then push for a different solution.
Posted by Puck, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 1:17 pm
Fred Norman wrote: “think we might look at Castlewood management as more than merely private citizens. We might hold them responsible and accountable for their actions”,
What does that mean? Do you somehow think that members at Castlewood owe more to society than those that don’t belong to a private club? What and who are we responsible for other that paying a fair wage and treating our employees with respect? I do know that I owe you nothing.
I guess that I missed the part where the employees tell management what they will accept and what they won't accept. I was brought up in a time when you took a job knowing what the pay and benefits were. If you didn't like your pay you either went to school to receive a better education which resulted in a better paying job or you moved onto another job that pays better. There is nothing preventing these people from getting another job if they don’t like the pay and benefits being offered at Castlewood. You know why they are not leaving? It is because they can’t find the same job at the same rate of pay they are getting now, not even close. They have been on the gravy train way too long and it has to end at some point, which I think is NOW.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 1:25 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Pst, I think you mean Sullivan ;)
Respectfully, Mr. Sullivan could have made his points without telling the general public to get involved against a fellow citizen. Mr. Sullivan has no control over what individual members of the general public may or may not do. What if some random person, now enabled and encouraged by Mr. Sullivan, calls up Mr. Clouser and issues a death threat? I don't mean to suggest that it should happen, I only want to illustrate why Mr. Sullivan is wrong in writing such a thing.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 1:42 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
Here's what would have been better. If I, as the general public, did not agree with the actions of management of a private company, I would boycott them. I would vote by not bringing my business to them. So a more responsible opinion would have been to encourage those who don't agree with Castlewood management to take their business elsewhere, drop your membership, don't play golf there, etc. Isn't that the original purpose of a picket line?
Posted by frank, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 3:49 pm
When public figures (who are in positions of power) take sides between a union and a private organization and publicly declare one side is wrong, and then publicize the names and phone numbers of managers, who are private citizens, and encourage the public to call them, the line that has been crossed is the encouragement of what is called organized stalking. Such public figures have large sway over public opinion and calling someone out by name and declaring them wrong is an absolutely abhorrent tactic. In Mr. Sullivan's mind he may be thinking he is simply promoting some kind of democratic process, but in reality he is encouraging organized stalking.
A major symptom of organized stalking is unwanted phone calls. This is how it begins. It can advance to other more serious activities. With the onset of the internet organized stalking has been lifted to levels unheard of in the past. Unfortunately, the Pleasanton Weekly with its newspaper and online presence are naive tools for people who use this tactic.
Posted by Nancy, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 4:00 pm
The employees at Castlewood were locked out, presumably because they have a union. The Union has agreed to many concessions including a wage freeze, moving to a cheaper insurance plan, and contributing $225 a month for a family health care plan. The Union's proposal saves Castlewood money! So, there is nothing cost prohibitive about them continuing to provide benefits for their employees. Despite management's claim that the workers do not want to be represented, they lost that vote yesterday 41-17! So, since the union busting plan didn't work, it is time to negotiate!
P.S. Wonder how much it is costing the club to pay the "new" employees plus the payroll taxes for the unemployment insurance they have to pay for 60 locked out employees. Talk about cost prohibitive!
Posted by Nancy, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 4:07 pm
Gravy train? Wow, $12 bucks an hour and medical for your family. I can't believe the nerve of those workers! C'mon people, you are losing perspective. I do believe that people care (electeds and non-electeds) because we are supposed to be a community of character, a place where locking out one's workers is not a negotiation tactic. We do not starve people into agreement, we negotiate in good faith.
Posted by fed up in pleasantville, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 6:11 pm
You know one thing just sticks out like a sore thumb in this whole issue and that is this.... Why in a country so great, in a nation so rich and technologically advanced is there a situation like this happening in the first place? I think perhaps the question we all need to be asking is why in the H!!L is it that the most basic of human rights, the right to see a doctor when one is sick,the right to medicine and appropriate medical attention is out of reach for so many? WHy is it that anyone , Employer or employee has to pay 700, 1000 or any such rediculious amont of money that it becomes hard or impossible to live or run a profitable business. What the heck is going on here when a cancer patient has to Pay 1,250.00 For one pill?" This is no exageration" What in the hell is wrong with this picture? Here in most pharmacies, You will pay upwards of 150.00 for an Albutural inhaler for asthma, You take that same prescription to let's say Mexico,,, You will pay 7.00 for the very same inhaler, same manufacturer, same strenth, same product. Why? I can give you thousands of examples like this one, Why do we have some CEO of some insurance company making medical decisions your doctor should be making, Why is some insurance company putting a limit on how much medical care you can receive, " Lets see Mr Johnson, we have decided that you will cost us too much! Besides you've had a fairly good life, You just really arent that important and it will just cost too much to save your life"!!! As for all of you that have good health, great insurance and the ability to afford whatever health care you may need, That can all change in the blink of an eye, I truly feel for both parties in this situation, but neither is right or wrong!!! This is only a by product of a much bigger and more serious issue that we all need to do something about,Because if it hasn't already it will sooner or later effect us all in some way or another.
Posted by Juan, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 6:20 pm
Good for the Castlewood management! Show backbone! Unions are a democrat thug organizations that have no place in the US anymore. All they do is extort more and more money from the organizations they work for. Union members (not bosses) are generally good people but need to rethink whether they should continue to belong to the union. Be responsible for yourselves...not as a collective. What happened to individual responsibility???
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 6:34 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
That's the crux of the matter. Employment-based health insurance has been masking the issue. As the costs go up, companies no longer want to manage the unpredictable cost and have been quietly dropping the benefit or making changes such as putting more of the burden on the employee, thereby eroding wages for years now. This is not a unique issue to Castlewood.
Posted by Observer, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 6:38 pm
Matt had no right to publish the phone # of a private citizen running a private business! I do hope Matt is sued for every penny he has. The thug unions are really making it bad for all OTHER unions. How is harrassing little girls in their special dresses and bonnets a smart 'show of strength'. Pathetic. Don't any of you HAVE lives or children or grand-children. International enemies have historically called holy days of truce. Don't any of these thugs know that ?
This is what happens when a mayor & councilman decide to take it upon themselves to escalate a situation by meddling in private affairs of a privater employer, outside city limits. Shame on their escalation...it justs adds fuel ! ! HOW dumb!
Posted by frank, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 7:31 pm
The poster Nancy, above, speaks about Castlewood paying unemployment insurance for the locked out union employees. I don't know the particular facts in this case but in California a lock out involving a union is typically a trade dispute and unemployment insurance is not payable in such cases. Unless Nancy has particular knowledge regarding these costs Castlewood may be paying, it appears that they really are paying nothing contrary to what she suggests. There are EDD rules and case law regarding this. For basic principles, see
This is a trade dispute between a union and a private organization. Why it has been politicized by council member Sullivan is something he should explain in more detail rather than attempting to demonize an individual on one side of the dispute including inciting organized stalking of him and his family.
Posted by Mike B, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 10:40 pm
Matt, in layman's terms, you're a (Word removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)! I hope Jim Clouser sues your dumb (Word removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff). Do the right thing and resign now.
Posted by Nancy, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2010 at 11:16 pm
Frank, Castlewood is paying for unemployment for the locked out workers. Castlewood appealed the decision and lost. EDD ruled for the workers.
BTW, when People Soft was taken over by Oracle, people lauded the Mayor for entering in discussions with Oracle to keep business in Pleasanton and to stand up for jobs. I guess it is okay to do that for high tech folks but not for restaurant workers.
Posted by Susan, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on Apr 4, 2010 at 11:29 am
Mr. Sullivan and Mayor Hosterman i called the Pleasanton Police Department today to complain about the Union Thugs and guess what i was told. "It's not our jurisdiction. Remenber that at the Concil meeting on Tuesday night.
Posted by frank, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Apr 5, 2010 at 7:49 pm
Nancy, since you are knowledgeable about this case regarding EDD and unemployment, why do you state Castlewood is paying unemployment for the locked out workers when in fact Castlewood's UI tax rate is affected instead? Companies pay a tax, not the unemployment stipend. Big difference.
Posted by Castlewood Member, a resident of the Laguna Oaks neighborhood, on Apr 7, 2010 at 12:02 pm
To Nancy who called the Pleasanton Police to report the Union Thugs:
As a Castlewood member who see these "Union thugs" every week, I have to say they have only been friendly and respectful. Maybe the "thugs" you are talking about were the leaders of some of our local Pleasanton Churches that were there last week having an interfaith meeting.
I hope our Pleasanton Police Department has better things to do then disrupt an interfaith meeting looking for "Union thugs".