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Union representing locked-out Castlewood Country Club workers takes protest to downtown Pleasanton

Original post made on Dec 18, 2011

A group of more than 50 from a hotel and restaurant union and others marched through downtown Pleasanton Saturday to protest a lockout of 60 union employees from Castlewood Country Club over a contract dispute that centered on who must pay for health care benefits

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, December 18, 2011, 2:16 PM

Comments (31)

Posted by common sense, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2011 at 6:27 pm

The 2nd anniversary of being locked out because no agreement could be reached. I wonder what is planned for the 10th anniversary.

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Can somebody shed light on the basis for the case that the union has brought to the NLRB? Facts, please. Google returns lots of opinions either way, but little factual information. Thanks.

Posted by Arroyo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2011 at 6:54 am

I wonder how many of the marchers were actual workers from Castlewood, and how many are simply other union members picking up a paycheck for "strike duty"? The article states "50 from a hotel and restaurant union and others marched".

Posted by Gloria, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 19, 2011 at 8:22 am

Why doesn't one of the reports check out what these works were offered and refused. How much do the works think Castlewood have to spend. They are losing members. Do these works not understand people drop membership in a golf club when these get stuff. Maybe the have unreasonable demands. No one is reporting that.

Posted by Matt, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2011 at 8:50 am

60 new people took those jobs and are doing a terrific job.
The can do attitude of the new workers is so much better.

The union convinced the old workers to strike. I would bet none of the old workers found jobs that were asgood as what they were offered in contract negotiations.

Posted by Whata Crock, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2011 at 9:02 am

Pleasanton Weekly:
Would you please publish which Tri-Valley churches are backing this protest. Those of us that have some thinking capability can then boycott those churches.

Posted by Tom, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 19, 2011 at 9:06 am

Most of the unions and their employees can't be blamed for wanting to hold on to what they have. The reality however is that Americans are now in a global economy with stiff competition from other countries and can't afford pay and benefit levels to which we've become accustomed.

If a service or product is not competitive in the market place people will go elsewhere. Americans are now expected to contribute to their own retirement and healthcare.

Also, on a local level, Castlewood members vote with their feet when they think they are not getting value for their dues.

The work ethic, attitude and customer service orientation has improved immeasurably since the new employees came on board.

Posted by Whata Crock, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2011 at 9:17 am

People that are not members of Castlewood can go to the restaurant as guests. This would be a great time to help them out, have a great meal, enjoy the view, support "right to work" and vote with you feet against unions that are syphoning out your wallet at every turn.

Posted by Vic, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2011 at 11:23 am

Great job, interrupting the Downtown businesses that are already struggling to make a go of it really makes a lot of sense, I hope they spent some money Downtown while they were protesting in a losing battle, it's not the Employer, it's the Union, that is the problem.

Posted by Klisvak, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Kristi Laughlin, project director of the East Bay Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, had solicited support from St. Augutstine Catholic Church, Trinity Lutheran Church of Pleasanton and Pleasanto Presbyterian Church.

Posted by Pro-Law, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2011 at 2:07 am

Why doesn't someone find out what other similar private clubs in similar economic areas (maybe even in the Bay Area) provide their employees? Also, determine if those clubs are still able to profit or not with those pay rates and benefits packages.

Whichever side the answer makes look better should flaunt those numbers!

Posted by Marie, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 20, 2011 at 9:51 am

No other private clubs or public clubs are union!!

Posted by union?, a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 20, 2011 at 10:32 am

Did you know that even our own Pleasanton Callipe municipal course is not union? Instead of the City hiring staff at union wages, they went with a firm that gives a good service without having to deal with unions. If it were union run, the city would be loosing a ton of money. I remember during those city council meetings that Tom Pico and Jennifer Hosterman wanted the employees to be union (since they were both pandering to the unions at that time) but staff indicated that the financials would not even come close to penciling out if they did that, plus the other courses in the area were not union.

Posted by Whata Crock, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2011 at 10:38 am

OK, if Augustine Catholic Church, Trinity Lutheran Church of Pleasanton and Pleasanto Presbyterian Church are assisting unions in vacuuming out our wallets and encouraging illegal immigration, then their parishoners should politely not deposit their money in the offering, but instead leave a note in the offering plate/basket that they will contribute in the future if these churches knock of these offending practices.

Posted by Whata Crock, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2011 at 10:44 am

Wow, how did the fact that Callipe is not unionized escape The Three Stooges on the City Council. I expect the Hippy Mayor and the other two stooges will take action to rectify that oversight in short order, else they PO thier union masters.

Posted by Some Answers, a resident of Castlewood
on Dec 20, 2011 at 7:02 pm

To Joe: There are two charges that are being brought against the club. One is that a manager effectively told an employee to find another job, that there would be no settlement. The other more serious charge is that the club stopped negotiating in good faith. The claim is that they had reached tentative agreement on provisions of seniority, among other things, and that these were improperly taken off the table. The restitution would be back wages to the locked out workers and reinstating them in their jobs. But appeals and legal fees will no doubt be thrown at this by Castlewood.

To Pro-Law: The benefits to the union workers were much better than similar clubs in the area. The offer made by Castlewood was about a 50% cost reduction and would bring them down to about the median compared to other East Bay clubs. The union counter offer was about a 30% cost reduction and would bring them down to around around the 70th percentile.

To Whata Crock: You'd probably have to start attending a church to reasonably be able to boycott one. Callipe is not union because the workers there have not voted to be in one.

To Marie: Two other East Bay clubs have union greenskeepers. It's not up to the management or the club members whether or not they will have organized workers. It's up to the workers themselves. Denying that right results in action by the NLRB, as Castlwood is learning.

Posted by union?, a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 20, 2011 at 8:26 pm

There would be no advantage for the Callipe workers to unionize. If they did unionize, they would most likely demand more money or less output, and then the city would replace the company under contract with another company who was not unionized. Then they would be out of a job. The city would not have to negotiate with any of the workers.

If Castlewood ends up with more legal problems, they might want to change from direct hire to going out to bid to a company to provide the service (and let them hire the workers). Have a contract up for bid every 5 years or so. In 5 years, companies can again compete for the business. Should the current company have workers in a union with demands that bring the cost up too much, all the workers will most likely be out of work if another company can provide the service for less. It is called supply and demand, or capitalism.

Posted by Lisa, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Best Wishes to the Union and its members in their lawsuit.

Posted by guest, a resident of Danville
on Dec 20, 2011 at 10:44 pm

To "Some Answers", the logic is in your response. Two points; "The benefits to the union workers were much better than similar clubs in the area". Precisely, with rising health care costs, these benefits became financially untenable. Second with respect to Callipe and the Pleasanton City Council, the issue isn't that the workers opt to be union or not, it is the hypocrisy of politicians grandstanding on the merits of "fair and humane" treatment of workers when in reality the city pays much less in wages and benefits than the contract offered by Castlewood. Another consideration, the Union has refused to allow the affected workers to vote on the management offers. The original shop foreman (correct term?) advocating this position was replaced.

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2011 at 10:54 pm

To Some Answers:
Thanks. I need to learn more about unions, negotiating with unions, and the law. As I understand things, the contract between Castlewood and the union had expired or was about to expire. If that's the case, then what is the issue with a Castlewood manager telling an employee (an ex-employee or a soon-to-be-ex-employee) anything? Next, concerning the charge that Castlewood stopped negotiating in "good faith" -- if the contract was up, why are there rules (laws?) governing negotiation at all? I would think that any communication, any negotiation, would be in good faith. The alternative would be no communication.

I understand that it is unlawful for an employer to attempt to threaten or otherwise prevent employees from staying in an existing union, or from organizing themselves into a union. From what I understand about Castlewood, none of this happened. The contract was simply up, and Castlewood decided to shop elsewhere for its labor.

Is this whole union rights and negotiation governance really as burdensome and intrusive at it appears to be?

Posted by Steve, a resident of Parkside
on Dec 21, 2011 at 7:56 am

Joe, the fact that union lawyers are involved in these negotions, by definition, makes the whole process burdensome and intrusive. As you figured out by now, like spoiled children who don't get what they want, their tactic is to scream and intimidate anyone involved in the process and to lobby those sympathetic fools who always believe that the businesses that hire these workers are at fault when negotiations break down.
This episode is like a criminal trial taking place In a public's time the union moves on, just like these former employees had to. It's all for show now....the union trying to save face and to act like they are still relevant. They continue to garner attention from bleeding hearts with misplaced sympathies, as though that tactic ever works with thinking people who don't run their lives on phony emotional ploys.

Posted by Real Answers, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 21, 2011 at 9:06 am

To Some Answers
The one important point that you forgot to mention is that the charges brought by the union against Castlewood were originally dismissed by the regional office of the NLRB. The union appealed that decision to the NLRB in Washington DC who determined that a there should be a hearing. The hearing will be held in January. You also make the assumption that the union will prevail in their case, which could be very optimistic on your and the unions part since Castlewood has already prevailed at the first level. Remember that the union is the one that has lost round one already.

Posted by marie, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 21, 2011 at 10:02 am

Real Answers~the hearing should have happened in November but the union was not ready with it's witnesses. What would the union have done if Castlewood had not been ready??

Posted by JP, a resident of Castlewood
on Dec 21, 2011 at 12:04 pm

It's amazing that the NLRB is willing to postpone a case on appeal by the Union when the union itself is not ready to present witnesses. It should have been thrown out! The negotiation has already come to an implied decision in that Castlewood already has replaced the workers with equally compentent workers at much better costs, whom members have been getting to know for 2 years. The displaced union workers, in recent quotes from Ms. Hedge and Ms. Norr (both active Union reps/leaders) continue to "suffer quite a bit" and "many have only been able to find part-time work". The answer is right in front of everyone!! but this Unions leadership is not interested in protecting their members, instead would rather Union Grandstand in an attempt to use Union Solidarity to strong-arm a viable employer into above market wages. Not could for society nor the economy!! Castlewood last offer was above the mean/median of all other similar job offers and above market levels.

Posted by JP, a resident of Castlewood
on Dec 21, 2011 at 1:00 pm

to Some Answers: it's distinguished for Castlewood to avoid posting the total comp-- pay/benefits, however; probably appropriate to post by you or the Union if it's truly unfair.... heck, show us the complete analysis-- after all vague statements can be very misleading...and we don't want to fool anyone into blind union support.

Posted by RestOfStory, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 21, 2011 at 10:32 pm

To date the locked out workers have been prevented by their own union from voting on any one of the many contract offers from Castlewood. This is all about a power play of some union bosses from Oakland that are trying to build their own resume on the backs of the workers whose interests they are paid (through dues) to represent. This intransigence on the part of the union bosses, and not any problems with the union employees, was the reason that Castlewood locked them out. Prior to the lockout, the union bosses would not even offer any counter offers to Castlewood. I feel sorry for the workers. Their replacements are doing a great job, but none of this would have happened, were it not for the union bosses.

Posted by Some Answers, a resident of Castlewood
on Dec 22, 2011 at 12:16 am

To guest: The benefits were too high, that's why the union is offering a 30% concession to the club in the cost of benefits. The club says it wants 50%, but what it really wants is no union. I get it. No management wants a union, but the NLRA is still the law of the land. As for Callipe, the issue of fair and humane treatment the city council has called for revolves around the lockout action taken by the club, benefits aren't even mentioned: Web Link The workers at Callipe haven't voted to unionize and have not been locked out of their jobs, so where's the hypocracy?

To Joe: Labor law in general is complex. It is an unfortunate, but necessary, part of our society. The very fact that a group of low wage workers were told that they would have a 50% reduction in health benefits, take it or leave it, speaks volumes for the one sided power of management. Even though the workers have agreed to a 30% reduction, they have been forced out of their jobs by club management rather than find a workable compromise.

To JP: Be careful trusting the updates you hear from the club. They said the workers would accept the contract after the lock out, two years later and no end in sight. They said the workers would vote to decertify the union, the vote was 41-17 against. Now they say the union can't get witnesses for the hearing on the 9th. That's not what I've heard. What's at stake is $1.6M in back wages, oh yea, club management says it will only be $300k if they lose. Like I said, be careful.

To RestOfStory: The workers voted to keep their union after the lockout. The majority have signed petitions supporting their union negotiating team. How many votes have the Castlewood members had on the union proposals? Zero.

Posted by JP, a resident of Castlewood
on Dec 22, 2011 at 10:09 am

To Some Answers:

Club updates are irrelevant at this point... the market has determined the resolve of this labor dispute in terms of compensation. Castlewood has a full staff at market rates, the displaced Union employees continue to suffer and make due with part-time work-- AND for two years now. What don't you understand? The only issue now is this Union's strong arm tactics (pulling on Union Solidarity) to force a resolve on their demands...The expectation of any Union leader or union supporters to expect more than they deserve because you have the leverage of Union solidarity to disrupt business and peace is not only dracarion, but should be illegal. I can't imagine anyone on this thread would believe your inference that Unitehere 2850 isn't in control of the labor side of the dispute- it's unfortunate that they have made the very poor decisions to keep their members out of work and continue their suffering.

Posted by JP, a resident of Castlewood
on Dec 22, 2011 at 10:22 am

To Some Answers: however again, please feel free to share your specific information-- it's your updates that we need to be careful about..."about", "around" "not what you heard"??? shoot straight--post your numbers for all to see. Ie what does Pleasanton pay workers at Callippe vs Castlewoods last offer. My hunch is the Union hasn't done that yet in fear that blind union supporters would disappear.

Posted by confused, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2011 at 6:28 pm

I'm a bit confused. . . I thought that it was Sullivan who wanted the City Council to vote on a Resolution for the workers and was supported by the Mayor and her sidekick Cook-Kallio. Thorne and McGovern voted no well actually McGovern had to abstain as she is a member but would have voted no. Don't think that makes McGovern and Thorne union stodges as one poster indicated.

Posted by guest, a resident of Danville
on Dec 22, 2011 at 9:19 pm

To "Some Answers". We appear to agree on some points. For Castlewood it has always been about wages and benefits. In my opinion, it is the Union and it's political supporters that are using Castlewood as an example to retain power. The union represents approximately 60 workers at Castlewood. However, the same union represents thousands in the area hotel industry and might explain why the displaced workers have not been allowed to vote on the contract offers. My understanding, the current offer is above market median and superior to some including what Pleasanton pays it's workers at Callipe, as one example. This conflict is either about union power or wages and benefits. If it is the latter, do you not see the hypocrisy for an activist on the Pleasanton Council to pressure Castlewood on grounds of "fair and humane" treatment? How much "fairer" can the club be than to offer benefits superior to what these same activists are paying for workers (which they have the ability to affect).

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