Demonstrators from the union that represents unionized hourly workers at Castlewood Country Club who have been locked out of their jobs for more than 100 days protested in front of the club's lower golf course over the weekend to demand that the Club end the lockout and return to the bargaining table with the union they represent.
"We voted to keep our union 41-17 despite being locked out," said Sergio Gonzales, who had been a banquet server at Castlewood for five years before the lockout began
"The club challenged that vote and lost at the NLRB," he said. "It's time they stop this insanity and let us go back to work."
Under federal law, the union cannot be decertified for a year.
The lockout began on February 25 when management turned away employees when they reported to work, said union spokeswoman Nischit Hegde.
She said negotiations stalled when the club insisted that their hourly employees contribute $739 per month toward their family health care costs, nearly 40 percent of the average take-home pay of the locked out employees.
The club agreed, however, to continue paying the full cost of health care premiums for those with single coverage plans.
Workers offered to increase their share of health costs from 0 to $225 per month, restrict health benefits to full-time employees, and accept a wage freeze in the first year and very low raises in later years, Hegde said. These concessions would more than offset the costs of retaining family medical benefits, she added..
In a statement issued by UniteHere!, the union representing about 65 of Castlewood's hourly workers, the club has spent $337,000 on expenses related to the labor dispute.
"With that kind of money, how can they say they can't afford our kids' health care?," asked Maria Munoz, who had been a janitor at the club for the last six years. "It doesn't make sense to me."
Last month, workers voted to join the union's Strike and Defense Fund, a fund meant to protect workers from economic actions made by their employer, Hegde said. With this vote, locked out Castlewood workers now have access to $185,000 to help them with living expenses while they are locked out.
Additionally, because EDD ruled that the lockout is an offensive action on the part of the club, workers can receive unemployment benefits.
"This is really important to me because now I know I can keep fighting for many more months for a fair contract and an end to this lockout without being starved into a deal that would essentially be a 40 percent pay cut for me," said Francisca Carranza, who was a maintenance worker at the club for six years.
Castlewood management has declined to comment on the lockout.