Union Workers at Castlewood Country Club Finally Get a New Contract


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Food service workers at Pleasanton’s tony Castlewood Country Club, locked out for nearly three years, finally have a new contract. Unite Here Local 2850, the labor union representing 45 cooks, servers, and bartenders at the club announced the approval today of their new three-year deal. The union also has called off its boycott of the club.

Rising health care costs had been a contentious issue between union and management, with management proposing a 40 percent increase in employee contributions to their health care plans. But under the deal, workers will pay the same amount each month as the union says it initially offered Castlewood management before it locked out its staff in February 2010.

  • File photo
Over the past few years, the small band of workers often seen picketing the country club, chanting union slogans, and blowing horns as wealthy club members passed by became a local symbol of the haves versus the have-nots. “So many people told us that dishwashers and waitresses couldn’t win against millionaires,” said Jeanette Cardenas, a server at the club. “But we’ve learned that it doesn’t matter who you are, if you stay strong and you’re on the side of justice.”

The long labor dispute was not without controversy. The union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) six months into the lockout after management’s new proposals featured significantly harsher demands over earlier negotiations. They included stripping away workers’ accrued seniority, making union dues optional, and allowing for unlimited subcontracting.

But, last August 2012, an administrative judge for the NLRB declared the lockout unlawful and slammed Castlewood management and its attorney for bargaining in bad faith. In the decision the judge found Castlewood’s general manager Jerry Olson told employees that “they could quit their jobs if they did not like [management’s] bargaining proposals.” Three months later, according to the ruling, a Castlewood manager threatened an employee with discipline for distributing union literature.

Employees returned to their jobs in October.


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