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.
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.