Chronology of the Castlewood Lockout
Sept. 1, 2009 – The Castlewood workers’ union contract expired.
Sept. – Dec. 2009 – Club managers and the union met regularly to negotiate a new contract. The Club proposed made more than 60 “take-aways.” The union agreed to some of these proposals and reached reasonable compromises on others, including a wage freeze, increases in workers’ health care payments, and other measures to save the Club money.
Dec. 23, 2009 – The Club presented a “last and final” contract proposal that would have raised workers’ family health care contributions to $739 a month, making health care unaffordable to many of the workers’ 67 spouses and children on the Club health plan. Workers met and decided to keep negotiating in hopes of reaching an agreement to keep health care affordable.
Feb. 24, 2010 – The Club presented a new “last and final” proposal with the same health care costs and demanded that the union accept it or workers would be locked out. The union offered to present a counter-proposal that would be CHEAPER for the Club than management’s offer.
Feb. 25 – The Club locked workers out.
Feb. 26 – The union presented a proposal that was cheaper than the Club’s offer. The union estimated that its proposal would save the Club about $10,000 a month over the old contract. The Club continued the lockout.
March 2 – April 2 – The Club campaigned for the locked-out workers to decertify their union. Managers held meetings in which they told workers that they could come back to work the next day if they decertified, but would stay locked out if they chose to keep their union.
April 2 – Workers voted 41-17 to keep their union.
April 8 – The Club filed objections to the election, alleging that workers were paid or threatened to vote for the union. An administrative law judge found no merit to the allegations, and the election was upheld.
April 27 – After workers voted to keep their union, Club managers said they were unavailable to meet until nearly a month later. After that, Club representatives were “unavailable” to meet more than once every four to six weeks for the next six months.
May 5 – The Club went to court to seek a Temporary Restraining Order that would have kept locked-out workers off Club property AND nearby public sidewalks. The Court denied the TRO request and the Club later dropped the case.
May 7-9 – During Mother’s Day weekend, Castlewood workers held a hunger strike on the steps of the Club, demanding that the Club stop trying to starve workers into accepting an unfair contract.
June 28 – Thirty-one Castlewood members submitted a letter to the Club’s board, urging them to accept the fact that workers had chosen to keep their union and resolve the labor dispute quickly.
August 13 – The Club met with the union and presented new proposals that represented a major step backward in bargaining. The proposals would give the Club the right to lay off long-time workers and keep newer employees, even if it could not show that the long-term workers had done anything wrong. The Club explained that they wanted to keep some of the temporary replacement workers hired during the lockout, and that some of the locked-out workers “might not make it.” So workers were given no guarantee they would get their jobs back even if they accepted the Club’s offer. The Club’s proposal also allowed subcontracting of union workers’ jobs, and made it optional for new workers to join the union and pay dues.
August 30 – the National Labor Relations Board’s General Counsel issued a complaint against Castlewood Country Club, alleging that it “has been interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees” and “failing and refusing to bargaining [sic] collectively and in good faith.” The complaint alleged threats of discipline made against workers who distributed union flyers during non-work hours.
October 18 - The union filed another Unfair Labor Practice charge: “During the past six months, the above-named Employer has failed and refused to bargain in good faith, including but not limited to by refusing to meet for bargaining at reasonable times and by continuing to lockout employees in support of an illegal bargaining position. The Employer’s proposal to eliminate seniority as the basis for scheduling work and layoffs and/or to allow replacement employees to displace locked out employees after the lockout ends is unlawful.”
November 21 – about 250 Castlewood workers, family members, faith leaders and congregants, members of other unions, students, elected officials and local residents held a Thanksgiving march and hayride across Pleasanton, calling on the club to let workers return to their jobs for the holiday season. Eight local churches distributed Thanksgiving food baskets for the workers’ families.
January 6, 2011 – Both the union and the club presented slightly modified contract offers. The union’s proposal would save the Club an estimated 30% of its costs for union workers’ health care. The Club’s proposal would save 55% of the same costs – by asking workers to pay $849 per month for family health coverage. The cost difference between the two proposals came out to about 29 cents per member per day.
January 15 – Castlewood held its annual membership meeting and presented data showing that its operating revenue for 2010 was $550,000 below budget. The report also showed over $300,000 in legal expenses related to the lockout, including $57,000 spent trying to persuade workers to decertify the union.
Late January – at least 10 major golf tournaments scheduled to be held at Castlewood in 2010 – including St. Mary’s College, the Oakland Athletics, and the San Leandro Boys and Girls Club – confirmed that they would not return in 2011.
February 25 – On the first anniversary of the lockout, more than 60 Pleasanton and East Bay faith leaders published an open letter calling on Castlewood to resolve the conflict. The letter appeared in the Pleasanton Weekly, the Tri-Valley Herald, and the Valley Times.
February 26 – The workers – joined by County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, State Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski, and more than 200 other supporters – held a street party and rally outside the Club to celebrate a year of resistance to the lockout.
June 23 – 24 people were arrested in a peaceful civil disobedience protest at Castlewood’s largest member tournament of the year.
August 26, 2011 – the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board issued a Complaint charging that Castlewood has maintained an unlawful lockout “in order to deny the Locked Out Employees the right to return to their former positions of employment because the Locked Out Employees joined and/or supported the Union, and to discourage employees from engaging in Union activities.” The complaint cited the Club’s August 2010 proposals on seniority and union security.
January 9-March 1, 2012 – NLRB Administrative Law Judge Clifford Anderson conducted a 9-day hearing on the complaint. A decision is expected in June.
February 25 – Castlewood workers marched across Pleasanton on the second anniversary of their lockout. They were joined by over 300 supporters: union members, faith leaders, a babies’ and children’s brigade, a brass band, and a contingent from Occupy Oakland. Arriving at the Club, the crowd witnessed a truly rare sight – Castlewood’s golf course roped off and deserted on a sunny Saturday morning! The only golfers around were a group of bejeweled millionaires identifying themselves as “Save the 1%” and bearing signs like “Golfing is Human Right” and “Sick Kids = Communists.”
March 13 - The East Bay Express reported that Castlewood’s lawyer, Robert Hulteng of Littler Mendelson, admitted to doctoring his notes from Castlewood contract negotiations after the union filed charges against the Club. The notes were used as evidence in the NLRB hearing.
August 17 – Administrative Law Judge Clifford Anderson of the National Labor Relations Board found that Castlewood had maintained an unlawful lockout since August 10, 2010. He found that Castlewood engaged in bad faith bargaining during the lockout, at least partly in response to anti-union sentiment among Club members. He recommended that the NLRB order Castlewood to end the lockout and pay workers back wages. For more information about Judge Anderson’s decision, click here.
September 26 – After a series of settlement conferences with Local 2850, Castlewood announced that it planned to end the lockout. No agreement was reached on a new contract or on back wages.
October 16 – 47 of the 61 locked-out Castlewood workers returned to work – after two years, seven months and 21 days. Federal law requires that Castlewood provide workers with the same wages, benefits and working conditions they had before the lockout, while negotiations for a new contract continue. These include strong seniority protections and affordable family medical insurance. Workers plan to continue their public campaign and boycott until the Club agrees to a fair contract and back wage resolution. Castlewood said that it had not yet decided whether to appeal Judge Anderson’s decision.