East Bay Express: Castlewood Lawyer Doctored Evidence?

3/14/12 – The attorney for the upscale Pleasanton country club that locked out its workers is now on the hot seat.
By Rachel Swan

If there’s one area in which Occupy Oakland excels, it’s bringing sex appeal to seemingly dry populist issues — like fair wages and labor laws. A couple weeks ago the movement cast its eye toward a protracted dispute between workers and management at Pleasanton’s Castlewood Country Club, which, it turned out, served as a perfect allegory of the One Percent attacking the little guy. In fact, it’s even more perfect than occupiers might have anticipated. Court documents suggest that one of Castlewood’s lawyers doctored evidence in the case so the country club wouldn’t have to pay locked-out workers at least $1.7 million in back pay.

The fight actually started two years ago, when Castlewood locked out staff members following a dispute over health care — the club’s new contract demanded hefty contributions from employees who’d previously received it for free. The new fees were $366.93 for single policies per month and $739.08 for families. The conflict remains unresolved and Castlewood has hired a full “replacement” staff while locked-out workers continue to picket every day. By the time Occupy Oakland got involved, the country club had already tried a series of tactics that could be deemed “coercive,” including allegedly pressuring workers to decertify their union.

Now a new wrinkle has appeared, and it can only add fuel to fire. On March 1, Administrative Law Judge Clifford Anderson wrapped up a hearing for a complaint that the National Labor Relations Board had issued against Castlewood, alleging that the lockout was unlawful. It actually isn’t illegal to lock out workers to goad them into submission after a contract dispute, but certain changes that Castlewood allegedly was proposing — like trying to abrogate the country club’s seniority system, and making union membership optional, rather than mandatory — showed that Castlewood wasn’t just trying to win a fight over health care. It appears that it was trying to destroy the union, and replace a full staff of bartenders, janitors, and kitchen helpers with people who will do the same job at a lower price. And, union reps say, the country club has been obfuscating those intentions. Read the full article.

Mercury News: Occupy Oakland forces to join labor protest march to Castlewood Country Club on Saturday

2/24/12 – PLEASANTON — Protests over the lockout of cooks and cleaners at the Castlewood Country Club will ramp up Saturday when members of the Occupy movement join labor leaders in a march from downtown to the club.

Some from Occupy Oakland plan to pitch tents near the country club temporarily in a show of sympathy for workers on the two-year anniversary of the lockout, according to a notice from the group.

This is not the first labor protest at the club, but it could be the biggest. Organizers say they expect people from Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco to come. Read the full article.

2/25/12: 2 Years in the Streets – Fighting for the 99%!

We work at a playground for millionaires. Two years ago, they threw us out on the street because we wouldn’t give up affordable health insurance for our families.

We’re fighting for health care for our children.

We’re fighting for work with dignity.

We’re fighting to show the 1% that we are human beings.

We’re fighting for you.


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SATURDAY, February 25th, 2012
9:30 am
Meet at the corner of Bernal Ave and Main St, Pleasanton. March to Castlewood.

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PLEASE RSVP and invite friends – this is going to to be one of our biggest actions ever. Please let us know if workers can make a presentation at your school, union, community group, GA or encampment! For questions or rides, contact Matt at [email protected] or 510-239-3472.

Pleasanton Weekly: Castlewood’s locked out union workers march in downtown Pleasanton

December 15, 2011 – A group of former Castlewood Country Club unionized workers and their union’s representatives marched in downtown Pleasanton this morning to seek public support for their battle against the club.

Some in the group also represented Tri-Valley churches, which had been asked by the union to join in the Pleasanton demonstration. Read the full article.

Notice to Employees and Members


This Notice is being posted as part of a conciliation agreement between UNITE HERE, LOCAL 2850 (UNITE HERE) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Federal law requires that there be no discrimination against any employee, applicant for employment, or union member because of an individual’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, disability, age (40 and over), or genetic information with respect to hiring, promotion, firing, compensation, admission to membership, or other terms, conditions or privileges of employment or membership.

UNITE HERE supports and will comply with such federal law in all respects and will not take any action against employees because they have exercised their rights under the law.

Specifically, UNITE HERE will provide reasonable accommodation to its disabled members to the extent that such accommodation does not constitute an undue burden on itself. UNITE HERE will cooperate with employers where necessary and feasible to provide needed reasonable accommodation to its members.

This notice shall remain posted for three (3) years and shall not be defaced.

Date: 12/23/11

Signed: Wei-Ling Huber, President, UNITE HERE Local 2850

SF Chronicle: San Pablo Casino workers irked over no raises

Casino San Pablo might be drawing all aces these days, but luck may have run out for its workers.

Cocktail waitresses, bartenders, floor walkers and other union members are locked in a contract stalemate with the tribe that owns the booming East Bay gambling hub.

At issue: the 350-member tribe earned over $100 million last year on gaming revenues, yet is refusing raises to its employees, whose average salaries are $9.50 an hour.

“It seems like they’re turning their back on us,” Isidoro Saravia-Ramos, 58, a dishwasher at the casino for 10 years, said through a translator. “We want the casino to succeed, but we as workers need to succeed, too.”

The tribe offered a contract to its 200 union workers in May that included no raises and deep cuts in health insurance and other areas. New employees, for example, would start at 2002 wages and not be eligible for health insurance for a year.

Only four union members voted yes on the contract. The tribe then petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for help moving forward, but meanwhile negotiations with Unite Here Local 2850 remain at a standstill and tensions are high. Read the full article.