Union marks lockout anniversary with Castlewood rally

Cars lined both sides of the street for nearly a half mile as close to 200 people turned out Saturday to mark the one-year anniversary of the lockout of Castlewood workers.

Bartenders, kitchen helpers, waiters and other hourly full-time and part-time employees, about 60 in all, were locked out of the country club on Feb. 25, 2010, in a dispute over health care costs.

Union members and others, including local officials, union leaders, members of a number of locals and even some ordinary people, came out on the cold winter morning for a march and rally near the club.

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Contra Costa Times: No end in sight in year-old Pleasanton country club dispute

It has been a year since cooks, servers, dishwashers and other hospitality workers at Castlewood Country Club were locked out in a labor dispute that seems to have no end in sight.

Since Feb. 25 last year, workers and supporters have maintained a near-daily vigil at the club with sign-holding workers and supporters reminding residents and management that they are not going away.

Workers, union leaders, elected government officials, religious leaders and a brass band observed the anniversary Saturday with a rally at the normally serene hillside club southwest of the city limits.

Club officials say they are optimistic about the prospects for a new contract, but union leaders say Castlewood offers are getting progressively worse.

Health coverage was the main issue in renewing the contract, which covered workers who averaged $12.50 an hour and worked from 16 to 172 hours per month. The contract ended in September 2009 and had fully covered medical benefits for workers with a minimum amount of hours, said Sarah Norr, representative for Unite Here! Hospitality Workers Union Local 2850, which covers about 60 club workers.

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Concord hotel workers keep protesting health care costs, imposed 21 months ago

For the past 21 months, the workers at the Concord Holiday Inn have been calling for a boycott of their own hotel. At the end of the month, it will become a Red Lion Hotel — but their calls for a boycott haven’t changed.

Workers remain upset about management’s July 2009 imposition of a contract that raised family health care costs by about $700 per month. When housekeepers earn around $10 per hour, that $700 is an impossibly steep cost, union officials say.

In 2009, a lawyer for the company’s owners said the hotel had to change the workers’ contract. It could not afford to keep spending $1,300 per month on health care for some workers — more than $15 per hour just in health care expenses for some employees.

Workers regularly rally in front of the hotel to make their case. Earlier this month, they brought along an 8-foot-tall Grinch puppet as a prop.

None of the union workers at the hotel can afford to have family medical coverage any more, said Lian Alan, a spokesman for UNITE HERE Local 2850, the workers’ union.

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Hotel Workers Sing Carols to Demand Benefits from Employer

December 17, 2010

It’s that time of the year again for Christmas carols.  But for some disgruntled workers of the Holiday Inn in Concord, California — there’s nothing to be cheerful about this holiday season.

The workers and their union held a protest last night in front of their hotel — with a 12-foot Grinch — representing their anger towards their employer.

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Watch the video below:

Locked-out Castlewood Workers Parade in Protest

More than 200 labor leaders and workers protested a months-long lockout from Castlewood Country Club on Sunday.

With this weekend’s rains clearing up just in time, protesters marched from Civic Park to the country club.

The parade-style march was the latest in a long line of demonstrations organized by former employees and labor representatives from Castlewood Country Club, where talks between managers and the club’s employee union have languished since the original union contract expired in September 2009.

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Locked-Out Country Club Workers to Stage Thanksgiving Parade Through Pleasanton

For Immediate Release: Thursday November 18, 2010
Contact:  Nischit Hegde/510-219-6346/[email protected]

Workers, Political Leaders, Clergy call on Club to End Lockout for Holidays

What: Hayride and parade to end the Castlewood Country Club lockout

Who: Assembly member Nancy Skinner, Pleasanton City Councilmember Matt Sullivan, local faith leaders, locked-out Castlewood workers and their families, community and labor allies, Unite Here Local 2850

Where: Parade beginning on the green at Bernal Ave and Main Street in Pleasanton. Procession along Main Street and Sunol Boulevard to Castlewood Country Club, in front of the Valley Golf Course near Castlewood Drive and Foothill Road, Pleasanton CA

When: Sunday November 21, 2010 from 2pm to 4:30pm

Visuals: Horse drawn hayride, marching band, speeches by elected officials, religious leaders presenting food baskets to workers’ families, giant inflatable turkey. Interview opportunities from locked out workers and union representatives, elected officials, and clergy available.

Pleasanton, CA:  Locked-out workers from Castlewood Country Club are taking to the streets of downtown Pleasanton this Thanksgiving in a colorful parade and hayride. Armed with a horse-drawn carriage, an inflatable turkey, and a brass band – and accompanied by local political and religious leaders – the workers will call on Castlewood to end its nine-month lockout and let them return to their jobs in time for the holidays.

“The Pleasanton community has supported us so much through this difficult time – churches have collected food for our families, the Mayor and City Council  have spoken up for us,” said Castlewood janitor Francisca Carranza. “Now we’re bringing all our allies together to march to the Club and let them know that this has gone on too long. There’s still time for our managers to listen to the community, show compassion for our families, and let us return to work for the holiday season.”

Clergy and lay leaders from eight local churches have gathered food baskets to bring Thanksgiving to locked-out workers’ families, and will conduct a prayer service asking Castlewood managers to open their hearts to the workers and engage in a meaningful conversation about solutions.

Although workers and union representatives have met regularly with Club negotiators, the Club’s proposals have only moved backwards over the course of the lockout. On August 30th, the National Labor Relations Board’s General Counsel issued a complaint against Castlewood Country Club for “interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees” and “failing and refusing to bargaining [sic] collectively and in good faith.”

“First my managers tried to make health care so expensive that I’d have to drop my kids from the plan. Then they locked us out and told us they’d only let us come back if we voted out our union. Now they are telling us that they like their temporary workers better than us, and want to be able to lay us off and keep them working in the future,” said cook Angel Melendez. “Through it all, we have stayed strong and found that we have more friends that we ever imagined. That gives us strength to keep on fighting till we win a contract that’s fair for our families.”