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Workers locked out of the Castlewood Country Club in Pleasanton, California since February 25th, 2010 will be able to return to their jobs -- and health care coverage -- on October 16th.

After a judge ruled that Castlewood Country Club workers were illegally locked out for more than two years, the employees will be allowed to return Oct. 16.
A month ago a federal judge, finding that Castlewood Country Club had engaged in unfair labor practices and failure to negotiate in good faith, ordered the Castlewood workers reinstated with back pay, giving Castlewood management a month to appeal. Choosing not to appeal, management asked for and was granted additional time to negotiate a settlement with the workers and UNITE HERE, local 2850, the union that represents them. This is the first fruit of that negotiation.


This step, having the lockout end and returning the workers to their jobs under the terms of their old contract, is just the beginning, but it is incredibly important. It means that the worst of it is finally over for dozens of workers who have kept up the struggle for more than two and a half years. From UNITE HERE's press release:

"Ive been praying for this day to arrive," said Castlewood janitor Maria Munoz. "I feel really happy now, and thankful to all the people and organizations and churches and bands who have come out to support us. And most of all thankful for my co-workers, who were always out there looking out for each other -- I feel lucky that they’ve become like family to me."
A new contract, and the exact terms of how much back pay will be provided and to whom, are still to be negotiated.


Occupy Oakland and the Occupy Oakland Labor Solidarity Committee played a role in the Castlewood workers ultimate victory. We were not involved in the court case, but from the time the Castlewood workers first approached us for support late last year through this summer, Occupy Oakland peeps, myself included, have gone to and supported actions at Castlewood Country Club

As told in this diary, we staged a "Rally For The One Percent" back in February, drawing both public and press attention to the contrast between the one percent who are members of the country club and those who the club had laboring for them. Elites who demand and get the best health care without so much as a pre-existing condition worry, versus low-paid workers who were being asked to cough up as much as 50% of their wages to cover the cost of health care for their families.

We had such moving signs as




and staged a mock battle between the one percent and the protesters the result of which was ultimately foreshadowing.

Other activists and labor union members have stood alongside the Castlewood workers as well, some even going to jail after a protest blockade at Castlewood (shown in the aforlinked diary).

We want to thank everyone who stood by the workers throughout a long, hard campaign -- who marched across Pleasanton, brought Mother’s Day flowers for hunger strikers, donated to the hardship fund, spent 12 hours in Santa Rita, and so much more. Without your support, we could never have achieved this victory.
But let's be clear. This victory is due 99.99% to the Castlewood workers themselves..

I can't imagine protesting for more than two and half years; keeping up my spirits and having to find a way to feed my family day after day in a seemingly unending battle where sometimes no discernible forward motion was happening. Can you? I would likely have given up long ago.

That these workers were able to endure and ultimately prevail should go down in labor history. It may not be as powerful as the CLASSE union in Quebec ultimately having a hand in toppling the provincial government, or as dramatic as teachers in Chicago defying a powerful mayor, or as stirring as the ILWU shutting down ports in 1984 political protest against South African apartheid, but it is an incredible accomplishment for a band of 61 workers who simply would not give up.


And they did.


11:47 AM PT: More from the UNITE HERE Press Release:


On August 17, 2012, Administrative Law Judge Clifford Anderson of the National Labor Relations Board found that Castlewood had maintained an unlawful lockout for two years (see here for more detail).

In the wake of that decision, we met with locked-out workers to discuss their vision for a new contract. We also did a comprehensive survey of workers’ earnings during the lockout. Based on our findings, we estimated that Castlewood owes about $1.8 million in back wages and health care payments. (See here for more on how back wages are calculated).

We then held a series of meetings with Castlewood to discuss potential settlement. While the details of those discussions remain confidential, generally speaking we offered a fair settlement proposal that would resolve the contract negotiations and the NLRB case, cost the Club far less than $1.8 million above its contract proposal, and most importantly bring about labor peace.

So we were puzzled by Castlewood’s decision not to accept this proposal and settle the dispute entirely. However, we welcome the end of the lockout as an important step toward resolution.

Since there has been no overall settlement, Castlewood could still ask for a review of Judge Anderson’s decision from the NLRB in Washington. If the Club does this, workers will be back on the job, under the terms of a good contract, while the legal process goes forward.

We have another meeting with Castlewood scheduled for late October, and we’ll continue to negotiate toward a good contract and a fair resolution on the back wages.

In the meantime, the fight for justice at Castlewood isn’t over. Until we resolve the contract and the back wages, the boycott will continue – so we urge our friends in the community to refuse to patronize Castlewood, and to help spread the word about the ongoing boycott.

11:53 AM PT:
"This is a major victory- not just for Castlewood workers but for workers everywhere," she said. "This is such an extreme case that people around the country have been watching."

 -- Sarah Norr, UNITE HERE, via Pleasanton Patch

Originally posted to jpmassar on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 11:10 AM PDT.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, California politics, SFKossacks, Progressive Policy Zone, and Healthcare Reform - We've Only Just Begun.

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