Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Castlewood Lockout Deemed Illegal

By Rachel Swan
Wed, Aug 22, 2012 at 11:33 AM

After two years of scuffling, an administrative law judge has finally deemed the Castlewood Country Club lockout illegal. Judge Clifford Anderson of the National Labor Relations Board maintained that the tony Pleasanton club, which came to loggerheads with workers in 2010 amid a dispute over health care, no longer showed any intent of bargaining to reach an agreement.

“I find that that the Club had abandoned its earlier good faith bargaining for a new contract," Anderson wrote in his August 17 opinion, tracing the date of Castlewood's malfeasance to August 10, 2010 — the day Castlewood held its first bargaining session with representatives of UNITE HERE Local 2850, the labor union representing the club's locked out staff. During that session, Castlewood's lawyer, Rob Huelting, was quoted arguing that the country club members "get superior service now," a statement he later tried to redact, as we reported in the Express. That, Anderson said, was evidence enough of a brewing "animus" toward both the union and the locked out employees. It also suggested that Castlewood wanted to change the contract in ways that had nothing to do with health care, by adding provisions that would allow it to fire the old workers and replace them with a new, non-unionized, potentially cheaper labor force.

Workers and union representatives picketing outside Castlewood
  • Workers and union representatives picketing outside Castlewood
Anderson recommended that the National Labor Relations Board reinstate the locked out workers with two years of backpay and benefits, a decision that thrilled both the employees and their union. So far, Castlewood hasn't budged, UNITE HERE representatives say, with the caveat that they will try to set up settlement talks next week — as of now, Castlewood has a month to decide whether it wants to ask the National Labor Relations Board in Washington to review Anderson's opinion. They'll hold a picket outside the country club at 5 p.m. today demanding an end to the lockout. Community supporters are invited to participate; the union has more info available here.

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