Last weekend, cooks, dishwashers, servers and janitors from Castlewood Country Club in Pleasanton held a march and street party to mark the one-year anniversary of the Castlewood lockout and to celebrate their historic struggle to protect their job security, their families’ health care, and their union. They were joined by their families, County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, State Assemblymember Bob Wiekowski; Hayward City Councilmember Bill Quirk; Pleasanton residents; local faith leaders; the Alameda Labor Council; the Brass Liberation Orchestra; and members of numerous East Bay unions.
Despite the hardships of the past year, the mood was festive outside the club’s golf couse – a brass band played, cooks served homemade enchiladas to supporters, and kids took turns hitting a piñata with golf clubs.
Since February 25th, 2010, Castlewood has maintained a lockout of its 61 food service and janitorial workers, pressuring them to give up job security protections and pay about 40% of their wages for family health insurance.
Castlewood cook Angel Melende:
I've worked hard to serve Club members for 10 years. I never imagined they would throw me out in the street for a year, just because I want to be able to take my son to the doctor when he gets sick. But I also never imagined how strong and united my co-workers and I would become through this struggle.
Instead of giving in, the workers have waged an extraordinary year-long campaign to return to work and protect their families' health care, garnering broad support from Bay Area political leaders, congregations, unions, and community organizations. The NFL Players’ Association has taken a stand in support of the workers, and 60 Pleasanton and East Bay faith leaders published an open letter in three local newspapers this week, calling on Castlewood to show compassion for workers’ families.
According to Wei-Ling Huber, president of UNITE HERE Local 2850 (which represents the locked-out workers):
It's a lot like what is happening in my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin. Like Governor Walker, Castlewood is using the budget as an excuse, but it's never been about the money. What they're really fighting is very idea of the workers having the right to bargain collectively. Workers in Wisconsin are resisting, and inspiring others to stand with them – just like the Castlewood workers have.