Workers at Castlewood Country Club in Pleasanton have been locked out of their jobs for more than 30 months – longer than the siege of Leningrad. The workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 2850, have waged a courageous campaign to get their jobs back. But they've long claimed that their employer's hostility toward union supporters was making it impossible to reach an agreement. Now an NLRB judge has reached the same conclusion.
In an August 17 decision, Administrative Law Judge Clifford Anderson of the National Labor Relations Board found that Castlewood Country Club has maintained an illegal lockout since August 10, 2010. He recommended that the NLRB order Castlewood to reinstate the locked-out workers and pay them two years of back wages and benefits.
Castlewood cook Carlos Mejia:
We’ve been saying for two years that Castlewood wasn’t giving us a fair chance to get our jobs back. Now Judge Anderson has is saying the same thing. I hope this will be a wake-up call to the golfers that they need to stop stalling and put us back to work.
I find that that the Club had abandoned its earlier good faith bargaining for a new contract and, as of August 10, 2010, the Respondent was no longer bargaining in good faith with an intent to reach an agreement. Rather, it was unlawfully endeavoring to frustrate the bargaining process and reduce the possibility of the parties arriving at any agreement . . . I further find that the Respondent’s conduct on that date and the positions taken in bargaining on that day were undertaken because of its animus toward the Union and animus to the locked out employees who supported the Union in bargaining.
While workers welcomed the decision, they weren't ready to declare victory. Castlewood may still prolong the dispute by asking for a review of the decision from the NLRB in Washington, a process that could take months or years. In the meantime, workers are still locked out, and continue to stage daily picket lines.
Castlewood janitor Francisca Carranza:
We’re thrilled about the decision, but we know we could still have a long fight in front of us. We’ll be here for as long as it takes to get our jobs back and win a fair contract with health care for our kids. We know people in the community will stand behind us, just like they always have over the past two years.