Three weeks ago, our employer, Castlewood Country Club, locked us out of work, and told us that we cannot come back to work unless we accept a proposal that would cause many of us and our families to lose our health care. The management’s proposal would raise the cost of family coverage to $739.00 per month. For an average worker who earns $12.52 an hour, that’s more than a week’s worth of wages, and is simply impossible.
For decades, our staff of 60 janitors, cooks, dishwashers, bussers, servers, bartenders and other workers have sacrificed increases in wages for affordable family medical coverage. In the proposal we submitted to the employer, we offered to pay $225.00 per month for family medical coverage, in addition to taking a wage freeze – making our proposal cheaper than the management’s offer. But the company flat-out rejected our proposal, and instead locked us out.
Being locked out for 21 days has been incredibly stressful for me and my family. I am a mother of two, Mildreth and Sebastian. My husband works as a car mechanic, but his income alone is not enough to raise a family, and I must also work to secure the future of my children. As we approach our fourth week of being locked out, I don’t know how I will pay my bills, and sometimes I even have nightmares about it. Even if the lockout ends, how will we secure affordable health coverage? Without affordable health care, what will I do if my kids get injured?
What gives me hope and inspires me to continue fighting are my co-workers. We have recognized that building strength together is the key to going back to the jobs we love. Some co-workers have less to lose than I do, but they are very much with us, leading chants, reaching out to community members, rain or shine. We’ve been fueled by members from the community, especially from other unions and faith organizations who have really lifted our spirits by walking the picket line with us, donating food, mobilizing committees and building community solidarity.
I came to America 13 years ago from Bogota, Columbia. At the time, I was in the process of getting a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. I came here for a better future. I left behind the comfort of my family and friends, while I struggled to learn a new language here and find a way to help support my growing family. I find strength in my colleagues as they have overcome the same challenges I have. We are here for a better future for ourselves and our families, and we’re not going to give it up without a fight.
Together, we will stop the intimidation of working people by businesses like Castlewood. Through our struggle, we know that we will be securing jobs that can support families and our future, and we invite you to join us tonight for our St. Paddy’s Day Picket, or come out and join the picket line on
Wednesdays: 8-11am and 5-7pm
Fridays and Saturdays: 8-11am and 5-8pm
Sundays 10-1pm and 5-7pm