http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2012/03/02/occupiers-march-to-castlewood-country-club


Pleasanton Weekly

News - March 2, 2012

Occupiers march to Castlewood Country Club

Club spokesman responds to union claims, urges member vote

by Glenn Wohltmann

Between 300 and 350 people turned out for last weekend's Occupy Pleasanton event to protest the lockout of workers from Castlewood Country Club, now in its second year.

Pleasanton Police and Alameda County Sheriff's deputies escorted the marchers, but there were no arrests and the event concluded without incident.

While no one camped out, a group calling itself "Save the 1%" pitched tents near the golf course during the protest as a satirical gesture. That group, which carried signs like "The rich make the world work (for us)," and "Golfing is a human right," dressed in suits, ties and evening gowns and was featured this week in Mother Jones, a liberal magazine based in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, UniteHERE Local 2850, the union representing the 57 full- and part-time workers locked out of the country club, is awaiting a ruling from the National Labor Relations Board.

"The last day of the hearing is Thursday, March 1," said union organizer Sarah Norr. "From there, it will be another two or three months before a decision is issued."

Norr said negotiations between club management and the union have been called off for now.

"We have not been negotiating for the past couple months because everyone's been focused on the NLRB case. We will probably resume soon, but don't have a definite date yet," she said.

The dispute mainly revolves around health care benefits; Castlewood spokesman Vintage Foster, president of AMF Media Group, said the club wants the union to allow a vote on its final offer.

"About 40 of their members signed a petition that said, 'We want to vote on this offer,' and they have not been able to," Foster said. "The position was presented to us at the bargaining table."

While approving a vote doesn't mean it will pass, Foster questioned why the union is blocking it. He also said the union is looking for better health care coverage than most country clubs provide.

"What Castlewood Country Club has done is said, 'We're going to protect the employee' -- 100% of coverage of the single employee is covered in our proposal," Foster said. He said on average, East Bay country clubs pay 93% of health benefits for single employees and most pay an average of 48% of health care coverage for families; the club's proposal would pay 47%.

Foster noted that health care benefits have risen 113% in the last 10 years, but the club "has not passed a single dime of that cost onto its employees."

He said he's confident the club will win at the NLRB hearing, as it did in the last hearing.

Norr could not be reached for comment.

Foster said the cost of membership has dropped from about $85,000 to around $11,000, but said that was because of the economy, as is the case with many local clubs, and not the lockout. Castlewood has 800 regular members.

He admitted, however, that the club has lost business as a result of the strike.

"The union has gone to meet with organizations that want to have events at Castlewood and said, 'We will not support you or your business if you hold your event there,'" Foster said.

Comments

Posted by Larry Ferderber, a resident of Rosepointe
on Mar 2, 2012 at 9:24 am

Foster's comments on health care indicate that there is room for the Club to move toward the Union position and toward the norm for local country clubs, at no net cost, by raising the benefits for families and lowering them for singles. Furthermore, if the Union position is not already at the top of the local market as Forster states ("higher than most" is not the highest) then there is also room to try to find middle ground between the Club's and Union's positions and still stay competitive. After two years of stasis it seems like it is time to actively seek a solution to this costly impasse.


Posted by mike, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Larry,

After two years of openly trying to subvert the efforts of the board and the majority of the membership I wish you would get another hobby.


Posted by Arroyo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2012 at 1:33 pm

@Mike

Well put...!!


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 4, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Am I understanding this: "by raising the benefits for families and lowering them for singles." Sacrifice one part of the union membership in favor of another part of the union membership?


Posted by Tammy Nelson, a resident of Avila
on Mar 4, 2012 at 11:30 pm

We're supposedly one nation under god, but people with families get tax breaks. I guess a labor union might be criticized for raising benefits for families and lowering them for singles if, as Kathleen Ruegspicker believes, unions operate according to strict Stalinist principles.


Posted by Larry Ferderber, a resident of Rosepointe
on Mar 5, 2012 at 8:16 am

Progressive health care management has everyone paying some percentage of their health care costs, no free rides. The CCC plan (for non bargaining unit employees today and proposed for bargaining unit employees in the future) gives a free ride to single coverage employees. A move toward say 80% employer paid and 20% employee paid would both be better in terms of cost control and free up funds to cover more of the family benefits. Better benefits for employees with families is in CCC's best long-term interest in that employees with families are a more stable/reliable workforce. There is opportunity to move toward common ground on health care to the benefit of both sides.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 5, 2012 at 8:50 am

Larry, While your response raises a lot of questions for me, I appreciate the reasoned response.

Tammy, we weren't one nation "under god" until 1954. I'll let you search for the rest of that history lesson.


Posted by Tammy Nelson, a resident of Avila
on Mar 5, 2012 at 9:01 am

When the Union defeated the Confederacy we were brought into a more perfect union. Save the God lesson for Sunday school. Signed by a citizen of the UNITED States. Now, about these unfair tax breaks for families .... Surely as Kathlenn Rugsuggger says we can't expect unions to operate on the same principle! That would be contrary to unions' Stalinesque way of operating. We're all individuals.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 5, 2012 at 9:07 am

List the unfair tax breaks for families for me Tammy.


Posted by Tammy Nelson, a resident of Avila
on Mar 5, 2012 at 9:37 am

Well, because we are a nation of individuals, not a united nation, then of course ALL tax breaks for families are tyrannical. It advantages one group over those individuals who desire to remain childless. Tax breaks for families are bad, really really bad. If they can't afford to have kids without tax breaks, they shouldn't have kids. Period. It's the libertarian principle I share with Kathleen Rugesiggir.

And because we are a nation of individuals, unions are bad, really really bad. Because they are expressions of individuals organizing themselves in order to improve all kinds of namby-pamby ideals like workplace safety, collective bargaining, right to grieve, a fair wage for a fair day's work, and other socialist claptrap. Also, as Kathleen Rigsugger has told us many times, if you disagree with them they might poop in your car or write letters.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 5, 2012 at 11:01 am

Gollum, you haven't made a good point under any name you used so far. This has just MOTS as Tammy. Like most things, married vs. single isn't black and white:

Web Link


Posted by Tammy Nelson, a resident of Avila
on Mar 5, 2012 at 11:58 am

There's good old Kathleen what's her name, always quick to accuse and judge others, even when the point they make is in line with hers. Probably didn't have time for a well thought out response because she's cleaning out her car, or she couldn't find a link for 'well thought out response'.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm

We aren't in alignment. The link shows the tax disadvantages of being married with children over being single. It also shows a slight advantage of being married and childless over being single. I suppose I could find the tax tables so you could noodle out the info on your own, but I'll let you look for that link on your own. Anyway, way off topic. Start another one if you want to spend more time twisting in the breeze.