Union food workers at Castlewood Country Club are declaring victory after a three-year contract struggle with club management came to an end earlier this month, UNITE HERE Local 2850 said in press release Thursday.
Workers voted 44-1 on Feb. 13 to approve a deal that will have workers pay $225 a month for family health care — the same amount the union proposed before the lockout started in February 2010, according to Local 2850.
“So many people told us that dishwashers and waitresses couldn’t win against millionaires,” server Jeanette Cardenas said. “But we’ve learned that it doesn’t matter who you are, if you stay strong and you’re on the side of justice.”
The lockout was due to failed contract negotiations between the club and workers, specifically on how much money workers should pay for health care costs.
Local 2850 says that club management originally wanted workers to pay $739, while the union stuck to its $225-a-month proposal.
A long stalemate ensued, but the tide started to turn last August when the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Castlewood had maintained an unlawful lockout for the previous two years. In October, the lockout ended.
The new contract also also includes strong seniority language and protections against subcontracting, raises and a substantial signing bonus.
With the dispute over, Castlewood workers are encouraging clients to return to the club.
“This isn’t just our victory,” said Janitor Francisca Carranza. “So many people in the community, political leaders, pastors and other workers marched with us. Now we hope workers everywhere see this and understand that you don’t have to give up everything you’ve worked for. You can stand up for your family and win.”