PLEASANTON -- Union members could receive millions in back wages and benefits after an administrative law judge found that Castlewood Country Club has maintained an illegal lockout for more than two years.
Judge Clifford Anderson of the National Labor Review Board, has recommended the labor board order Castlewood to reinstate all locked-out workers and pay them up to roughly $3.4 million in two years of back wages and benefits.
Anderson's finding was released Friday.
The lockout at the plush country club nestled in the Pleasanton hills began Aug. 10, 2010.
Union members are ecstatic about the recommendation, however they say they will wait to fully celebrate until after Castlewood responds to the recommendation.
Castlewood has 28 days from the time the finding was handed down to either accept the terms and pay the workers, or move forward with an appeal.
"This is not a gentle suggestion," said Sarah Norr, spokesperson for UNITE HERE Local 2850, which represents the locked out workers.
Jerry Olson, general manager of Castlewood, said the club was surprised and disappointed by the judge's finding, but that the club respects the judge's authority. He said it has been such a short time since the finding was released that the country club has only begun the process of evaluating options.
He added, however, that he is hopeful the finding will lead to a contract and bring an end to the labor dispute.
The lockout has been going on since February 2010, when Castlewood locked union workers out of the country club after labor contract negotiations turned sour.
According to Norr, a "big step backwards" occurred just six months after the lockout began when Castlewood took an aggressive stance on contract proposals.
In total, 61 union workers were displaced, and while some have since found jobs, Norr said many union members she has spoken to would like to return to work at the country club.
Michael York, a union worker who has never found another job since being locked out roughly two-and-a-half years ago, said he has had to make some adjustments to his life, but it has not been as drastic as others.
"It's just myself, and I've been doing OK," he said.
But would he go back to work at Castlewood after all the disputes?
"Sure," he said. "It would be business as usual after a couple of weeks, I think."
Contact Katie Nelson at 925-847-2164 or follow her at Twitter.com/katienelson210