Monday, August 20, 2012

Pleasanton Country Club May Have To Pay Dearly For Illegally Locking Out Union Staff

LABOR | An administrative judge for the National Labor Relations Board has ordered Pleasanton’s swank Castlewood Country Club to reimburse union staff locked out for over 2 years up to $3.4 million in back wages and benefits stemming from what the judge ruled an unfair bargaining practices by the Tri-Valley resort.

The ruling handed down Aug. 17 is a major victory for the small cadre of locked out worker many of whom earn a paltry $12 in hourly wages while bussing tables and serving club members lunch and drinks.

Judge Clifford Anderson also found Castlewood management engaged in unfair bargaining with union members of UNITE HERE Local 2850. Anderson’s ruling contains a spate of blistering findings against Castlewood’s general manager Jerry Olson and a lawyer for the club who surreptitiously attempted to alter notes taken during a bargaining session with union representatives and a string of comments by club members asserting union membership would never be allowed at the high-priced country club.

In December 2009, the judge found Olson told employees “they could quit their jobs if they did not like [management’s] bargaining proposals.” Three months later, according to the ruling, a Castlewood manager threatened an employee with discipline for distributing union literature. It also found management engaged in bad faith bargaining in August 2010 while it employed replacement workers and no longer sought an agreement to end the lockout with union employees.

“I shall recommend that [the] respondent be ordered to make whole all locked-out employees for any loss of pay or benefits suffered from the lockout maintained from Aug. 10, 2010 onward,” wrote Anderson. Castlewood can appeal the decision to the NLRB in Washington, D.C within 28 days.

A lead representative for the union, Wei-Ling Huber testified Olson said, "I don't know what the legal definition of impasse is, but I think, you know, we're there. And we're just wasting time over these issues, maybe it's time for employees to strike or quit." The response, according to many over the many months was not uncommon for Olson, only at Castlwood since 2009 and known for spells of anti-union and conservative zealotry. The union asserts the lockout is solely based upon health care reform.

Meanwhile, the over two-year lockout encompassed roughly 60 low-wage earners including cooks, bartenders, housekeepers, food servers, busboys and dishwashers, most of whom could be seen picketing on the side of the road most every weekend banging a drum and chanting union slogans. According to Friday’s findings, Olson’s comments may have been the prevailing wisdom among dues-paying country club members. “As far as I am concerned I would like to NOT see any of the picketing former employees returned to Castlewood. I would not trust any of them to serve my food or drink. The few who are not in this fight would be welcomed back,” said one member to management.

Another, noting Castlewood was the only unionized club in Northern California, said, “This is unacceptable and a great detriment to further membership in our club.” While, yet another member said, “I am really hoping there is some way that Castlewood can rid themselves of the union staff permanently,” according to the judge’s findings.

The judge also found an attorney for Castlewood, Robert Hulteng, altered personal notes that significantly minimized his comments during a bargaining session in August 2010. “I also find his testimony lacks credibility as a result of the circumstances presented. Counsel Hulteng, as he testified, refreshed his recollection with these notes and yet his memory of altering them was not also refreshed. I find this fact is persuasive evidence that his memory of the events of this session were dim indeed and may not be relied on.”


  1. If you really investigate deeper you will find greedy management in company of incompetent legal advice at Pleasanton’s swank Castlewood Country Club. A perfect evil scenario.

  2. Union busting in Pleasanton. So hard to believe.

  3. Just another example of where the illegals rip off the locals.

  4. Illegals??? I think you are a moron. I don't think I am an illegal I had to work my way to college serving tables.

    I have been to that country club and I can assure you that no one there is an illegal. You are a moron. People like you are very insulting to us that leave in Pleasanton and San Ramon. We are not like you at all.

    The club should pay for being illegal in their labor contract activities.

  5. Ain't so pleasant in Pleasanton. Congratulations on the victory...legal or illegal...it doesn't matter. Every one deserves to feed, house, and clothe their family.

  6. Here comes another assessment at Castlewood. Wow, am I happy Stonebrae Country Club is not an equity club.

  7. By MW:

    1. In regard to attorney Robert Hulteng. Based on doing a tiny bit of research, specifically by going to the California State Bar's website (calsb.org) and "Martindale.com," it appears that there is an attorney by the name of Robert Gordon Hulteng at Littler Mendelson's San Francisco office, 650 California St, 20th Floor 94104, 415-433-1940.

    Littler Mendelson, and which previously went by the name Littler Mendelson Fastiff & Tichy (one of its most prominent partners is a guy by the name of Wesley Fastiff), is notorious for union busting and harassing and trying to intimidate and shut up whistleblowers, is commonly referred to as "HITLER, MUSSOLINI AND fASCIST" by both CAL OSHA and many other lawyers.

    For instance when I complained about a huge office building that was secretly allowing invisible clouds of asbestos dust to blow all over its tenants since that drastically reduced the cost of its almost constant remodeling projects, a Littler Mendelson attorney ranted and raved and yelled and screamed at me for my "gall" and "nerve" in not agreeing to keep secret illegal activities, in other words on an almost daily basis regularly and repeatedly exposing thousands of people to invisible clouds of asbestos dust, that would and will lead to slow mass murder.

    2. When I have time in the future, I will go into detail in advising laymen, and especially whistleblowers, how to handle themselves if called in for a kidnapping session by a crooked lawyer or crooked law firm (crooked lawyers and crooked law firms pretend that those kidnapping and intimidation sessions are legitimate deposition and discovery) that is not really a law firm, but actually is just an organized crime and kidnapping ring that only pretends to be a law firm.

    But let tme say just one thing now. Lawyers have far and away the highest rates of alcoholism and drug abuse, and including to heroin and cocaine, of any major profession. So any time a crooked lawyer, and including at a kidnapping session that the crooked lawyer is pretending is legitimate deposition, starts giving you the standard lawyers' lies and garbage, inform him that you are well aware of the skyhigh rates of drug abuse among lawyers, and then tell him that any person who said something that stupid is almost certainly on drugs.

  8. Time for them to pay up big time!

  9. By MW:

    To learn more about the "standards" and "ethics" of Littler Mendelson, and which is referred to in the above comments, type into Yahoo the search terms "Eric Mar" (he is a member of the SF Board of Supervisors) and "John Kloosterman," and who is a Littler Mendelson lawyer.

  10. By MW:

    To learn still more about the "standards" and "ethics" of Littler Mendelson, read two articles that appeared in the SF Chronicle back in the mid 1990's, and also keep in mind while reading those articles that the sleazy mafia which has given itself the name of the legal profession is even a lot sleazier now then it was fifteen or twenty years ago.

    So go to sfgate.com and then type in "Gary Scholick," and then read the article of November 26, 1996 titled, "Ex-Prison Guard's Award In Sex Harass Case Upheld."

    (I am not sure if Scholick was still with Littler Mendelson at the time he represented the Department of Corrections in that particular case, but he had been with Littler for many years, and including through the at least early 1990's. And now that I am aware that lawyers have far and away the highest rates of alcoholism and drug abuse of any major profession and also that most arson fires in office buildings when the fire is set by organized crime occur at about 3AM, I am looking forward to at some future date continuing the debates I had some years ago with Scholick in regard to a building that regularly blew invisible clouds of asbestos dust all over its tenants.)

    And then while still on the Chronicle's website, type in the search term "Lindbergh Porter," and then read the article of June 5, 1996 titled, "Law Firm Cashes In By Aiding Employers."

    In that article, Littler Mendelson attorney Lindbergh Porter refers to breathing fire and brimstone. But ask him how many laymen have gotten to breathe invisible clouds of asbestos dust, and sometimes for years or decades, and as a result been the victims of slow mass murder, due to sleazy lawyers who attack, threaten, and force whistleblowers into silence.

  11. By MW:

    The type of businesses that tend to hire Littler Mendelson are usually large & wealthy, in other words the type of businesses that have the financial resources to fund Littler's techniques of declaring a prolonged & all out war against opponents including whistleblowers.

    Therefore if you as a person who is a whistleblower and/or unjustly terminated let yourself be drawn into a battle in which you play by the rules of Littler & its clients, you will be almost sure to lose, & no matter how strong the facts & law in your case, simply because you will be defeated in a financial battle of attrition.

    In other words, Littler & its client will go on the assumption that you will run out of money if they make the war drag on long enough, & especially if you fight the war the way they want it to be waged.

    So therefore if you get in a battle with Littler Mendelson or another so called "law" firm that has similar "standards" & "ethics," keep the amount of money you spend on your own lawyers to a minimum. Instead, spend most of the money you are willing to commit to the battle on publicity, & including passing out flyers, etc.

    In fact lsst time I checked, you could even have ten thousand copies of an eight page newspaper printed for about $500. So instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, on lawyers, instead spend just a few thousand dollars to have printed a few editions of your own newspaper at $500 per edition and/or pass out flyers like crazy.

    And every time Littler and/or its client threatens to sue you for the "horrible" and supposedly untrue things you said about them in your newxpaper, then just keep pass out some more newspapers and/or flyers.

    And do not forget to pass out a lot of your newspapers and flyers in the area that the California State Bar has its office in downtown San Francisco (if my memory is correct, it is at or near 180 Howard Street), and include plenty of comments that lawyers have far and away the highest rates of alcoholism and drug abuse, and including to heroin and cocaine, of any major profession. Since the totally corrupt CSB does not want the general public to know about that, it will almost certainly force Littler to stop harassing you, and including since the CSB does not want the general public to learn that in a lot of cities, and especially San Francisco, that entity which refers to itself as the "legal profession" is actually in virtually all instances little more than a sleazy organized crime ring and that is primarily composed of drug addicts, embezzlers, money launderers, and professional pathological liars and common criminals hiding behind law licenses.

    And if one of those sleazy organized crime rings that pretends to be a law firm subjects you to a kidnapping (they pretend those kidnappings are deposition and discovery), the instant they start to rant and rave and yell and scream like totally out of control maniacs, clearly state that you think they are on drugs and you are not going to be subjected to harassment and threats by people you suspect are drug addicts, then walk out on them, and then get in really high gear passing out your flyers, and including in the area of the CSB's office in downtown San Francisco.

    Finally. Over the last several years, quite a number of the USA's largest and sleaziest organized crime rings that went through a light charade of pretending to be law firms have been forced to declare bankruptcy and go out of business. And I am unaware of any major city that can even begin to touch San Francisco in the percentage of its major organized crime rings that pretended to be law firms that were forced to declare bankruoptcy and go out of business. Well, to borrow a phrase from Nancy Pelosi, "It's time to (continue) drain (ing) the swamp," and I am also unaware of any cesspool that can even begin to touch the legal profession in sleaziness.

  12. By MW:

    To learn still more about the "standards" of that sleazy mafia of drug addicts, embezzlers, thieves, money launderers, professional pathological liars, scam artists, and common criminals hiding behind law licenses that refers to itself as the "legal profession," go to the San Francisco Chronicle and read the recent article on an attorney named Erika Jordening, and who is accused of smuggling drugs to a client in prison.

    NOTE: And for further interesting reading, go to the California State Bar's website and also read about a lawyer by the name of Patricia Gregory.

    However getting back to Erika Jordening, after first pulling up her profile on the CSB's website, then click on the links near the bottom of Jordening's profile in the section titled "ACTIONS AFFECTING ELIGIBILITY TO PRACTICE LAW," and which will lead you to two documents.

    On page two of one of those documents it comes right out and makes reference to the CSB's secret and illegal system of two sets of books, in other words the private reprovals the CSB often sells to a lot of the lawyers it should be publicly punishing and in many cases also disbarring.

    In other words usually the first several times a lawyer is caught engaging in criminal conduct, the CSB covers it up and protects the crooked lawyer. However if the attorney continues to repeatedly misbehave in ways that the CSB is afraid will eventually come to media and public attention, then it is forced to publicly discipline the criminal with a law license.

    However if Jordening herself has a serious drug problem, that could actually as a lawyer be to her financial advantage. Since the type of law firms that specialize in defending businesses against whistleblowers and employees who have been wrongly terminated in most cases are the very sleaziest law firms around, and therefore in virtually all cases want the lawyers who work for them to be: one, as sleazy as can be; and two, totally out of control ranting raving yelling screaming maniacs, and including so as to intimidate whistleblowers, etc.

    Still furthermore, a lawyer who is a drug addict would have even less inhibitions than the typical lawyer in regard to engaging in such activities as illegally doctoring and changing documents, providing under the table bribes to judges, and engaging in any other criminal activities that might be necessary to win a case.

    So if Jordening herself is a drug addict, then I would suggest she get a job with one of the very sleaziest of the law firms that specialize in defending businesses against whistleblowers.

    In fact I can think of one particular such organized crime ring that pretends to be a law firm that has about nine hundred lawyers total, and including about three hundred in California, and about eighty in San Francisco.

    So if she got a job as an associate with that particular organized crime ring that pretends to be a law firm, if she proved to be sufficiently sleazy they would fairly quickly promote her to partner and then eventually to equity partner. In fact she might, and assuming she proved herself to suffiiciently sleazy, even eventually become the firm's managing partner.

  13. What the holy hell does MW's ravings have to do with the welcome news that Castlewood Country Club will finally be held responsible for its multiple violations of the law and be made (hopefully sooner rather than later) to pay these workers what they are owed?

    I hope MW feels better, though. Get it all out! Now, take a deep breath...

  14. By MW:

    The club's management and lawyers were probably beyond shocked that: one, the low paid employees and their union kept on hanging in there and stuck with it, and rather than, and perhaps after only a few days of picketing, basically just drifting away and disappearing; two, that a judge actually ruled against the country club and also one of its lawyers; and three, that a judge would actually have the "gall" and "nerve" to insult a lawyer representing big business.

    (NOTE: In other words since virtually all judges themselves are also lawyers, therefore they normally show considerable respect to the lawyers appearing before them, and regardless of how absurd and totally ridiculous the stories, and often outright and obvious lies, the lawyers come up with and use as a "basis" and "justification" for the positions and actions of themselves and their clients.)

    For instance in the area I live, over the last few decades some of the restaurants have decided to go non-union. And each time it has happened, the almost totally useless union that has pretended to represent the employees has went through its predictable ritual of picketing for only two or three days and then put no more effort into trying to preserve the business as a union restaurant.

    And almost certainly the Castlewood Country Club, AND ALSO ITS' LAWYERS, thought that if they dumped the employees, the employees would then quickly give up and/or just drift away and find other jobs, and that the union would make, and even at best, only the very weakest of token efforts to protect the employees and their rights to their jobs.

    Hopefully what has happened at Castlewood will srart to occur more often, and also that employees who are on strike and/or locked out will realize that a long and prolonged campaign of picketing and leafletting is much more likely to be successful than relying only on their lawyers.

  15. By MW:

    I forgot to mention in my immediately above remarks that it would also be interesting to do some investigations regarding the household help, babysitters, nannies, and gardeners, etc, of the owners, managers, lawyers, and most prominent and wealthiest members of the country club.

    In other words, there is a high probability we would find that many of them are using undocumented aliens and/or paying under the table, and rather than paying decent wages and also the social security taxes due.

    In fact back when Bill Clinton took office, the first two lawyers he pushed for the position of US Attorney General had to drop out due to it coming to light that for household help they had used undocumented aliens and/or neglected to pay the social security taxes that were due.

    In fact since Littler Mendelson is far and away the largest and most prominent law firm in the entire United States that has its primary specialty representing management in labor and employement issues, I am sure that all of its lawyers, and extra especially the ones who have an "A/V" rating from Martindale Hubbell, will be delighted to prove their honesty, ethics, and integrity by subjecting themnselves to such an investigation.

  16. My God, MW! Can't you figure out that the Union employed attorneys who helped the workers gain this victory? The workers' courageousness in hanging in there and Unite HERE's ability to help them finance their long and active public campaign were necessary ingredients in this victory, but gaining this NLRB judgement required that these Union members rely on their good lawyers.

  17. By MW:

    In regard to the comment by 1:32PM. It is possible that the union members were lucky enough to find some decent and honest lawyers, and then perhaps got some high quality assistance from them, since there are a few honest and decent lawyers.

    However, most lawyers are scumbags, thieves, embezzlers, parasites, professional pathological liars, and ripoff artists, and although some of them do a better job than others of pretending to be human beings, and therefore fooling the public into thinking that they are human beings.

    And to give just a few examples of crafty crooks and scumbags with law licenses who were smooth enough, or at least for awhile, to successfully pull off pretending to be human beings, just think of John Edwards and Mike Nifong.

    In fact Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, and who is also a lawyer, when asked why lawyers have such a horrible reputation with the public, responded, "Because they deserve it." And then Dershowitz elaborated a bit by mentioning that most lawyers are involved in finding ways to help stab the general public in the back rather than in helping the general public.

    In fact, just think of the El Monte slave camp. In other words for every situation like that which finally comes to light, there are at least dozens of similar situations in which the lawyers, and including those working for the criminals who pretend to be legitimate businessmen, arrange a sealed settlement, and with the criminals therefore free to continue their heinous and illegal activities for years or decades more. However the lawyers do not care how much outrageous criminal activity continues as long as they collect their extremely high hourly fees.

    In fact, I myself complained about an operation that for years had secretly been regularly blowing huge amounts of invisible clouds of asbestos dust all over the tenants in a huge office building, since doing that, and instead of taking the necessary measures to keep the asbestos dust under control, drastically reduced the cost of the building's almost constant remodelng projects.

    Furthermore, the building regularly AND ILLEGALLY also dumped huge amounts of asbestos debris into general purpose trash containers, and with the majority of that illegal dumping performed by undocumented aliens who were used as unwitting dupes for the dumping, and then usually fired without pay under threat of being turned into Immigration for deportation.

    And the lawyers on both sides wanted me to shut up about it, to also agree to a sealed settlement, to furthermore surrender all of the evidence, and still furthermore agree to never discuss it again, and so that the extremely profitable criminal activities could continue, AND ALSO SO THAT THE SLOW MASS MURDER BY WAY OF LUNG CANCER AND MESOTHELIOMA COULD ALSO CONTINUE.

    In other words, most lawyers are not actually involved in practicing law but instead are primarily involved in being the co-conspirators of criminals, and including since a sleazy lawyer who is really nothing more than a scumbag and co-conspirator with a law license will almost always make tons more money than a legitimate and ethical practitioner of the law.

    In fact, think of PG & E and all of the people it slowly poisoned for years in the Hinckley/Barstow area. In other words, PG & E's outrageous activities in the Hinckely/Barstow area were exposed far more by the Los Angeles Times and by Erin Brockovich, and who was a layman rather than a lawyer, than by the lawyers.