Pioneer Flour workers have been on strike for one year. But the company has moved on and says their production is fine.
Last year there were more than 90 workers on strike. Today there are 80 members of the Teamsters local 657 still holding out.
Workers are asking for higher wages to compensate for their increase in insurance premiums. Guenther & Son, Inc. owns Pioneer Flour Mill, the maker of pancake and biscuit mixes. They state that historically union members wanted their compensation to go more to their wages and less for insurance.
The union says they want to negotiate for a higher wage to compensate for insurance premiums. That led to union members walking out last year and going on strike. The workers say there have been no negotiations over the last six months and they want Guenther to start talks again.
“The trouble here is Texas right to work laws let them hire people up under this union and they can keep these guys out here for a year knowing they can still run that flour mill,” says Len Wheeler, a teachers union member.
Guenther & Son say they are at the same place they left off a year ago in the negotiations. They say they have made union members an offer but the workers don’t want to take it.
Wednesday about 40 picketers showed up for a lunch and a march around the flour mill on South Alamo and Probandt streets. They stopped in front of the administrative offices to vocalize their protest.
Guenther says production has gotten back to normal since the walkout began.
“In the beginning as we hired new people to run the facility there was some training curve and some ramp-up there, but at this point things have settled down and things are going well," said Steve Phillips, senior vice president for Guenther.
But workers say they don’t believe things are going so smoothly.
“They’re not practicing their own procedures on cleaning the place. There’s trash all through, it is what we understand,” said Frank Perkins, the union president.