White Wings – Flour Mill

Pioneer Flour — Gunther Mills

The prompt is here. The old mill.

It’s at a bend in the San Antonio river, and the mill is in a similar location to where it was first started, industrious migrant German family, running water, mill power. History. History driven, at first by water, which then led to commerce.

The other side of the story? Local 657.

The demise, at the hand of the unions, of Hostess, et al? Kind of a similar battle here. I was a union member at one time. Collective bargaining got me back pay, back-due pay.

Ultimately, I dropped my “union membership” because the perceived gains were not worth the price of admission. (Broke: couldn’t afford the dues.)

I’ve watched as labor unions build, then ultimately destroy, that which they built. This is not a new observation, that the organization is run by people, and we have very human desires. Never takes long for a bad seed to sour a whole patch.

Seen it before, been part of the problem, been part of the solution, and these days? I work alone.

I’m totally unsure of the legal wrangling for Local 657, but from my distant historical recollections, the way the Brotherhoods worked in the past? If the local teamsters was on strike, then rail and truck services wouldn’t pass the picket line — hardly the case with the Gunther Brothers’ Pioneer Mill and Bakery. Almost every day, a train rolls rail cars full of grain, presumably flour and corn, to be processed into whatever White Wings the place makes. Trucks, by the scores, also deliver, pick-up, park, and certainly load and unload, at the mill’s location.

As recent as the last dozen years, I was reading about the railroad workers union being one of the strongest transportation unions still in existence. Can’t give a source, a liberal magazine article, I’m sure. Still, for the rights, care and feeding of the working class, the railroad union was supposedly one of the strongest.

Every day, rail cars back in full, and roll out empty, while, I’d guess, product of some sort leaves on trucks.

Personally, I figure collective bargaining has strengths and merits, but there’s also a time to figure out that you’re just not winning.

Pioneer Mills, White Wing brand flour, and everything else? They just built — expanded — to a new location, just north of downtown. New bakery, same company. Probably just part of large conglomerate, and once again, where’s the “brotherhood” on this issue?