In Chicago, workers at El Milagro tortilla plants staged a temporary walkout last week to protest low pay, staff shortages and abusive working conditions, including intimidation and sexual harassment. El Milagro claims an ongoing tortilla shortage is due to supply chain issues, but organizers say the company has lost staff due to their poor treatment of workers, including their mishandling of the pandemic. Last year, dozens of employees got sick during a COVID outbreak, and five died. This is El Milagro worker Martin Salas.
Martin Salas: “All we’re doing is demanding our rights as employees of El Milagro. Just as they have rights as employers, we too have rights as workers. … I pack 80 tortilla packages per minute. I load a case, put it on a pallet and come right back, because if I don’t keep up this pace, tortillas will fall from the machine, and they’ll blame me.”
Workers have given El Milagro management until this Wednesday to respond to their demands.