Some Portillo's Employees Push For Better Wages

Steve Miller
November 21, 2019 - 9:04 pm
Portillo's Worker Protest

(WBBM Newsradio/Steve Miller)


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Founded in Villa Park in 1963, Portillo's has grown to five dozen restaurants. most of them in the Chicago area. Now, the chain is being hit by some labor unrest.

WBBM's Steve Miller reports.

On Thursday, about a dozen workers stood outside Portillo's flagship restaurant in River North.

They were organized by the faith-based workers’ advocacy group Arise Chicago. The organization’s communications director read, in English, their list of demands, starting with wages.

"Number one: Establish a $15 minimum across-the-board at all locations in Illinois so that all workers, regardless of the city they work in, can earn the same base wage for the same work performed."

Another Arise Chicago staff member interpreted for a Portillo's worker, who accused the restaurant chain of intimidating workers.

"Intimidating workers is worse than putting ketchup in a Chicago hot dog."

Portillo's released a statement, saying: "Neither this subset of employees, nor any third party, represents the voices of our 6,000 employees.

"The Portillo's leadership team is committed to hearing from each of our team members individually."