El Milagro Tortillas discontinued – why is there shortage?

Is El Milagro Tortillas discontinued? In one region of the nation, a well-known brand of tortillas is flying off the shelves. Customers in Chicago said there weren’t enough “El Milagro” tortillas available at local supermarkets in 2021. Customers are limited to 20 packets of tortillas to ensure enough for everyone.

El Milagro explained that the business is experiencing the same problems as other major companies due to the pandemic. They continued, saying they would keep up the production. On social media, several consumers speculate that a lack of workers may be to blame for the shortfall. Let us view this issue in detail in the article that follows.

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About the brand

In ancient Mexico, corn tortillas were created for the first time. Since then, tribes in Mesoamerica and North America have used it as a staple carbohydrate.

El Milagro is a family-run business founded in Chicago, Illinois, in 1950. El Milagro takes great pride in producing tortilla goods of the finest caliber.

At El Milagro, “quality” is not thrown around carelessly. They have always made the best tortillas they are capable of producing. The business uses pre-processed corn flour sparingly. Instead, their whole-kernel corn is meticulously chosen and ground to make corn tortillas in their facility.

We are aware that the diverse Mexican cuisine needs a range of tortillas. Because of this, the company manufactures a complete variety of high-quality tortilla goods for all uses. The success of El Milagro is a result of the fact that all of their interests have always placed a premium on quality, the business claims.

According to El Milagro, their actions merely attempted to make up for a countrywide scarcity of tortillas brought on by supply chain problems. However, the organizers claim that a labor shortage was to blame for the shortage. After COVID-19 infected 85 workers and the Little Village plant was shut down, many workers left during the epidemic.

El Milagro tortilla shortage

The availability of a well-known brand of tortillas at nearby grocery stores was reported to be decreasing in 2021. Fans of El Milagro tortillas claim that the Mexican delicacy is no longer available at their usual outlets. So they are rushing to the company’s two factory stores. In Little Village, the lines have been circling the block. Customers are limited to 20 packets of tortillas to ensure that there are enough for everyone.

Instead of El Milagro tortillas, people have reported finding empty shelves around Chicago and its environs. The tortilla manufacturer is experiencing a shortage for the second time since the pandemic started. Requests for a response from a firm spokesperson were not responded to (as of September 2021).

An employee at El Milagro claimed to the media that the unprecedentedly lengthy lines during the 2020 scarcity were brought on by individuals buying pantry essentials in large quantities. It includes tortillas as the coronavirus spreads.

Then, after a worker passed away from COVID-19 in April 2020, the company decided to close its 2919 S. Western Ave. plant. Company representatives announced that the factory would be deep cleaned and closed for two weeks. But even after that, firm representatives claimed the site was closed due to renovations.

The firm informed the Tribune at the time that the temporary closure would result in a 75% reduction in maize tortilla manufacturing. As of September 30, 2020, more than 80 El Milagro employees had tested positive for coronavirus. This is according to state data from the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

Also, OSHA launched an inquiry after workers complained about potential amputation hazards. According to the Department of Labor, OSHA discovered that the company did not adhere to rules preventing machines from turning on or moving while undergoing repair.

El Milagro locks out employees from the tortilla factory

Workers at the two El Milagro tortilla factories in Chicago claim that the city’s tortilla shortage results from low employee retention rates. They said it was caused by low pay and unfavorable working conditions. Employees voiced their concerns in public on September 23, 2021. They did it with a walkout and a march down 26th Street toward El Milagro’s Little Village tortilla. A news conference followed it. Labor organizers joined them. The administration received a written list of requests from the protesters, along with a deadline of September 29. 

While stores all over the city reduced the number of tortillas sold to customers in September, El Milagro remained silent throughout the month. Yet, the company’s response to the protest was that it refused to let workers return to its Little Village plant to finish their scheduled shifts. This spoke volumes to the workers. El Milagro claims in a statement that the scarcity of tortillas is due to problems in the supply chain.

For various reasons, many workers departed El Milagro during the pandemic. This includes an outbreak of COVID-19 at the plant that sickened 85 people and claimed five lives. Protesters claim that El Milagro sped up the machines to make up the deficit and boost production while we are attempting to recruit fresh hires by paying them $16 an hour. This equals more than long-term employees who have been with the organization for 20 or 30 years.

Workers at El Milagro have relied on the help of Arise Chicago, a local labor organizing organization. This was to help them inform the public about problems at the company.

Conclusion

El Milagro employees who make tortillas have settled a labor dispute with the business as of July 2023. It happened after they accused managers of blocking unionization attempts. The employees claimed that the Chicago-based tortilla manufacturer had used intimidation to prevent them from organizing a union in their complaints to the National Labor Relations Board.

The workers said they were threatened with losing their employment, vacation days, and other benefits if they participated in labor organizing. The matter was resolved in July 2023. The business must now inform all employees of their right to organize a union and commit not to obstruct such efforts.

“The law defends all workers’ rights to form unions for better working conditions and pay.” It was said by Laura Garza, worker center director at Arise Chicago, a workers’ rights organization representing El Milagro workers. The employees have yet to form a union.

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