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Portillo-s-Frisco-Texas-Signage.jpg Ron Ruggless
Portillo's Inc. formally asked that the food production center union vote be set aside.

Portillo’s asks that union election be set aside, claiming illegal conduct

Food production center workers in the Chicago area had voted in favor or representation

Portillo’s Inc. has formally asked the National Labor Relations Board to set aside a union election at a food production facility in Addison, Ill., the company said Thursday.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based fast-casual concept said it uncovered “instances of illegal conduct by the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers union in connection with the April 13th election.”

Portillo’s on Wednesday formally requested “the National Labor Relations Board set aside the election’s results and order that a new free and fair election be held,” the company said in a statement.

Workers at the warehouse facility voted 28-20 to accept union affiliation, said the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency that oversees the elections. The employees were to become members of the Iron Workers Union, formally called the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union.

However, Portillo’s said “supported by the first-hand testimony and affidavits from witnesses, the filing with the NLRB describes promises made by union representatives in their effort to secure a winning majority.”

Unlike recent union votes at consumer outlets of Starbucks, Burgerville, Ben & Jerry’s and Chipotle Mexican Grill, the union vote was at Portillo’s Food Services in Addison, which prepares and delivers food to the brand’s restaurants in the Chicago area.

Portillo’s on Thursday said: “The improper activity noted in the filings includes promises by union representatives to team members that in exchange for voting yes, the union would provide them a pathway to citizenship, including by providing them with green cards.

“For 60 years, Portillo’s has prioritized the well-being of our team members. As we work through the next steps with the NLRB, we will continue to put our team members first,” the company said.

Portillo’s, which specializes in Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches, has more than 70 restaurants in 10 states.

Union organizers said the bargaining unit will cover 49 people. The union would not include employees at the restaurants.

Portillo’s will report first quarter 2023 financial results before the markets open on May 4.

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 25, Portillo’s net income swung to a profit of $2.7 million, or 8 cents a share, from a loss of $33.8 million, or 52 cents a share, in the prior-year period. Revenues increased 8.6% to $150.9 million from $138.9 million in the same quarter last year.

Portillo’s same-store sales increased 6% in the fourth quarter.

Portillo’s was founded in 1963.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

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TAGS: Fast Casual
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