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Chula Vista city workers help clear trash buildup as strike enters one month

Posted at 6:30 PM, Jan 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-15 21:30:42-05

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) — We're now one month into the union sanitation workers' protest against Republic Services for better working conditions.

Saturday, crews with the city of Chula Vista were out clearing mountains of trash brought on by the strike.

"Each location is different. Some can take a half an hour, some could take an hour and a half," said Sam Alzubaidi, the Park Ranger Program Manager.

Employees with the city's Community Services and Public Works departments, as well as contract workers with Work For Hope gathered excess trash from overflowing dumpsters at apartments and businesses throughout Chula Vista.

“All and all, we’re working together as a team to try to help the residents of Chula Vista," said Alzubaidi.

Meanwhile, union sanitation workers remain on strike in their fight for better pay and safety equipment.

“It’s stressful and very demanding," Juan Berber said.

Berber, who's been with Republic Services for seven years, said he has one of the worst trucks in the fleet.

“I even took out the roof of a carport because I don’t have control over it," he said.

Berber said he appreciates city leaders' support but said the possibility of not returning to work is growing.

Saturday, the company sent out a letter stating they're now recruiting for permanent replacements.

“I feel disrespect, and I feel that instead of them coming with an offer, they’re threatening us," Berber said.

The letter goes on to say because of the strike they've lost "a significant number of customers."

If they continue to lose business, they'll need fewer employees and will have to adjust their workforce accordingly.

Still, Berber said he's doesn't plan on giving in.

"We’ll definitely keep up the fight and the struggle. That’s all we can do," Berber said.