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Negotiations fail again; sanitation workers continue strike in San Diego County

Posted at 5:06 PM, Dec 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-29 22:47:30-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Another mediation session between Republic Services and Teamsters Local 542 Tuesday ended with no results, meaning more than 250 sanitation workers across San Diego County remain on strike.

A spokesperson for the company released a statement Wednesday:

“Republic Services is disappointed that our 11th negotiation session with the union failed to reach an agreement. We take pride in providing all of our employees with competitive wages and a generous total rewards package. We are committed to continuing to bargain in good faith and remain ready to resume negotiations for a contract that is fair for all. With the help of our Blue Crew relief drivers, we are making progress in servicing as many customers as possible, and we thank our municipal partners and customers for their continued patience.”

While some areas did have their trash picked up, others didn’t.

In Kearny Mesa, large piles of trash could be seen outside of homes, apartment complexes, and businesses.

ABC 10News asked Republic Services how it determines which areas have trash removed first but did not immediately hear back.

“Our members are eager to go back to the community and clean it up; they feel for the community, they’re part of the community,” said Jaime Vasquez, the secretary-treasurer for Teamsters Local 542.

He said he believes the company will address workers’ safety concerns, but at this point, negotiations have come down to a better economic package with better wages.

The employees want to be paid more for their services, but the company told ABC 10News earlier this week, “the union is demanding significant increases that simply do not reflect our local market.”

“They know what they can offer San Diego so that our members can go ahead and vote on that,” he said. “Where you live, there is a price to pay, and they are refusing to recognize that San Diego is an extremely expensive city to live in.”

The company brought in a Blue Crew, relief drivers that collect trash in situations like this strike. Customers can also haul their own trash, recyclables, and yard waste to the Otay or Sycamore landfill free of charge during the strike; they just need to present their account invoices at the landfills.

Vasquez said the union received notice from a federal mediator confirming negotiations with the company will start again at 8:00 a.m Thursday.