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Republic Services sanitation workers remain on strike in San Diego County

More than 250 workers went on strike last week
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Posted at 9:10 AM, Dec 25, 2021

SAN DIEGO, CA (KGTV)— After a mediation session on Friday ended with no new contract, sanitation workers with Republic Services said they would continue to strike.

According to Jaime Vasquez, Secretary-Treasurer for the union, more than 250 Republic Services workers with Teamsters Local Union 542 went on strike last week after they said the company failed to provide a fair contract.

Vasquez said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria reached out to both sides to move up a mediation session initially scheduled for next week to Friday, but after both parties met Friday, he told ABC 10News the company didn’t put an offer on the table.

The workers plan to continue their strike and said they would rally outside the Chula Vista location on Energy Way Sunday at noon.

“We’re ready to stay here for however long it takes,” Dohney Castillo, a driver for Republic Services who was on the picket line in Chula Vista Friday, said.

Castillo said they’re fighting for a contract that addresses safety issues.

“Just a fair contract, a fair contract across the table," he said. "Safety with our vehicles, safety here at work, but just a fair contract. That’s really everything we’re asking for.”

As a result of the strike, trash has been piling up outside homes and businesses in Chula Vista and other parts of the county since last week.

“Our apologies honestly, sincerely, from us coworkers to our communities, this is not something we wanted, the strike, this is the last resort,” said Castillo. “I’m disappointed and feel disrespected that it’s gone on for how long it’s gone on and what’s been brought to the table. We’re just ready to go out there, clean up our communities, get everything back to normal, and start off the new year on a right note.”

While the strike continues, Republic Services has asked customers impacted in residential areas to do the following:

Continue bringing waste carts out on their regular trash collection day, put any extra trash bags on the side of the cart, and leave carts out on the curb if they aren’t picked up on regular collection days so they can get to it when possible.

The company also adds that recycling, green waste, and bulky items aren’t being picked up during the strike.

Residential and commercial customers can also self-haul their trash and recyclables to the Otay and Sycamore Landfills free of charge until further notice. Customers will need to show their account invoice at the landfill during regular businesses hours. Both landfills closed at 2 p.m. Friday.

Commercial buildings are being served on a limited basis; Republic Services said it is prioritizing businesses that affect public health, like hospitals.

ABC 10News reached out to Republic Services for comment on Friday but did not immediately hear back. On Thursday the company sent the following statement:

Republic Services is encouraged that negotiations have resumed with the union representing our San Diego employees and we hope to make progress toward a competitive contract that is fair for all. We respect the rights of our employees to engage in the collective bargaining process and continue to negotiate in good faith to achieve fair and competitive labor contracts.