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Sanitation workers in San Diego County continue strike into new year

Posted at 8:17 PM, Jan 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-02 23:35:16-05

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) — After taking a break on New Year's Day to spend time with their families, sanitation workers were back on the picket line Sunday.

It's day 17 of union members from Teamsters 542's strike against Republic Services.

"It’s a mess out here in Chula Vista now," said union worker, Ladere Hampton.

On strike and out of work is not how Hampton wanted to start the new year.

"If you’ve drove around [Chula Vista] and seeing all the dumpsters and everything... we’re just ready to get back to work," said Hampton.

He and more than 200 other sanitation workers across San Diego County returned to the picket line at 4 a.m.

The group in Chula Vista set up tents outside of the Republic Services facility on Energy Way.

Hampton said they’ll be out there night and day until they get a better contract with reasonable work hours, more pay, and better safety equipment.

"There’s a lot of times that they [Republic Services] talk about how they appreciate what we do, but it just doesn’t seem like that because we’ve been out here for so long," Hampton said.

The company and workers union failed to reach an agreement during their last meeting this past Thursday.

In a statement to 10News, Republic Services said their Blue Crew relief drivers are making progress, collecting overflowing trash bins and dumpsters.

Arlyn Angulo said the dumpster at her apartment building in Chula Vista was emptied last week after two weeks of trash buildup.

"I felt relieved," said Angulo. "There was a whole bunch of trash that was just going into the streets because of the rain and the wind as well."

Negotiations between Republic Services and the workers union are set to resume Tuesday morning.

Angulo said she supports the workers and hopes the issue is resolved soon.

"Cleanliness is my main concern. We have this park, and there’s a family community over here... families that enjoy walking around the street, walking around the park," she said.

Recycling and yard waste services are still on pause. The city of Chula Vista said people can dispose of their recycling, yard waste, and Christmas trees at the Otay landfill for free.