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City of Chula Vista to address ongoing sanitation workers strike during Tuesday meeting

trash piling up.JPG
Posted at 5:12 PM, Jan 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-11 12:45:20-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The City of Chula Vista will discuss the ongoing Republic Services sanitation workers strike on Tuesday at its city council meeting.

“We’ll be hearing from all parties, we’ll be hearing from Republic, and our own city staff will give a report on the mitigation measures that we have taken as a city to address this problem,” said Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas.

Salas said she met with Republic Services reps on Saturday about the current issues with trash piling up around her city.

“They made a commitment to me that today that they will be collecting all trash. Unfortunately, the trash that’s been left out, the recyclables that have been left out are all going to be collected in one swoop. It’s going to be combined with the trash and just put into the landfill. But we are hopeful that next week we will start our recycling program again,” said Salas.

According to Salas, the City of Chula Vista has a contract with Republic Services until 2024.

“Right now, I really believe the contract is written too much in favor of the company. We are locked into this contract until 2024, but it’s not too early to start drafting a proposal that will not only give more protection to the city but to sanitation workers,” she said. “We really believe that more can be done on the side of the Republic to take care of our essential workers.”

A spokesperson for Republic Services sent ABC 10News this statement on Monday:

“Republic Services is picking up residential trash, recycling, and green waste carts this week in Chula Vista and in unincorporated San Diego County with the help of our Blue Crew relief employees. Due to potential contamination by weather and/or other trash, all three types of waste are being disposed of as trash this week. We are bringing in additional relief crews to help us reach even more customers. We continue to coordinate with our municipal partners as we work toward a long-term solution, and we thank customers for their understanding.”

Sanitation workers shot down a proposal for a new contract by the company last week, so more than 200 workers remain on strike outside of four Republic Services locations in the county; they have also now moved the line to the entrance of the Otay Landfill.

“I’m concerned a bit, but at the same time, I’m more optimistic and hopeful,” said Dohney Castillo, a Republic Services employee on the picket line. “We’re staying strong; we have a lot of support from the community. We apologize for the inconvenience this is causing; we’re not out here because we want to be out ; we’re out here because we’re fighting for a fair contract.”

Castillo said he believes many sanitation workers will show up to Tuesday’s city council meeting. The meeting will begin at 5 p.m. with COVID-19 protocols in place, meaning a limited amount of people will be allowed into council chambers at a time, but the city said everyone would have an opportunity to speak during public comment.

“I’m sure the city council will have a lot of suggestions on how to move forward, so in the future, our residents don’t have to put up with this,” said Salas. “Our residents are used to having a clean and beautiful city, and we want to get back to that. We want to make sure we take measures so in the future this doesn’t happen again.”

The City of San Diego has also requested more information from the company. The Environmental Services Department sent ABC 10News a statement Monday evening.

"The City has requested additional information on actions the company will take to implement the full suite of required services for its customers within San Diego. Republic’s current action plan does not fully satisfy the requirements of their franchise within the City of San Diego. It’s our understanding they intend to collect recycling, green waste and trash in a single truck, which does not live up to its obligation to collect and process these categories of refuse separately."