Strike by sanitation workers to continue in San Diego County

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) – After a mediation session on Friday ended without a new contract, sanitation workers at Republic Services said they would continue to strike.

According to Jaime Vasquez, the union’s secretary-treasurer, more than 250 Republic Services employees of Teamsters Local 542 went on strike last week after saying the company failed to provide a fair contract.

Vasquez said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria contacted the two sides to advance a mediation session originally scheduled for next week to Friday, but after the two sides met on Friday, he told ABC 10News that the company had not put an offer on the table.

Workers plan to continue their strike and said they will rally outside the Chula Vista site on Energy Way at noon on Sunday.

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

Castillo said they are fighting for a contract that resolves safety concerns.

“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 all we ask for.

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

“Our apologies honestly, sincerely, on behalf of our colleagues to our communities, this is not something we wanted, the strike is the last resort,” Castillo said. “I am disappointed and feel disrespectful that this has been going on how long it has been going on and what has been put on the table. We’re just ready to go out there, clean up our communities, get everything back to normal and start the New Year on a high note. “

As the strike continues, Republic Services has called on affected customers in residential areas to do the following:

Continue to take out the garbage carts on garbage collection day, place any extra garbage bags on the side of the cart, and leave the carts on the sidewalk if they are not picked up on regular collection days so that they can access it when possible.

The company also adds that recycling, green waste and bulky items are not picked up during the strike.

Residential and commercial customers can also transport their own waste and recyclables to landfills in Otay and Sycamore free of charge until further notice. Customers will be required to show their account invoice to the landfill during normal business hours. Both landfills closed at 2 p.m. Friday.

Commercial buildings are serviced on a limited basis; Republic Services said it is prioritizing businesses that affect public health, such as hospitals.

ABC 10News contacted Republic Services for comment on Friday, but did not immediately receive a response. On Thursday, the company sent the following statement:

Republic Services is encouraged by the resumption of negotiations with the union representing our employees in San Diego and we hope to move towards a competitive and fair contract for all. We respect the rights of our employees to engage in the collective bargaining process and continue to negotiate in good faith for fair and competitive employment contracts.

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