Chula Vista pushes Republic Services to repay garbage strike

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — The city of Chula Vista is pressuring Republic Services to offer a full refund to customers who saw their trash pile up but were still charged during the December trash strike.

On Monday, city officials met with Republic services, urging the waste management company to pay. The strike affected more than 50,000 customers in Chula Vista.

Some people hauled their trash to landfill while others hired companies to take the trash away. Republic told customers they would treat any refunds on a case-by-case basis.

A Chula Vista customer recently received a voicemail from a Republic representative who stated that there would be no reimbursement for the work stoppage.

“I apologize for the inconvenience you had to endure, everyone in the San Diego area was hurting during this time,” Republic’s voicemail said. “For those who didn’t want to take it to a landfill for free, the only alternative was to leave it at the curb where our drivers will collect everything on the spot by then, so again there would be nothing to credit because you pay for waste disposal, and we dispose of all the garbage.

Jill Galvez, a member of the Chula Vista City Council, said the issue was “making people’s blood boil.”

“Many people have called me or texted me, emailed me, detailing their very, very frustrating experiences with Republic services,” she said.

Galvez says the city spent about $150,000 paying city workers and other organizations that helped clean up during the strike. She says Republic has to pay that bill too.

“It would be wise to avoid all litigation. There is already a class action lawsuit against Republic. My constituents are asking me if they should join this lawsuit, if Chula Vista is going to sue. I don’t have the answers to that,” Galvez said.

The council member says there is a city council meeting Tuesday night. After the meeting, they will hold a closed session to discuss any possible legal action in the future.