Waste hauler Republic Services to brief Chula Vista council on state of strike

The trash can company, whose workers have been on strike for nearly a month, leaving residents and businesses across the county scrambling to get rid of their trash, will give Chula Vista City Council an update on Tuesday.

Some of the more than 250 workers at Teamsters Local 542 who went on strike on December 17 to demand better wages and benefits from the services of the Republic are also expected to attend, the union said on Monday.

City Manager Maria Kachadoorian said the company’s presentation “will provide the community with an opportunity to engage and hear directly from the Republic’s services and city staff.”

Republic Services is the sole waste collection provider in Chula Vista. The city council approved a 10-year contract with the company in 2014, which granted the waste hauler the exclusive right to collect and dispose of solid and recyclable waste from homes and local businesses. Republic Services pays the city a 20 percent franchise fee, which was initially set at more than $ 960,000 with annual increases of 3 percent, according to the contract.

In a statement on Saturday, Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas said she “will ask city council to consider all options, including in-house garbage collection or the selection of another company, to ensure that the disruption of this vital service never happens again. “

The mayor also called the ongoing work stoppage “a threat to our public health and safety” and said she was “extremely frustrated that the strike was not over”.

Workers returned to the picket lines Monday at Republic Services’ Otay landfill after rejecting the company’s latest offer on Thursday, saying it failed to adequately compensate them for their work. Union members said on Monday that there was currently no scheduled date for negotiations.

Council members will also hold a public hearing to consider objections to collection rate increases proposed by Republic Services to launch the state-mandated food waste program. Fees increase for residential garbage carts from $ 2.79 per month for 32 gallon garbage carts to $ 4.26 for 96 gallon carts.

Some people have already submitted virtual public comments regarding collection rate increases. Among them was John Roesli.

“The city should postpone any discussion of a tariff increase until Republic Waste Services Management has an approved deal with its workers’ union and all services have been restored,” he said. “The unionized workers’ strike should not be used as leverage for Republic Waster Services contract negotiators to gain approval for an increase in service fees. “

Ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, Republic Services said on Monday it was picking up residential trash, recycling and green waste carts this week in Chula Vista and unincorporated neighborhoods in San Diego County with the help of its drivers. “Blue crew” outside the zone. The city of San Diego is currently served only for garbage containers, the company said.

The city council meeting begins at 5 p.m. and will be held in person in the council chamber with limited seating due to COVID-19 measures, according to city staff. The meeting, which will be webcast live on the city’s website, will also be broadcast through speakers outside the rooms to maintain social distancing.