CHULA VISTA, Calif. –The trash keeps piling up and the calls keep coming from local leaders for Republic Services to do something about it.
Chula Vista City Council was scheduled to meet Friday to ratify a local health emergency declared this week, but technical glitches delayed the meeting until 6 p.m. Saturday. Under the emergency declaration, city workers are being diverted to collect overflow trash from multifamily complexes as well as at commercial and industrial sites.
The city also is ramping up communication efforts and plans to launch a call center and a new email address by Jan. 18 for residents to report overflowing trash.
“My neighbors (and) everybody I talk to wherever I go, this is an issue,” Councilmember John McCann said Friday.
Frustration among the community has been building for nearly a month since some 250 Republic Services workers represented by Teamsters Local 542 walked off the job. In general, they’re picketing for higher wages, better benefits and improved working conditions.
The result of rounds of failed negotiations is being felt in San Diego and South Bay neighborhoods, some even dealing rodent infestations after weeks without trash or recycling pickup by Republic.
The two hardest-hit areas are multifamily residences and commercial properties, according to McCann. He said declaring the local emergency will be a critical step in cutting down some of the mounds of trash.
“We’re going to put up sites throughout the city where people can bring trash and employees can help manage that trash,” he said. “Then Republic Services will be able to pick it up, so that’ll become a much more efficient way.”
The city currently can’t hire another company for trash service because of its contract with Republic, which has two years left. Officials say they’re now exploring all legal options.
“We do look at different things to be able to document what is going on,” McCann said. “We obviously can’t have them not working for the next two years.”
Also exploring his legal options is San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. He announced Friday his office has given Republic until Monday to reach a deal with its 250 striking workers, threatening fines and even ending the city’s own agreement with the company.
“We’ve been extremely patient,” Gloria tweeted Friday. “Enough is enough.”