SAN DIEGO — The trash strike that has plagued neighborhoods in San Diego County came to an end Monday after union workers voted 138 to 70, agreeing to pass the deal offered by waste-management company Republic Services.
The City of Chula Vista confirmed in a statement Monday that Republic Services will resume regular service of trash, recycling and yard waste starting Tuesday.
“Following the City Council ratification on January 15 of the City Manager’s Local Emergency
Declaration on January 12, city crews have been working hard to address the accumulation of trash in
multi-family complexes, which have been disproportionately impacted by the work stoppage,” the city’s statement read. “City crews have picked up more than 100,000 pounds of trash and serviced over 200 multi-family units.”
Cleanup efforts will continue through the end of the week, according to the city.
“Republic Services is pleased that we were able to reach agreement for a new contract with the union that represents our San Diego and Chula Vista employees,” the company said in a statement. “We take pride in providing all of our employees a total compensation package that includes competitive wages and comprehensive benefits.
“We thank our customers for their patience and understanding during this challenging time. We welcome our employees back to work and look forward to resuming normal service and cleaning up our communities as quickly as possible.”
According to union workers, the deal gives them $1.90 more, along with a $1,000 bonus for this year. The five-year deal bumps pay 50 cents for three years and a $1.50 on the final year of the cycle.
“Let’s get back to work, resume back to normal,” union member Michael Bernardo said. “What a special day in history for us all and it landed on the day we celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday.”
However, not all members were thrilled with the final settlement.
“I voted against it,” union member Dohney Castillo said. “I feel that we deserved a lot more than what we got, both monetarily and other parts of the contract.”
But even the union members who dissented to the contract say they will stand by the terms and get back to working as hard as they can.
“I feel grateful we will be able to get back to work, get back to our communities and get back to our customers and get them squared away as far as their services go,” Castillo said.
Shortly following the accepted deal around noon, Chula Vista City Councilmember Jill Galvez told FOX 5 she was happy about the decision, but is “still going to pressure Republic to give full monthly rebates, do their job, pick up the trash, and watch them closer than ever.”
“The fines and penalties are going to be steep and we’re going to make sure they pay them,” Galvez said.
Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas also commented on the vote.
“I am glad that the strike has been settled and understand the difficult position of sanitation workers as they fought for dignity and respect,” Salas said. “I am also so proud of our city crews for stepping up and pivoting from their normal duties to make sure our city gets cleaned up. Thank you to all our residents for their patience through this difficult and unprecedented situation.”
On Sunday, Republic Services announced their “last, best, and final offer” to Teamsters Local 542 as a Monday deadline, set by San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, loomed.
According to the company, the “final offer” included significant increases in wages and benefits, in addition to other enhancements to its employees’ total compensation packages. Republic Services also featured a new financial incentive for employees tied to ratification and agreement by the union.
With overflowing trash bins seen around the county and Chula Vista in a public health emergency, Gloria threatened fines and even ending the city’s own agreement with the company after its 250 workers walked off the job last month to strike for better wages, benefits and working conditions.
To report trash accumulation in multi-family complexes, the City of Chula Vista says it will be setting up a phone line and email where property managers can request cleanup from city crews and contractors. Those details will be announced on Tuesday, the city added.