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Sanitation workers agree to new contract with Republic Services, ending strike

Teamsters Local 542 striking in front of Republic Services in Otay Ranch over stalled contract negotiations, Dec 27, 2021.
Matthew Bowler / KPBS
Teamsters Local 542 striking in front of Republic Services in Otay Ranch over stalled contract negotiations, Dec 27, 2021.

The strike started on Dec. 17 and disrupted trash services for Chula Vista and portions of the city of San Diego.

The month-long strike ended Monday as sanitation workers in Chula Vista and parts of San Diego reached an agreement with national waste hauling company Republic Services.

Teamsters Local 542, representing more than 250 sanitation workers, voted yes on a contract and the company agreed to award a $1,000 bonus for trash workers to return to work starting Tuesday.

RELATED: Overflowing trash leads to public health emergency in Chula Vista


On Sunday, Republic Services announced its “last, best and final offer” to the striking trash haulers. Details of the offer were not released but the company said it “includes significant increases in wages and benefits in addition to other enhancements to our employees’ total compensation packages.”

The strike ended on the deadline imposed by San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, who called on Friday for Republic Services to come to an agreement with the union.

“I look forward to Republic’s resumption of regular trash and recycle pick-up for its routes within the City of San Diego tomorrow (Tuesday),” Gloria said.

“Our workers are going back to work as it should be,” Teamster organizer Sal Abrica said.

With trash accumulating, causing odor and attracting vermin, the city of Chula Vista declared a public health emergency on Saturday.


“We are happy that Republic Services and their employees have come to an agreement. However, we are still going to pressure Republic to provide our residents, schools, churches, businesses, HOAs and apartment complexes full monthly rebates,” Chula Vista City Councilmember Jill Galves said in a statement to KPBS. “They need to do their job, and immediately pick up the trash that has accumulated for the past 30 days.”

Following Chula Vista’s Local Emergency Declaration, city workers picked up more than 100,000 pounds of trash, according to a city statement. City crews have been authorized to continue clean-up efforts throughout the week.

“I am glad that the strike has been settled and understand the difficult position of sanitation workers as they fought for dignity and respect,” Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas said in a statement. “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.”

Sanitation workers agree to new contract with Republic Services

Starting Tuesday, Chula Vista residents will soon be able to report trash accumulation via a new phone line and email. The number and email address will be announced then.

Republic Services is the second-largest trash collection, disposal and landfill corporation in America, with facilities in over 40 states.