City workers remove trash
Chula Vista city employees and contract workers remove trash as an apartment complex. Courtesy of the city

Chula Vista has deployed city workers to pick up trash as a strike by Republic Services waste disposal employees entered a fifth week.

The work stoppage by striking employees of the private trash hauler has caused interruptions and delays in service in San Diego County’s second largest city since Dec. 17.

The city said Wednesday more than 30 staff from the Community Services, Public Works and Environmental Services departments have been redirected to pick up and transport the overflow trash, respond to inquiries, and coordinate public requests for assistance with trash.

Contract workers from Work for Hope and Alpha Project are assisting with the pick up, which is focused on multi-family housing complexes,

“This is a public health emergency,” declared Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas. “We shouldn’t have to move staff from their regular jobs to help clear some of the trash that has piled up over the past four weeks, but unfortunately that is what we have to do.”

“The best way to get this resolved is to have all parties get back to the negotiating table and come to agreement on a fair deal for our essential sanitation workers,” she said.

A special online City Council meeting to discuss the situation is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday after being postponed because of technical difficulties.

The strike also affects multi-family housing units in San Diego, and Mayor Todd Gloria has threatened to fine the company and consider terminating its franchise.

“With no resolution after weeks of negotiation between Republic Services and its striking workers, my office has given the company until Monday before escalating action to compel the trash hauler to meet their obligations under their franchise agreement,” he said Friday.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.