Trash piles up at a fast food restaurant during the Republic Services labor shutdown. Photo by Chris Stone
Trash piles up at a fast food restaurant during the Republic Services labor shutdown. Photo by Chris Stone

A month-long strike that disrupted garbage pickup throughout Chula Vista and for some San Diego customers ended Monday with an agreement between Teamsters Local 542 and Republic Services.

“I am glad that the strike has been settled and understand the difficult position of sanitation workers as they fought for dignity and respect,” said Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas. “Thank you to all our residents for their patience through this difficult and unprecedented situation.”

The South Bay city said regular collection of trash, recycling and yard waste would resume Tuesday.

Mayor Todd Gloria praised the agreement and said collections at multi-family residences and commercial locations in San Diego served by Republic Service would also resume Tuesday.

“I look forward to the trash that’s accumulated being collected quickly by workers now earning higher wages that help them support their families,” Gloria tweeted.

Gloria had threatened to suspend or terminate the city’s franchise agreement with Republic if the work stoppage did not end this week.

On Sunday, Republic gave the striking workers its “last, best and final offer that includes significant increases in wages and benefits in addition to other enhancements to our employees’ total compensation packages,” according to a statement from the company.

No details were immediately released, but the agreement approved on a 137-70 vote by union members reportedly included pay increases and a $1,000 one-time bonus.

Union leaders said the agreement provides for wage increases and some improvements to health insurance, but falls short of what Republic Services workers were fighting for.

“As our members return to work to begin cleaning up the mess Republic has made in our communities, we know that this has been a wake-up call for cities that use private waste haulers,” said Jaime Vasquez, secretary-treasurer of the local. “Sanitation workers put their lives on the line every day to protect the public health, doing the sixth-most deadly job in America.

The strike against the private trash hauler began Dec. 17. As it dragged on, Chula Vista assigned city workers to help with trash collection.

Salas said she was “proud of our city crews for stepping up and pivoting from their normal duties to make sure our city gets cleaned up.”

Updated at 5:05 p.m., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022

City News Service contributed to this article.

Chris Jennewein

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