by Photo courtesy of Erika Montes De Oca

On Wednesday, Republic Services is expected to be back at the bargaining table to continue negotiations for a fair contract with Sanitation Workers, the company wrote in an emailed statement on Tuesday. 

Earlier this month, sanitation workers employed by the Phoenix-based company Republic Services and Teamsters Local 542, the union representing over 250 waste employees, went on strike. The workers addressed workplace safety concerns, excessive labor, harassment, and wages. 

Many residents in Chula Vista and San Diego County have been impacted since the workers walked off the job on Dec.17 after authorizing the strike two days prior. Customers can take their trash to the Otay Landfill in Chula Vista or Sycamore Landfill in Santee until further notice.

Although the company said it is "encouraged" to continue negotiations with the unionized workers, it said, "the union's wage demands are not in line with current local market rates."

"Although Republic drivers' average wages are already highly competitive with wages paid by other haulers in the San Diego area, the union is demanding significant increases that simply do not reflect our local market," Republic Services wrote in an emailed statement.

According to a joint statement released on Monday by Chula Vista Councilmember Steve Padilla and Deputy Mayor Andrea Cardenas, city representatives have worked this past week and through the holiday weekend to ensure the company continues to deliver services under their franchise agreement. Their efforts have failed to resume full regular services. 

The waste disposal company said it has brought in the help of Blue Crew Relief drivers to provide collection services in many neighborhoods. The company's media relations said, "Republic is grateful to our customers for their continued patience and understanding." 

The joint statement announced resumed negotiations on Tuesday morning. 

"We encourage prompt settlement on a fair contract to be concluded so that we may resolve this untenable situation. We value the work of our critical frontline sanitation workers, particularly during the time of a global pandemic," the statement read. 

On Friday, Teamsters Local 542 sat at the bargaining table with Republic Services, but they failed to reach an agreement. Republic Services said in a statement Sunday that they were "disappointed that the parties did not reach an agreement on a new labor contract during our Christmas Eve negotiations with the union."

"Republic will continue to negotiate in good faith for a fair and competitive contract so that we can resume waste and recycling collection in San Diego County and Chula Vista as soon as possible. We are doing everything within our power to resume normal service and continue to thank customers for their patience and understanding," Republic Services said.

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