by Photo courtesy of Malik Earnest.

Chula Vista residents continue to haul their trash to the Otay Landfill as Republic Services and Teamsters Local 542 failed to reach an agreement in their 11th negotiation session. 

Trash has accumulated in Chula Vista and areas of San Diego since Dec.17, when over 250 Republic Services sanitation workers walked off from the job to call for better working conditions and pay. A spokesperson for the company released a statement on Wednesday: 

“Republic Services is disappointed that our 11th negotiation session with the union failed to reach an agreement. We take pride in providing all of our employees with competitive wages and a generous total rewards package. We are committed to continuing to bargain in good faith and remain ready to resume negotiations for a contract that is fair for all. With the help of our Blue Crew relief drivers, we are making progress in servicing as many customers as possible, and we thank our municipal partners and customers for their continued patience.”

In recent days, residents and private transporters have arrived at the Otay Landfill to dispose of garbage they collected during the holidays. Chula Vista resident, Malik Earnest, posted a video and photos he took with a drone to illustrate the labor dispute. Groups of workers from the Republic company, identified with yellow vests, protested with banners at the entrance of the company.

Republic Services said it made unprecedented profits only in the quarter that ended last June. 

"Excluding certain benefits and expenses, on an adjusted basis, net income for the three months ended June 30, 2021, was $ 349.9 million," Republic Services wrote. 

The city of Chula Vista expressed concern.

"We hope they will resolve this labor dispute soon," the city said in a statement. "City staff are working with Republic Services to ensure that, at a minimum, trash is collected from homes and businesses."

Chula Vista is also working "to restore recycling and green waste disposal services, and to develop contingency plans if services are not immediately resumed."

Despite this, many residents of the South Bay have preferred to transport their accumulating trash rather than wait for the collection company. 

An Eastlake resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said “I prefer to cover the back of my SUV with paper and newspaper and take my trash to the landfill."

They explained that organic waste "only lasts for a limited time before it decomposes, starts to smell terrible, and festers."

“Obviously this not only looks bad, it already starts to smell bad, and it can become a breeding ground for vermin. If that happens, I do not think they want to pay for the remedy, so preventing, I take the garbage. Everyone should do the same,” the resident said.

The city of Chula Vista instructed residents to contact Republic Waste at 619-421-9400 for critical issues.

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