Republic Services has agreed to a universal trash credit for single-family residences in principal after a Tuesday night Chula Vista City council meeting in closed session.
According to councilmember John McCann, city management still has to negotiate the exact refunded amount to single-family residences and is still trying to get a commitment for credit for multifamily owners.
“I believe that we are making progress in protecting the ratepayers and getting them a credit they deserve," McCann wrote in an email to Chula Vista Today.
The city of Chula Vista applied pressure to the waste management company after services were interrupted during December and residents were still being billed. City officials met with Republic Services on Feb. 7 to urge the company to pay back over 50,000 customers in Chula Vista billed during the month-long strike.
Approximately 250 employees of Republic Services, members of Teamsters Local No. 542, went on strike in December vocalized safety concerns, a need for better wages, and benefits. The work stoppage impacted Chula Vista and parts of San Diego, and many residents opted to hail their trash to landfills.
A new contract was signed on Jan. 17 after numerous failed negotiation attempts with striking workers. The company told impacted customers it would handle refunds on a case-by-case basis.
Last month, Chula Vista city manager Maria Kachadoorian sent a letter to Republic Services demanding a meeting to discuss plans to credit impacted customers. Kachadoorian said the case-by-case strategy is “just creating another mess,” during a city council meeting, further suggesting that the company provide a “global credit,” depending on received services such as residential or industrial.
“We are getting complaints from constituents who are being put on hold and who are basically on call for quite a bit a long time for a $5 credit. Others are getting a $10 credit. It’s inequitable,” Kachadoorian said during the meeting.
Kachadoorian said the cost is about $150,000, but it is being calculated and outlined for the waste hauler.
The letter came after two San Diego Lawyers filed a lawsuit against Republic Services in U.S. District Court on behalf of a customer who paid for undelivered services. The 14-paged complaint accuses the company and its related company Allied Systems of breach of contract under their agreements with Chula Vista and some parts of San Diego.
Additionally, the lawsuit alleges unjust enrichment and violation of unfair competition laws.