Chula Vista

City of Chula Vista to Declare a Public Health Emergency Due to Republic Services Strike

The declaration is expected to be approved next Tuesday at the next council meeting

Ramon Galindo/NBC 7

The Chula Vista City Manager will be declaring a Public Health Emergency and invoking the self-help clause on their contract with Republic Services, said councilmember Jill Galvez in a statement Wednesday.

The declaration is expected to be approved next Tuesday at the next council meeting.

"The state of trash accumulation in our city is unacceptable, but especially so at our multifamily housing developments throughout our city," Galvez said.

Galvez said city staff has begun to work on picking up trash overflows at apartment complexes, or multifamily housing complexes, throughout Chula Vista and are coordinating with Republic Services to empty bins after the surrounding trash is cleared.

An email and call center will be established and available by next week for multifamily complexes to call the city and file a report, Galvez said.

The Teamsters Local 542 strike started on Dec. 17. A spokesperson told NBC 7 they’re asking Republic Services for better pay, improved working conditions and safer equipment.

Most of the 260 striking employees are drivers that earn around $24.60 per hour, according to a board member with Local 542. They're hoping to get closer to $31, which was the average hourly pay for all jobs in San Diego County in May 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Chula Vista city leaders want the city's trash service provider to stop penny pinching, but the company says the wages they offer are fair. NBC 7's Omari Fleming has the story.

To get there, Local 542 is trying to negotiate a $2 hourly raise with $1 increases each year until the current contract expires in 2025.

“That contract is not a good one,” Salas told NBC 7 Tuesday.

Richard Copeland with Republic Services said what they're offering the union, including benefits, overtime and allowance, is already on par with some police and paramedics in Chula Vista.

"They fall squarely within and above their essential worker colleagues. That’s on the current contract. We’ve been working a month to improve that situation," Copeland said.

“I’ve seen the proposal that Republic’s been offering, and I don’t think that it’s enough,” Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas said. “It’s really ludicrous that Republic is saying that ‘They’re like family,’ and they want them to get back to work. Well, you know what? Stop treating them like poor stepchildren.”

Galvez said she has requested that the Chula Vista City Manager assess the penalties and fines to Republic Services for each violation of their contract and to hire outside firms to pick up trash that Republic Services has not picked up since December.

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