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Chula Vista Mayor on sanitation strike: 'They have wages that are not sustainable in the County of San Diego'

Republic Services said it's bringing in more workers to replace the people still on the picket line.

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — The Mayor of Chula Vista is speaking out about the sanitation worker strike, as the strike continues in her city and other parts of San Diego County.

Financial offers have been made and rejected by both parties and as the trash continues to pile up, Republic Services said it's bringing in more workers to replace the people still on the picket line.

“They are bringing in people from out of state. So, in essence, they’re strikebreakers, right?” said Mary Casillas Salas, Chula Vista Mayor.   

Salas said she was torn about requiring Republic Services to continue picking up trash as they normally would.

Strikers and Republic planned to attend Tuesday’s Chula Vista City Council meeting which can be viewed here.

“I have full support for the sanitation workers. They are striking and rightfully so. They have wages that are not sustainable in the County of San Diego,” Salas said. 

But after three weeks of the trash strike, Salas said something had to be done. Some recycling items have gone to waste because they haven’t been picked up in weeks.

“Our contract with the city and Republic goes through the end of 2024. So, we’re locked into that contract, so there’s very little we can do except to hold them accountable to pick up the trash. They do have to pick up the trash,” Salas said. 

Republic Services released a statement Monday saying:

“Republic Services is picking up residential trash, recycling, and green waste carts this week in Chula Vista and in unincorporated San Diego County with the help of our Blue Crew relief employees. Due to potential contamination by weather and/or other trash, all three types of waste are being disposed of as trash this week. We are bringing in additional relief crews to help us reach even more customers. We continue to coordinate with our municipal partners as we work toward a long-term solution, and we thank customers for their understanding.”

Meanwhile, the strikers say they want a two-dollar raise, the same financial offer made to workers in L.A. and Orange County.

“I also heard that everything was supposed to be picked up today and it’s not happening. The only way the City of Chula Vista is going to get cleaned up is for us to go back to work. Not the Blue Crew, us. The drivers right here, that’s picketing,” said Laderer Hampton, a driver who's been with Republic Services for 16 years and is now on strike.   

Salas also said they’ll be looking at alternatives like having the city provide its own trash services or adding more protections for workers and the city before signing the next contract.

WATCH RELATED: Sanitation Strike | Trash pickup in Chula Vista amid concerns 

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