SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Republic Services trash haulers are officially back on the job beginning Tuesday morning, and they will have their work cut out for them.
Now that the month-long walk-out has finally come to an end, the massive clean-up begins: and for some neighborhoods, it could take a while.
"There's a lot of 'Republic' trash in San Diego, so it's definitely going to take a minute!" said Aliza Zanot, a tattoo artist who works in North Park.
For those who live and work in communities serviced by Republic Services, including North Park, these past four weeks-plus have been trying, as the trash has continued to pile up.
"It's very crazy," Zanot told CBS 8. "It's been stacked up so high for so long, and it's just been really frustrating."
It's not only been frustrating but a potential health hazard as well.
"A lot of flies, bugs, roaches around there," Zanot added. "It is really disgusting."
"The raccoons... they're big enough where they don't back down: you back away from the raccoon!" said Rob Gworek, who has lived in North Park for more than three decades.
"There's been a trash problem here even before the strike," Gworek told CBS 8. "It just got worse."
"I think people have been dumping garbage at other dumpsters that are getting privately picked up, and that doesn't work either, he added. "It's just trash all over the place."
As the month-long strike winds down, Republic Services customers said they are pleased that the workers received more pay in the end.
"They definitely needed that raise," Zanot said "They're dealing with bio-hazards, dangerous waste, all that stuff. They deserve to get paid extra."
"San Diego is becoming a city where people who provide services more and more can't afford to live here," Gworek noted. "And that's not good for any city: that's a loss of community."
As for the past month of paying Republic but not receiving its services, they believe a refund or a credit is in order
"Trash is not cheap," Zanot said.
At this point, it's unclear whether the city of San Diego plans to seek a refund from Republic Services. In Chula Vista, though, council member Jill Galvez has said she plans to hold Republic Services accountable for the lack of service, demanding a full refund for those impacted.
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