About 400 Republic Services employees who are members of Teamsters Local 396 went on strike as they accused management of making "unilateral changes without bargaining and threatening reprisals against employees who participate in union activity,'' according to a statement from the union.
The union's contract expired Sept. 30 and the sanitation workers voted Nov. 23 to authorize a strike.
"As far as our customers, we ask that we be patient in servicing you," Katherine Tiffolla-Esquerra, a union spokeswoman. "We understand that the trash is not going to get picked up. I know that our customers will back us. They are 100% with us because we are in their neighborhood -- as early as 7 and as late as 8 p.m. That's a 14-hour shift -- that's a long time to be hauling trash."
The union represents workers in Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Anaheim, Huntington Beach and Seal Beach.
"Republic Services is in contract negotiations covering our Teamsters-represented employees in Orange County," the company said in a statement. "Republic respects the rights of our employees to engage in the collective bargaining process, and we continue to negotiate in good faith to achieve fair and competitive labor contracts."