LA County Parks extends recreation program for LAUSD students impacted by possible strike

As a possible strike by the Los Angeles school workers union looms, parents within the Los Angeles Unified School District are being advised to make child care plans and talk to their employers as the district eyes a three-day strike that would shut down all schools within the LAUSD beginning Tuesday. 

Officials for the Service Employees International Local 99 union — representing roughly 30,000 cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians, special education assistants and other workers — said Saturday that they were "moving forward with plans to strike" Tuesday through Thursday to "protest the school district's unfair practices."

The district was scheduled to engage in labor talks Friday — not with the SEIU but with United Teachers Los Angeles, the powerful teachers' union, which has said its 30,000-plus members will honor an SEIU picket line. UTLA is pushing for a 20% raise for its workers. SEIU is seeking roughly 30%, saying many of its workers are paid poverty wages of about $25,000 per year.

In response, the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation's Every Body Plays program is expanding its hours at 16 select parks to help students and families impacted by the strike.


"Parks have always been safe havens for children to play and thrive when schools are closed. Creating a stress-free place for children to play underscores the vital role parks and our caring staff have in promoting positive youth development," said Norma Edith García-Gonzalez, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation.

The free drop-in recreation program invites kids ages 7 to 17 to participate in activities like sports, games, and arts and crafts. Participants can also get a free meal (breakfast from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) 

The 16 sites below will operate from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21 through Thursday, March 23, when the strike is scheduled to take place:

  • Belvedere Park (4914 E. Cesar Chavez Ave. Los Angeles, CA 9002)
  • City Terrace Park (1126 N. Hazard Ave, E. Los Angeles, CA 90063)
  • Obregon Park (4021 E. First St. Los Angeles, CA 90063)
  • Saybrook Park (6250 East Northside Dr. East Los Angeles, CA 90022)
  • Ruben Salazar Park (3864 Whittier Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90023)
  • Athens Park (12603 S. Broadway Los Angeles, CA 90061)
  • Bethune Park (1244 E. 61st St. Los Angeles, CA 9000)
  • Helen Keller Park (1045 W. 126th St Los Angeles, CA 90044)
  • Jesse Owens Park (9651 S. Western Ave Los Angeles, CA 90047)
  • Earvin Magic Johnson Park (905 E. El Segundo Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90059)
  • Roosevelt Park (7600 Graham Ave. Los Angeles CA 90001)
  • Ted Watkins Park (1335 E. 103rd St. Los Angeles, CA 90002)
  • Leon H Washington Park (8908 S. Maie Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90002)
  • Victoria Park (419 Martin Luther King Jr. St. Carson, CA 90746)
  • El Cariso Park (13100 Hubbard St. Sylmar, CA 91342)
  • Crescenta Valley Park (3901 Dunsmore Ave. Glendale, CA 91214)

The Dana Friendship Park and Nature Center in San Pedro and the Stoneview Nature Center in Culver City are also offering extended hours for the above dates and times, in addition to free breakfast and lunches while supplies last. 

The planned three-day walkout would be the first major labor disruption for the district since UTLA teachers went on strike for six days in 2019. That dispute ended thanks in part to intervention by then-Mayor Eric Garcetti, who helped spur labor talks at City Hall and broker a deal between the district and union.

SEIU workers have been working without a contract since June 2020.

City News Service contributed to this report.