More than Meter Maids — In the Eye of the Relief Efforts

When the City of Los Angeles went into “pandemic response mode,” every single city worker was asked to step up and aid the citywide humanitarian relief efforts.

For the City’s Department of Transportation (LADOT) Traffic Officers, this meant being put on the frontlines of coordinating the traffic for Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) “Grab n Go” centers, and COVID-19 Testing Centers.

Since Mid-March, LAUSD has operated 60 “Grab n Go” centers with our LADOT SEIU 721 members managing vehicular traffic to ensure the efficiency and order during this tremendous time of need.

“These Grab n Go centers are to help people out that don’t have jobs. Sometimes these meals are the only food these kids will get,” says SEIU 721 E-Board member and LADOT Training Officer Victor Vasquez

“The lines are super long at most locations. At some locations, they’re 3 blocks long. We are absolutely proud of this work — it shows we’re not just meter-maids.”

But the COVID-19 work by LADOT Traffic Officers has not been exclusive to Grab n Go Centers. Most recently, LADOT Traffic Officers like Victor Vasquez are playing a key role in managing the flows at the City’s COVID-19 testing sites throughout the city, like at Dodger Stadium (watch video).

With the expansion of City’s free COVID-19 testing program, LADOT Traffic Officers will play an even more important role with the likely increase in traffic that comes with pent-up demand.

“We want to know if what we’re doing is the safest thing possible,” Vasquez adds. “For the COVID-19 Testing Sites, we really need the masks.”

SEIU 721 will continue to fight for Traffic Officers and every single member to ensure they have the adequate equipment to keep themselves safe, and the residents they serve. Stay tuned for updates on this story

**The Grab n Go program is expected to run through May and has handed out hundreds of thousands of meals to families. Since the City’s testing program began on March 20th, more than 21,000 tests have been completed.