Blocked from striking by a temporary restraining order, thousands of registered nurses at University of California medical centers are nonetheless holding rallies Thursday, including one at UCLA, to protest staffing shortages and patient safety issues. Beth Kean, chief negotiator for the California Nursing Association's UC Division, stated that the “number-one priority remains correcting the chronic staffing issues at University of California medical centers.”

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, nearly 11,000 nurses had planned to walk out at five University of California medical centers today when a San Francisco Superior Court judge issued a temporary restraining order on Tuesday, putting a halt to the strike. The restraining order was issued based on arguments the temporary loss of nurses would harm greater public safety.

The nurses had planned to join 12,000 Minnesota nurses in the one-day strike as part of a national movement highlighting staffing shortages at hospitals. Even without the UC nurses, the walkout is still set to be the largest registered nursing strike in U.S. history. Nurses in both states have emphasized that low staffing levels, not wages, are the primary concerns.

UC officials have denied allegations that the hospitals are understaffed, according to Associated Press.

“Union allegations about inadequate staffing simply have no merit,” according to a statement issued by the University of California. “Patient safety is a top concern and we adhere to all staffing laws.”

Today's protests will be held at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center in San Pedro and Citrus Valley Medical Center in Covina.

A court hearing on June 18 has been scheduled to decide whether or not a temporary injunction against a teachers' strike should be granted.

LA Weekly