Judge Blocks One-Day Nurses’ Strike at UC Medical Centers
On Tuesday, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Peter Busch ordered a temporary restraining order prohibiting nearly 11,000 nurses at five University of California medical centers from participating in a one-day strike scheduled for Thursday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/9).
The UC medical center nurses, who are represented by the California Nurses Association, had planned toÂ strike withÂ 3,000 other union members and 12,000 nurses in Minneapolis to bring attention to ongoing disputes over staffing levels (DarcÃ©, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/9).
CNA has accused UC medical centers of failing to comply with a 1999 California law that established minimum nurse-to-patient ratios. UC officials have refuted the allegations (Caina Calvan, Sacramento Bee, 6/9).
Arguments Over Contract
The UC nurses' labor contract, which is set to expire Sept. 30, allows union leaders to reopen negotiations on staffing issues and suspend the contract'sÂ "no strike" clause.
UC attorneys argued that earlier discussions over staffing concerns ended in December and that the current dispute relates to the nurses' upcoming contract, making the strike unlawful.
Busch did not interpret the legality of the strike as part of his decision to issue a temporary restraining order.
Instead, the judge sided with a decision made last week by California's Public Employees Relations Board, which ruled that the strike could jeopardize patient safety (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/9). PERB has authority over bargaining agreements for public employees (Sacramento Bee, 6/9).
Busch's decision does not bar CNA nurses from striking at three private California hospitals:
- Citrus Valley Medical Center in Covina;
- Marina del Rey Hospital; and
- Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro (Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times, 6/9).
On Tuesday night, union leaders scheduled an emergency meeting to discuss their response to the ruling, which they are expected to announce Wednesday.
Busch is scheduled to hold a hearing on June 18 to determineÂ whether a preliminary injunction should be granted (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.