SALINAS, Calif. -

Registered nurses at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital plan to picket outside the hospital Thursday afternoon.

Nurses say they are rallying against what they say is the administration's refusal to address concerns about patient safety. That includes proposed layoffs of registered nurses, which the nurses' union says would further erode care standards.

RNs, who are represented by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, will also call on the hospital district board to remove Salinas Valley CEO Pete Delgado for policies that the nurses say undermine patient safety at the hospital.

Nurses say Delgado took a big pay raise in June even as the administration is proposing major staffing cuts.

"If management's proposal to cut nursing and support staff goes forward, patients at Salinas Valley Memorial will suffer since it is already a challenge to provide patients with the attention and care they require," said Molly McCarty, a Salinas Valley RN. "It's really outrageous that the current CEO, Pete Delgado thinks he can fool the public – giving himself a huge raise, cutting staff and then announcing that he's doing this to improve patient care."

The protest follows an announcement by the hospital administration that it could seek to eliminate as many as 54 registered nurses, as well as another 70 hospital staff members.