Nurses claim victory over wage-fixing in New York, Michigan

Nurses at five hospitals have won their case in a class-action lawsuit against wage-fixing in Troy, N.Y., according to The Record.

The suit, brought against hospitals in the Capital District of Troy, alleged administrators conspired to keep nurse wages artificially low from 2002 to 2006, according to the article. The settlement affects about 3,200 registered nurses, each of which is expected to receive a check for $1,732 beginning on March 29.

"Through research we were able to prove that management tries to suppress wages, and not for any other reason than to increase profits," Lisa Brown, executive vice president of nurses' union 1199SEIU, told The Record. "I think it's a great victory for the nurses."

George Gresham, president of 1199SEUI, said the suit and settlement "put employers on notice that they will be held accountable to nurses, caregivers, communities and patients."

While the local union played a pivotal role in the case, few of the nurses affected by the wage-fixing were union members, the newspaper noted.

In a similar case from late March, Henry Ford Health System in Detroit agreed to pay more than $8.4 million to resolve putative class allegations that it conspired with other Detroit-area hospitals to suppress the wages of registered nurses, reported Law360.

Nurses benefiting from the settlement include all RNs who between December 2002 and December 2006 provided direct patient care at short-term, acute care facilities in Detroit-area hospitals named as defendants in the suit, according to Law360.

"Pursuant to this unlawful conspiracy, defendants and their co-conspirators have set the compensation of RNs employed at hospitals in the Detroit [area] at artificially low levels," the third corrected complaint in the suit said.

These victories for nurses come on the heels of a growing movement in support of nurses running their own private primary care practices, and general support for the U.S. healthcare system to embrace higher-level care roles for nurses.

To learn more:
- read the article from The Record
read the Law360 report

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