NY hospital system settles suit over nurses' wages

Two-hospital health system Northeast Health of Albany, NY has agreed to pay $1.25 million to nurses who brought a lawsuit charging the area's hospitals of colluding to keep nurse wages low. As part of the settlement, Northeast agreed to cooperate with the nurses' lawyers, and also agreed not to share information on current or future nursing compensation with other hospitals.

The dispute began in 2006, when two Albany nurses had filed a class-action suit on behalf of 2,500 Albany-area nurses. The suit accuses hospitals of working together to control the nursing market by a) sharing detailed wage information and b) agreeing not to compete for nurses.

According to the suit, hourly rates paid by the hospitals differed by no more than $1, leading each nurse to lose $6,000 annually in compensation.

The suit targets a total of six hospitals and health systems, but Northeast is the first to settle. Meanwhile, similar suits have been filed against Chicago, Memphis, San Antonio and Detroit.

To learn more about the suit:
- read this Albany Times-Union piece