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In the Midst of a National Nurse Shortage Crisis ... Nurses Celebrate Landmark Legal Settlement That Will Help Ensure Fair Compensation & Bring More RNs to the Bedside
Date:3/9/2009

The $1.25 Million deal is the first settlement in 5 lawsuits nationally aimed at stopping hospitals from conspiring to depress nurse wages

ALBANY, N.Y., March 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nurses today applauded the announcement of a settlement in a class action lawsuit which was reached between bedside nurses and Northeast Health, a network which includes Albany Memorial and Samaritan Hospitals. The lawsuit contends that Albany area hospitals had for years violated federal antitrust law by sharing confidential wage data and conspiring to depress wages for registered nurses. Nurses hailed the settlement as an important step towards ensuring fair compensation for their profession and helping to solve the nurse shortage crisis, thereby improving quality of care for patients.

The $1,250,872 settlement, which is subject to court approval, includes provisions to halt anti-competitive behavior by Northeast Health in the future. These provisions prohibit Northeast Health from sharing current and future nurse wage information with other healthcare facilities in the Albany area, and give plaintiffs access to Northeast Health witnesses in order to further prosecute the action against other area defendants. Northeast Health is the first among Albany area hospitals to "settle out" of the lawsuit and similar suits are moving forward in Detroit, Chicago, San Antonio and Memphis. The SEIU Nurse Alliance has played a leading role in supporting empirical research that has exposed the national problem of employer collusion around nurse wages, shown the link between wage levels and the shortage of bedside nurses, and demonstrated the importance of staffing levels for improving patient care.

"This is a breakthrough not only for nurses, but for the people we care for every day. For too long, hospitals cut corners when it came to valuing the hard work of nurses. Our hope is that this is the first step towards makin
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SOURCE 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
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