This is another article that makes similar claims and even accuses collusion.
The Migration and Incorporation of Filipino Nurses
Paul Ong and Tania Azores
Paul Ong, et al. Editors, The New Asian Immigration in Los Angeles and Global Restructuring. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994.
The dis-equilibrium in the nursing labor market is not merely the result of the dynamic mismatch between supply and demand.
The shortage is tied to wages that have remained below market level because hospitals, which employ about 70 percent of the nurses, have colluded to set rates.
Under monopsonistic conditions, which exist when there is one buyer of labor and many sellers of labor, a firm can maximize profits by setting wages below the market rate.
Consequently, there is excess demand, or its equivalent, labor shortage, at the prevailing wages, and the value derived from the employees is greater than the wage bill.
When there is more than one firm, monopsony outcomes are achieved through employers acting in unison to set wage rates. Both empirical and legal evidence show that hospitals have indeed operated in such a fashion (Cleland, 1989, 166167; Yett, 1975).
Hospitals have been able to collude because their product market is local in scope; thus the number of buyers of labor is sufficiently small that employers can act as a cartel. For example, facilities in southern California operated through their local hospital association to keep wages down (Hunter, 1986, 132).
The ability to pursue such actions has been enhanced by the recent trends in mergers in the health care field, which not only increase corporate profits (Woolley, 1989) but also facilitate monopsonistic behavior in the labor market by shrinking the number of hospitals per local market.
Nursing wages are further depressed by sex-based wage discrimination at the occupational level. One of the realities of the United States's labor market is a significant degree of segregation by gender, which produces many occupations that are predominantly male or female. Through both economic and institutional mechanisms, the gender composition of an occupation influences wage levels independent of personal and other structural characteristics, with wages falling as the female proportion increases (Sorensen, 1989).
Wage levels in nursing, which remains overwhelmingly female, have been kept low through this form of sex discrimination. Although alternative job-evaluation models yield widely varying and sometime conflicting estimates of the impact of occupation-based discrimination, the results for registered nurses consistently show that their wages should be increased to achieve equity, by anywhere from a low of 14 percent to a high of 68 percent (Aaron and Loughy, 1986, 3335).
Granted this is an old article, 1994, but my paycheck hasn't changed dramatically since then.
I wonder if there is any new information on this topic out there?
[ June 01, 2001: Message edited by: PeggyOhio ]