Six metro Detroit hospital systems colluded to suppress registered nurse wages, contributing to nursing shortages and holding back nurses from pay hikes, a lawsuit filed last week alleges.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in Detroit's U.S. District Court, seeks an estimated $340 million for 16,800 registered nurses working full-time since 2002 at the six hospitals, according to Daniel Small, a partner with Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, a Washington, D.C., law firm that filed the lawsuit with James & Hoffman, also of Washington, D.C. It hopes to establish the group as a class action.
On average, RNs were underpaid about $5,000 a year, Small said. The Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that RNs in the Detroit, Livonia and Dearborn area were paid an average of $28.38 per hour in 2005.