Nurses sick over salaries

TEXT OF STORY

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: We've all had that feeling, looking at our paychecks and thinking 'is that all I made?'

Well nurses in four cities thought there was something suspiciously uniform about their checks. They've filed lawsuits and two big hospital chains, HCA and Ascension Health, are named in the suit. The nurses believe their employers illegally shared wage information. Janet Babin says they're demanding millions in back pay and other compensation.

JANET BABIN: The nurses filed the lawsuits against hospitals in Chicago, Albany, Memphis and San Antonio. They say human resource departments at area hospitals called each other up and exchanged payroll information, then agreed on a limit to how much they'd pay.

The nurses legal team says in Memphis, for example, a nurse misses out on $14,000 a year.

Attorney Beth Shulman wrote "The Betrayal of Work." She says if the allegations are true, the hospitals would be in violations of federal antitrust laws.

BETH SHULMAN: "You can't conspire to not allow trade to go forward, and that's essentially what they're doing, conspiring to essentially hold wages."

One of the hospitals in the suit, the Albany Medical Center, said the allegations were completely unfounded and plans to fight the charges.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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