Lawyers for the city of Providence, Rhode Island, and its firefighters union say a judge must decide whether the union had the right to seek arbitration over changes the city made to its members' schedules and pay last month.
Lawyers met with a Superior Court judge on Tuesday following three weeks of failed mediation.
Mayor Jorge Elorza increased firefighters' base workweeks from an average of 42 hours to 56 hours. He says the city spends about $9 million annually on fire department overtime and that his restructuring could save the city as much as $5 million a year.
The union says he is violating their contracts because he must bargain the effects it has on their pay.
Elorza bumped firefighter pay by 8 percent to account for the increased hours.