Mediation fails in Rhode Island public pension lawsuit

NEW YORK, April 11 Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:58pm EDT

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NEW YORK, April 11 (Reuters) - Talks to end a legal challenge to Rhode Island's public pension reform failed on Friday, both sides said, putting the state on track for a potentially costly trial against labor unions in a closely-watched battle over public sector retirement benefits.

Firefighters, teachers and retirees involved in the suit had all agreed to a settlement. But police union members rejected the agreement, prompting the state judge overseeing the litigation to order the parties back to mediation on Monday.

"Due to a small group of union members the settlement agreement has failed and the mediation process has ended," Governor Lincoln Chafee and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo said in a statement. (Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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