- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Dozens of firefighters are urging the Providence City Council to oppose the mayor’s plan to restructure the fire department.

Mayor Jorge Elorza has ordered the fire department to shift from four platoons to three and require firefighters to work 56 hours weekly - 14 more than is stated in their union contract.

Union members at a public hearing Tuesday at City Hall said the new schedule requires an unsafe number of work hours. They say the union should be able to negotiate members’ working conditions.

The mayor has said he wants to collectively bargain pay rates, but threatened to implement his plan no matter what by July 1.

No council members have publicly supported Elorza’s plan. Any changes made to the union contract would need their approval.

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