Financially distressed Pennsylvania cities and their public employee unions no longer seem interested in heading to the bargaining table to settle their contracts, according to Ballard Spahr partner Kenneth M. Jarin. In the past, when a new contract was set to go to collective bargaining, negotiations between the municipality and the union typically resulted in a settlement.

"But in these tough economic times, we are seeing less and less settlements and more contracts going to arbitration," Mr. Jarin said. He and Ballard Spahr partner Patrick J. Harvey represented the City of Bethlehem in an interest arbitration with the local firefighters union.