FAIRBANKS - The Fairbanks City Council turned down a proposed three-year contract for city firefighters.
The rejection by a 3-2 vote raises the prospect of arbitration. Firefighters have been working under an expired contract since 2005.
Fairbanks Firefighters Association president Dominic Lozano said he is surprised by Monday's vote.
The firefighters' union is the last of four in Fairbanks to work out a new labor deal following 2003 budget cuts that reduced worker benefits.
The other unions cover police, city hall workers and public works employees.
The proposed firefighters' contract called for increasing minimum on-duty staffing levels, from nine to 10 workers.