PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The federal government shutdown has suspended the ongoing mediation in the lawsuit challenging Rhode Island's public pension overhaul.

The Providence Journal reports on Tuesday that with most federal mediators on furlough, talks between the state and its public employee unions are on hold.

A Superior Court judge ordered federal mediation last year in the court challenge, which was filed by public-sector unions and retirees unhappy with changes made to the state's pension system.

Lawmakers approved the overhaul in 2011. The landmark law raised retirement ages and suspended pension increases. Public-sector unions and retirees sued, arguing the changes were illegal.

The judge has imposed a gag order on participants in the court-ordered mediation.

An update on the progress of mediation had been scheduled for Oct. 28.

Shutterstock/Stephen B. Goodwin