This paper provides an empirical test of the predictions of a standard private
information model of labor strike activity using ﬁrm-speciﬁc sales data and wage and strike
data from 1124 collective bargaining agreements made in the U.S. manufacturing sector.
The implications of the private information model are tested directly by using the error in
forecasted sales as a proxy for the private information on proﬁtability held by the ﬁrm, and
the variance of the forecast error in sales as a proxy for the union’s ex ante uncertainty. In
support of the model, strike incidence and unconditional duration are negatively correlated
with the forecast error and positively correlated with the variance of the forecast error.
Furthermore, the variance of the forecast error is systematically related to the stage of
settlement of collective bargaining agreements. Contrary to the predictions of the model,
there is no evidence that wages are correlated with the forecast error in sales in those
bargaining agreements which involve a strike.