The initial model for public sector conflict resolution was the private sector. There, the tradition for decades has been direct negotiations, with some prodding on occasion by federal mediators, and with settlements reached by the parties prior to strike in the vast majority of cases. In only a handful of private sector disputes was there full-fledged mediation and in those cases, too, settlement was routinely achieved prior to strike deadline. Yet the strike deadline was very real. "No contract, no work" was tbe universally accepted threat.
Despite its availability, the strike was seldom used. Strikes resulted in a loss of only 2 to 2-V2 percent of available work hours, a figure less than the work hours lost in coffee breaks. The private sector system of "settle or strike" seemed to work.