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ABSTRACT

I analyze the strategic use of debt financing to improve a firm's bargaining position with an important supplier—organized labor. Because maintaining high levels of corporate liquidity can encourage workers to raise their wage demands, a firm with external finance constraints has an incentive to use the cash flow demands of debt service to improve its bargaining position with workers. Using both firm-level collective bargaining coverage and state changes in labor laws to identify changes in union bargaining power, I show that strategic incentives from union bargaining appear to have a substantial impact on corporate financing decisions.