Neither public sector managers nor public sector union leaders will be effective if they do not reconsider their traditional strategies. Old industrial paradigms of production and employment practices will no longer satisfy the demands placed on public managers. Unions can no longer simply react to management decisions or depend on the support and good will of the public and politicians.
Cooperative efforts between labor and management to improve public services are a mechanism to deal with these stresses. Almost every public sector labor-management initiative we have encountered began in response to external pressure: whether it is pressure to do more work with fewer resources, or a community was angry at the quality of service, or the private sector was promising the service at a lower price.