Michael Lipsky

Michael Lipsky is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos, and the author of Street-Level Bureaucracy. During the Clinton Administration he served as a member of the Secretary of Labor’s Task Force on Excellence in State and Local Government through Labor-Management Cooperation. 

Recent Articles

ALEC’s Worthless Recommendations for Prosperity in the States

(Good Jobs First & The Iowa Policy Project)
For most of its history ALEC has operated in the background, but its influence recently drew the spotlight when its promotion of “Stand Your Ground” laws came to light in the wake of the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida. Faced with the potential of consumer boycotts, corporate sponsors such as McDonald’s and Pepsi withdrew their support . Henceforth, the organization announced, it would concentrate on state economic policy. State legislators who might look to the organization for leadership on economic policies should be wary of following ALEC’s lead in this arena. A startlingly candid report, “ Selling Snake Oil to the States ,” just released by the Iowa Policy Project and the Washington-based Good Jobs First, shows that ALEC’s recommendations for producing economic growth in the states are essentially worthless. This is a strong claim, but the researchers support their conclusion neatly by putting under the microscope the implicit predictions in the 2007 edition of Rich States,...

Time for Government and Public Workers to Be Friends Again

Labor-management cooperation is the key to treading the line between budget shortfalls and unions' demands.

A lost theme in improving public services—labor-management cooperation—has begun to receive long-overdue attention in recent weeks. Over the weekend The Washington Post gave front-page coverage to a Maryland teachers’ union collaborating with school authorities to accelerate curricular reform and improve teacher performance while disciplining ineffective teachers. Last month, Nicholas Kristof wrote approvingly in the New York Times of a comparable collaboration in New Haven. These examples hardly reflect a new development. In 2001, Toledo won an Innovations in American Government award from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government for its collaboration of organized teachers and school administrators. Parts of the Toledo Plan were replicated in other large Ohio cities. When Indianapolis decided to “contract out” some street repair work, the city’s unions persuaded Mayor Stephen Goldsmith to allow them to bid on the contract. The city workers won the contracts and saved the...