The Great Neoliberal Burden Shift (Part I) – How Corporate America Offset Liability Onto the Public

This episode was produced by Citations Needed, in collaboration with Workday Magazine. “Choose the product best suited for baby,” Nestlé urged in a 1970s baby formula ad. “What size is your carbon footprint?” wondered oil giant BP in 2003. “Texting, music listening put distracted pedestrians at risk,” USA Today announced in 2012. These headlines and ad copy all offer a glimpse into a longstanding strategy among corporations: place the burdens of safety, health, and wellbeing on individuals, in order to deflect responsibility and regulation.

Minneapolis Federation of Teachers 59 at the Minnesota State Capitol while on strike in 2022.

Minnesota Unions Push for Bill Extending Unemployment Insurance to Striking Workers

Catina Taylor has worked as a special educational assistant for the past 25 years in Minneapolis Public Schools. She’s a member of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers 59 (MFT 59) and President of the Education Support Professionals (ESPs). In 2022, Minneapolis teachers went on strike for three weeks. Taylor was on the picket line—she remembers not being able to feel her feet in the cold. Although she looks back fondly on the “historic” strike, she adds that it was a financially difficult time for many members. 

Going on strike is one of the most powerful tools workers have, but can be a difficult choice for workers to forgo weeks of pay in the hopes of making greater gains for the long term.

Amanda Maass is a childcare provider and involved with Kids Count On Us, a worker center dedicated to worker organizing and legislative protections for the essential workers.

Iron Range Childcare Worker on Organizing for Better Care for Children

The mines of the Mesabi Iron Range gleam red under the light covering of snow that remains after a historically warm winter in northern Minnesota. Hibbing, a mining town of around 16 thousand people, bustles with industry. And in any town with working people, you’ll find the working people who make all other industries possible: the childcare workers. 

Iron Range Tykes, a small childcare center in Mountain Iron, Minn., sits on a small hill just off Minnesota State Highway 33. There’s a fenced-in playground and a full parking lot. Amanda Maass, 34, a long-time childcare worker, has worked there for the past three years.

A black woman wearing a blue long sleeve shirt stands at a podium raising her hand and pointing upwards, a brown woman holding a piece of paper and wearing a black scarf with rainbow details stands beside the podium in front of a background of multicolored banners

La historia laboral más importante en este momento está en Minnesota. Podría ser el modelo que todos necesitamos.

Brenda Johnson de la Federación de Maestros de Minneapolis Local 59 y Eva López de SEIU Local 26 en una reunión en octubre de 2023 donde muchos de los grupos comunitarios y sindicatos alineados alrededor de la fecha límite de hoy del 2 de marzo elaboraron estrategias sobre la mejor manera de aprovechar su poder colectivo. (PHOTO CREDIT: CORTESIA DE GEOFF DITTBERNER, SEIU MINNESOTA)