Patterico's Pontifications

3/26/2020

SEIU-UHW “Locates” 39 Million Desperately Needed Face Masks

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:29 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Reports are out that the SEIU miraculously “located” 39 million N95 masks:

Service Employees International Union United Healthcare Workers West announced Thursday that it located 39 million N95 masks and will make them available to state and local governments and health care systems that are fighting the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The union found a distributor with the masks, which are cleared for surgical use, after pleas from health care workers as new coronavirus cases surge across the state and the country as a whole.

Union officials said they also found a supplier that can produce some 20 million protective masks per week and another that can supply millions of protective face shields.

The SEIU-UHW issued this statement:

The Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) has located 39 million critically needed N95 masks and is connecting states, counties, health systems and individual hospitals to the supplier so they can purchase them in quantity.

The 3M™ N95 masks (model 1860) are cleared for use as surgical masks and are approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The union launched an exhaustive search for masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) five days ago in response to pleas from frontline healthcare workers that they need more protection and feel unsafe on the job as they treat the growing number of COVID-19 patients. SEIU-UHW has 97,000 members who work in hospitals across California.

Within 48 hours of painstakingly calling leads and potential suppliers, the union discovered a distributor who had the 39 million masks, and has since found another supplier who says his company can produce 20 million more masks a week. The union also has found a supplier who can deliver millions of face shields.

The masks are $5 each, and the union has no financial interest in the transactions. The masks are being distributed to unionized and non-unionized facilities alike.

I have questions: Who’s the distributor and why have they been sitting on theses masks until the union called? This especially as they knew that that medical professionals have been in dire need of them? And why did it take a call from the SEIU to get a manufacturer to say that they can provide 20 millions masks a week? Didn’t they know that there was already a dire need for the product – a need which they could apparently go a long way to filling? Were requests by other entities unanswered or denied? Also, what is the pre-coronavirus cost for an individual mask? And how was it that SEIU-UHW was able to locate them, and no one else was? Was no one else looking? Why didn’t this distributor and manufacturer come forward on their own? While I’m thrilled that the much needed masks are now available (and going to be made available in large quantities), something seems just a bit curious about this, no?
–Dana

90 Responses to “SEIU-UHW “Locates” 39 Million Desperately Needed Face Masks”

  1. Have these days of confinement just made me too cynical?

    Dana (4fb37f)

  2. Have these days of confinement just made me too cynical?

    I would blame years of exposure to the comment section of this blog over days of confinement…

    :)

    Dave (1bb933)

  3. Ha. But tell me, Dave, doesn’t this raise some questions for you too?

    Dana (4fb37f)

  4. Probably a union member knew the company was holding them back, let the union know and the union made the phone call.

    Nic (896fdf)

  5. I’ve got 100$ says Nic is right. If we ever get to the bottom of it I’ll also bet that the reason they were hidden is that someone screwed up and didn’t want to get in trouble so they were hiding them.

    Time123 (f5cf77)

  6. @4. Sounds likely.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  7. It’s Trump’s fault. Don’t know why, but I predict that within 50 posts or less, he will be blamed for this.

    Bored Lawyer (56c962)

  8. When demand for masks reached $50/unit, they’d have suddenly been found.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  9. So what does that say about a company that would willfully hold them back? And why on earth would they do that?

    Dana (4fb37f)

  10. @Dana

    Do you have the same concerns with the announced efforts by Google and Facebook to source masks? If not, why not?

    john (cd2753)

  11. This is great news of course. Anyone questioning good news just hopes the illness is really bad as a hoax to hurt Trump.

    Just kidding. I definitely am intrigued by who had all these masks as grocers and hospitals begged for them to slow the spread of this disease. If we crushed our economy to have the best chance we could, anyone sitting on these things for this long has a tough question to answer.

    Ideally the fed task force on disease response would have information about how many masks will be needed and where they are, and in January (when Trump claimed the virus was a hoax unfortunately) they would have gotten logistics organized. We’ll be finding all kinds of awesome caches and breakthroughs in research… they are good news but some of them represent missed opportunities.

    Dustin (928d9a)

  12. I edited my “smells fishy” to “something seems just a bit curious about this,no?” as I didn’t like the drama of “smells fishy”.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  13. So what does that say about a company that would willfully hold them back? And why on earth would they do that?

    Dana (4fb37f) — 3/26/2020 @ 1:11 pm

    My guess (based on in manufacturing) is that this wasn’t a company decision. This is someone in the middle who screwed up somehow and was trying to hide it.

    Alternative, someone in the upper middle trying to sandbag until prices went up.

    From what I’ve seen higher level leaders are more concerned about the damage price gauging could do to try and make extra money from a one time sale. The plant manager or general manager might play games…

    Time123 (f5cf77)

  14. john (cd2753) — 3/26/2020 @ 1:19 pm

    I get the impression that Google and Facebook are trying to use their resources to find and consolidate a lot of smaller caches of masks. I don’t have a problem with that at all. It might be a task they are suited for.

    This sounds like one company with a lot of masks. I’m not sure how much physical space 39M masks occupies but I feel like one company with that many would know.

    frosty (f27e97)

  15. So what does that say about a company that would willfully hold them back? And why on earth would they do that?

    Heroes of capitalism, Dana.

    It may be an inventory screw up, and not intentional. Or perhaps a delayed shipment from China finally cleared customs.

    Kishnevi (15a549)

  16. The supplier who can produce 20 million masks was probably found via networking among unions, asking around for a suitable factory.

    Kishnevi (15a549)

  17. Union officials said they also found a supplier that can produce some 20 million protective masks per week and another that can supply millions of protective face shields.

    How did that conversation go exactly? Joe: Hey Bob, you been watching the news? Bob: No, why? Joe: Seems like you mentioned something about being able to manufacture a bunch of stuff. There are these guys on the news saying they need a bunch of stuff. Bob: Hold on, let me turn on the TV.

    If this is the state of the manufacturing industry in the US it explains a lot about our reliance on the China.

    frosty (f27e97)

  18. A press release that lacks specificity, is questionable. It’s feels like the cover story is being crafted and not ready for release.

    Iowan2 (bbb95d)

  19. See, I don’t buy that they weren’t already aware of the crisis at hand. They could have voluntarily offered the information about their inventory right from the get-go (as soon as the desperate need was known). That they didn’t, speaks volumes. If we knew some time back that N95 masks were in severe shortage and supplies were dwindling, how much more would the distributors stockpliling them know? After all, they had a massive amount of desperately need product to unload.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  20. Totally fishy. This reminds me of those guys sitting on $17k worth of hand sanitizer.

    DRJ (15874d)

  21. A distributor has almost $200 million in inventory and isn’t aware of it until the SEIU asks him about it? Not buying it.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  22. I’m less confident.

    A box of 50 is 7.3×4.2×3

    39 million masks is 780,000 boxes which is 72 million cubic inches.

    A 40 foot shipping container is 4.7 million cubic inches (8ftx8.5ftx40ft)

    so 39 million masks would be sixteen 40 ft shipping containers.

    I’ve seen shipping departments misplace containers before, but that’s a pretty big amount.

    Time123 (f5cf77)

  23. RIP – Fred ‘Curly’ Neal

    One of the heroes of my childhood.
    _

    harkin (b64479)

  24. Purchsers so far:

    State of California
    Greater New York Hospital Association
    Dignity Health
    Kaiser Permanente
    Stanford Health Care
    Sutter Health
    Los Angeles County
    Riverside County
    Santa Clara County

    Dana (4fb37f)

  25. Per Bloomberg, on the price of the N95 masks:

    In America, states are bidding against one another for masks priced as much as 10 times the usual cost of 60¢ to 80¢ apiece.

    The cost referenced in the post is $5 per mask.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  26. Didn’t our great Attorney General hold a press conference a couple of days ago, announcing the investigation into, and prosecution of, persons or entities engaged in hording?

    I think I found some motivation of the release, and explanation of the timing.

    Iowan2 (bbb95d)

  27. Do you have the same concerns with the announced efforts by Google and Facebook to source masks? If not, why not?

    In California after the last fire season, all employers were required to keep a number of masks on hand per employee. Some, like Apple and Facebook, bought them by the truck load, and they were N95 masks. Others probably did the same. Someone, possibly at the union, added 2 and 2 and started talking to all of these companies to look at their stocks. Since few were actually in a business that needs them, there were probably millions that people literally forgot about.

    I’d be pretty skeptical if its one source of 39M, vs many sources of 1k-100k. Apple alone had 2M, and Facebook had 760k. Heck, we had 1k in our office in SFO for 125 people, and someone just stuck them in their truck and drove them to USF Hospital a few days ago. People totally forgot that they were a thing, why would a consulting company have half a store room full of them in cardboard boxes?

    As far as cost goes, you could buy 10 of them at Lowes for $9.99 a couple of months ago, and camelcamelcamel has the price for 20 at $12 just a month ago, and a low of $8ish, not $50 as it is now, if they were available.

    Colonel Klink (Red) (9878f6)

  28. I get the impression that Google and Facebook are trying to use their resources to find and consolidate a lot of smaller caches of masks. I don’t have a problem with that at all. It might be a task they are suited for.

    This sounds like one company with a lot of masks. I’m not sure how much physical space 39M masks occupies but I feel like one company with that many would know.

    frosty (f27e97) — 3/26/2020 @ 1:28 pm

    Yup. By all means bash google and facebook all day, but they aren’t profiteering by looking for more masks.

    In America, states are bidding against one another for masks priced as much as 10 times the usual cost of 60¢ to 80¢ apiece.
    The cost referenced in the post is $5 per mask.

    Dana (4fb37f) — 3/26/2020 @ 2:00 pm

    So a month ago, hospitals and grocers needed as many of these as possible to slow the spread. These guys either sat on them or ‘forgot’ they had them. Now they found them and could profit from the lapse to the tune of $150 million.

    A lot of crooks get into politics for special treatment. That was why Fred Trump got so involved with New York goon politics himself.

    Great post, Dana.

    Dustin (928d9a)

  29. It may be an inventory screw up, and not intentional. Or perhaps a delayed shipment from China finally cleared customs.

    Kishnevi (15a549)

    Bless your heart, kishnevi. Your generosity is noted.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  30. I was about to post this before opening to this article, the SEIU find is like being told to “Hold my Brewery”:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/national-cathedral-donation-5000-n95-masks-after-finding-them-in-a-crypt/

    urbanleftbehind (2641dd)

  31. Yesterday at presser: “We make the best medical equipment in the world.” – President Donald J. Trump, 3/25/2020

    Today at presser: “Roche. They’re doing a fantastic job.” – Presiden Donald J. Trump, 3/26/2020

    ‘F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG is a Swiss multinational healthcare company that operates worldwide under two divisions: Pharmaceuticals and Diagnostics. Its holding company, Roche Holding AG, has bearer shares listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. The company headquarters are located in Basel, Switzerland.’ -source, wikiTrumpdummy

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  32. From what I’ve been reading, the SEIU is being praised for this discovery, up one side and down the other.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  33. When stupidity is an adequate explanation, it’s a waste of time to look for conspiracies.

    John B Boddie (286277)

  34. Other entities are discovering long-forgotten stores of the masks to donate. These are not manufacturers, nor are they distributors of the masks:

    Joe Alonso, the head stonemason at the Washington National Cathedral, had tended to the building for 35 years. He knew its nooks and crannies.

    So when news spread of a shortage of N95 masks needed to fight the coronavirus outbreak, Mr. Alonso remembered something nobody else did: More than 7,000 masks — purchased in 2005 or 2006 amid worries about an avian flu outbreak — were stashed away in an unfinished burial vault in the cathedral’s crypt.

    “Over the last month, you start hearing, ‘N95 masks, N95 masks,’” he said. “I was like, ‘Oh yeah, all those N95 masks in the burial vault.’”

    The cathedral donated 5,000 masks on Wednesday to two Washington hospitals to help doctors, nurses and others fight the coronavirus outbreak, part of a worldwide search that is turning up millions of desperately needed masks, sometimes in unusual places.

    Goldman Sachs is donating 100,000 N95 masks, “procured in the wake of previous epidemics,” to hospitals in New York and New Jersey, Leslie Shribman, a spokeswoman for Goldman Sachs, said on Thursday. Abroad, Goldman Sachs is also donating 50,000 N95 masks to Britain’s National Health Service. Ms. Shribman declined to say where the masks were stored and how many masks in total the company had in its stockpile.

    Nasdaq announced in a news release Wednesday that it had donated 12,000 face masks this month to the Greater New York Hospital Association and that the company would continue to collect additional masks from its clients. William Briganti, a spokesman for Nasdaq, said the company had face masks on hand as part of its “global crisis preparedness and business continuity plans” and could distribute them to employees in case of earthquakes, fires or a pandemic.

    Facebook distributed its emergency reservoce 720,000 masks.

    Apple “procured” 10 million masks to donate to U.S. medical facilities, but declined to say where they procured them from.

    Pornhub purchased and donated 50,000 surgical masks to New York-area. They also declined to say where they procured them from.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  35. Pornhub purchased and donated 50,000 surgical masks to New York-area. They also declined to say where they procured them from.

    They should be irradiated before they even think of using them.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  36. While my first instinct might be to suspect that the union found the masks down at the Legitimate Businessman’s Social Club after Fat Tony was asked about them, considering that unions are tied up with government contractors and government contractors are tied up with government, it’s not as implausible as you might think that there’s a warehouse full of long-forgotten excess inventory of just about every sort of thing you can imagine just sitting around somewhere. Check the date code on these masks to see when they were manufactured, cross-check that with the list of canceled government contracts that might involve a large number of dust masks being ordered at around that same time and there’s a plausible if not likely answer. Somebody bought 39 million dust masks in preparation for sand-blasting the Pentagon in September of 2001 and the contract got canceled September 12th?

    Ask anybody that’s ever worked on government construction projects and they’ve all got stories of bulldozers pushing truckloads of brand-new building materials including lumber, light fixtures, appliances, carpeting, you name it, into pits for burial because the amount of time necessary to do the paperwork necessary to dispose of excess government inventory other than through destruction is simply not worth it. And the idea that you’re just going to skip the paperwork and let some government contractor walk off a government job site with hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of government property? That ain’t happening. It’s the exact reason they have that paperwork in the first place – to make sure contractors aren’t over-ordering and over-billing the government for excess material they’re planning on taking home with them. They want to know where every nail and screw and door hinge they paid for went.

    Jerryskids (702a61)

  37. M.O.B.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  38. It probably required some pull to get permission to use them. They were not certified for medical use. Company probably couldn’t advertise them.

    Sammy Finkelman (db2a13)

  39. Welcome back Sammy.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  40. It probably required some pull to get permission to use them. They were not certified for medical use. Company probably couldn’t advertise them.

    There are also P95 and R95 masks, that are basically the same as N95 masks, actually a little bit more durable. But you don’t actually want durable for a mask that you throw away after using for a few minutes.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  41. Pornhub purchased and donated 50,000 surgical masks to New York-area. They also declined to say where they procured them from.

    Protection is protection: masks are a prophylactic.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  42. Growing up, I had a friend whose dad was an IG (civilian) for the Army. He told of commonplace destruction of inventory at bases, due to the fact that having the materiel could cost the base in the next budgeting cycle.

    Stranger things…

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  43. Trump tells world at presser he is phoning Chinese President Xi Jinping at 9 PM EDT.

    “Russia–are you listening…”

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  44. I heard from a friend there’s a lot of newly filmed Coronavirus-themed content, even some filmed on the streets and roadsides of Italy, on those channels, replete with masks as props.

    urbanleftbehind (2641dd)

  45. Making America Great Again:

    U.S. now has highest number of coronavirus cases worldwide.
    – NBC News

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  46. Trump accused Cuomo on Tuesday of failing to buy 16,000 ventilators back in 2015 and instead implementing a “death panel” to assign which patients should be put on a ventilator.

    “New York governor Cuomo rejected buying for a pandemic,” Trump said during a Fox News town hall on the coronavirus. “He had 16,000 he could have had and didn’t buy them.”

    Somebody needs to make him just STFU.

    Jeeebus! Go play golf!

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  47. Someone needs to investigate this and determine the truth. This is inexcusable. The real explanation is that whoever owned the masks was hiding them till the price went up. I don’t believe for a second that they were “lost”. Either that, or there’s something wrong with them, in some way.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  48. U.S. now has highest number of coronavirus cases worldwide.

    Yeah, maybe we need to stop with the “open borders” and letting in millions of immigrants and illegal aliens from all over the world. Seems like a good way to spread a pandemic.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  49. Yeah, maybe we need to stop with the “open borders” and letting in millions of immigrants and illegal aliens from all over the world.

    t-rump needs to hear this.

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  50. Someone needs to investigate this and determine the truth.

    But…

    The real explanation is that whoever owned the masks was hiding them till the price went up.

    Seems there’s a contradiction in there somewhere.

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  51. Dustin (928d9a) — 3/26/2020 @ 2:16 pm

    Yup. By all means bash google and facebook all day, but they aren’t profiteering by looking for more masks.

    I don’t understand this comment. Can you elaborate?

    frosty (f27e97)

  52. I agree with Dana. The whole story sounds Trumpian.

    nk (1d9030)

  53. frosty, rcocean’s comment sums up my views well. Facebook and Google did not do that. It would be one thing if I took a few rolls of toilet paper to my neighbor and another thing entirely if I started selling rolls out of the back of my pickup truck.

    Dustin (928d9a)

  54. Dustin (928d9a) — 3/26/2020 @ 5:58 pm

    Didn’t do what? What do you think I accused Google and Facebook of doing?

    I get the impression that Google and Facebook are trying to use their resources to find and consolidate a lot of smaller caches of masks. I don’t have a problem with that at all. It might be a task they are suited for.

    I thought Google and FB were trying to find smaller sources and get them into the market. This isn’t me bashing them or accusing them of profiteering. This is me saying Google and FB have experience with large scale analytics. That might help them find and consolidate a lot of smaller sources of masks.

    frosty (f27e97)

  55. U.S. now has highest number of coronavirus cases worldwide. – NBC News

    I wouldn’t make too much of this. It figures that the US will have a high number of cases in absolute terms, just because it’s got a higher population than most countries (what is it: the fourth or fifth most populated?). I would look at cases per capita, or cases per 1,000,000 people. By that measure, the US has roughly 260 cases per million. Far fewer than Italy, France, or the UK, to name a few.

    Chuck Bartowski (6fff93)

  56. Didn’t do what? What do you think I accused Google and Facebook of doing?

    I get the impression that Google and Facebook are trying to use their resources to find and consolidate a lot of smaller caches of masks. I don’t have a problem with that at all. It might be a task they are suited for.

    I thought Google and FB were trying to find smaller sources and get them into the market. This isn’t me bashing them or accusing them of profiteering. This is me saying Google and FB have experience with large scale analytics. That might help them find and consolidate a lot of smaller sources of masks.

    frosty (f27e97) — 3/26/2020 @ 6:16 pm

    [I’m omitting a pretty uncivil yet very honest comment, but for the record I never referenced Frosty’s views and don’t care about them]

    Take a page from the Trump fans who are very direct about their views. I enjoy harkin’s comments, for example.

    Get a load of what’s coming this year guys: https://www.reddit.com/r/trump/comments/fohccs/quarantine_vidthanks_china/

    This is a political strategy. It’s not isolated. It’s a strategy. This is how nationalism works sometimes.

    Dustin (928d9a)

  57. I wouldn’t make too much of this. It figures that the US will have a high number of cases in absolute terms, just because it’s got a higher population than most countries (what is it: the fourth or fifth most populated?). I would look at cases per capita, or cases per 1,000,000 people. By that measure, the US has roughly 260 cases per million. Far fewer than Italy, France, or the UK, to name a few.

    Chuck Bartowski (6fff93) — 3/26/2020 @ 6:17 pm

    If anything, the high number of confirmed cases would mean we are doing much better testing. It’s obviously not a good thing, but it is good that we’re testing more because that means we can be more effective in slowing the spread (from what it would otherwise be).

    Dustin (928d9a)

  58. Dustin (928d9a) — 3/26/2020 @ 6:29 pm

    Can anyone explain Dustin’s responses to my comments? What am I missing here?

    frosty (f27e97)

  59. I get the impression that Google and Facebook are trying to use their resources to find and consolidate a lot of smaller caches of masks. I don’t have a problem with that at all. It might be a task they are suited for.

    This sounds like one company with a lot of masks. I’m not sure how much physical space 39M masks occupies but I feel like one company with that many would know.

    frosty (f27e97) — 3/26/2020 @ 1:28 pm

    Dustin, in re-reading frosty’s comment, he is not bashing FB and Google here, nor accusing them of profiteering by looking for more masks. He is pointing out that they are doing what they do best by procuring as many masks from as many smaller sources as possible. He is contrasting that with a single company that has a sat on a high volume of masks.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  60. Dana is correct. If I’ve been unclear I apologize.

    Dustin (928d9a)

  61. The SEIU located the masks by old fashioned elbow grease. Something the federal government couldn’t do, apparently:

    SEIU-UHW spokesperson Steve Trossman told BuzzFeed News he had no idea why the supplier had such a large quantity of masks on hand. He declined to name the company, but it has warehouses in Pennsylvania and Georgia.

    “There was nothing magical about it. We just rolled up our sleeves and tried anybody who we thought might have a supply,” Trossman said. “It really was old fashioned elbow grease.”

    Dana (4fb37f)

  62. So they never had the masks, they called around until they found suppliers who had them? Then kudos to them, but why couldn’t the government or the hospitals find those suppliers? This just seems strange. This has been in the forefront of the news for days.

    DRJ (15874d)

  63. It doesn’t add up to me. Do the math: if they usually sell for less than a dollar, and now they’re being sold for $5/each, that’s quite a markup, and profit, considering we’re talking 39 million masks. I think they waited until the right people asked. And I wouldn’t be surprised if SEIU was going to get something in return. I believe they really want to help health care workers who are in desperate need of the masks, but then this is the SEIU we’re talking about…

    Dana (4fb37f)

  64. The Tennessee hand sanitizer hoarders deliberately cornered the hand sanitizer market by buying all they could find in stores far and near. Then they tried to resell it at twenty times markup, but Amazon caught them. So I kind of wonder how this unnamed company just happened to have all these masks, at this time, too, and why it took “elbow grease” to find the company when the mask shortage has been all over the news for a month.

    nk (1d9030)

  65. Heh! We’re all on the same page.

    nk (1d9030)

  66. Right, nk. It doesn’t add up.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  67. @65 Is it possible that this is the one perfect thread? The unicorn? Have we all agreed something? In this time of such uncertainty we should take a moment to appreciate such a rare thing.

    frosty (f27e97)

  68. Heh.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  69. Tara reade says joe did it! Democrats say all women should be believed unless there accusing a clinton or a biden! Media says tara who?

    rota (8a5df0)

  70. U.S. government has 1.5 million expired N95 masks sitting in an Indiana warehouse

    Today I received one (1) N95 mask that Walmart somehow had for sale on its website last week.

    I plan to reuse it for my trips to the grocery store every 2-3 days.

    Dave (1bb933)

  71. #63 —

    Looks like hospitals usually buy masks for $.75 — $.80. So this $5 load does seem…fortuitous for the sellers. There is a story in the local paper today that has the hospital down in Albany GA desperately buying masks for $7.00, so this could be a savings to them.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  72. Looks like hospitals usually buy masks for $.75 — $.80.

    Wow, if you assume a wholesale cost of .50 cents/mask, that means the union is making $4.50 of profit on a $5.00 mask!

    rcocean (1a839e)

  73. I think it calls for FBI interviews and tracing of lot numbers, and quickly.

    nk (1d9030)

  74. Wow, if you assume a wholesale cost of .50 cents/mask, that means the union is making $4.50 of profit on a $5.00 mask!

    Reading is fundamental. There’s nothing in the piece or anywhere else suggesting that anybody is charging anything for the masks, or that the union ever had possession of them.

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  75. I don’t think the union is charging for them, but somebody owns $150,000,000 in masks. They will be paid. Celebrities donate a few million and girl scouts donate ten, but SEIU’s buddies aren’t giving away nine figures in stuff they ‘tripped over on the way to the pergola’

    Dustin (928d9a)

  76. SEIU’s buddies aren’t giving away nine figures in stuff they ‘tripped over on the way to the pergola’

    “diverted” from schools, hospitals, and other public facilities and offices. (Not that I did not catch the sarcasm.)

    I’ve told you that it was my parents’ pension fund that the Teamsters diverted to build the casino in Las Vegas featured in the movie “Casino”.

    nk (1d9030)

  77. Maybe this supplier didn’t have them in his warehouse but, instead, has a manufacturing source:

    Since January, China — which manufactures nearly all the world’s personal protective equipment — has been sucking up the entirety of its production to handle its own coronavirus outbreak.

    But as that nation’s infection rates have fallen, some shipments have begun trickling out. On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration joined with the Customs and Border Patrol to issue guidance that would make it easier to import masks, respirators and coronavirus test kits for “compassionate use/emergency use.”

    The fast-changing situation has created a wild frenzy of activity among manufacturers, importers, entrepreneurs, speculators, and Good Samaritans hoping to grab a piece of the thawing market as soon as possible. Wholesale prices for N95 respirators, which in regular times retail for around $1 apiece on store shelves, have soared as high as $12, and Chinese factories that have nothing to do with the medical supply industry have scrambled to retool baby diaper and sanitary napkin production lines overnight so they can pump out high-demand medical gowns and face masks.

    The article explains the incredible “elbow grease” it takes to navigate this process, the wide array of Chinese manufacturers, and how many middlemen are involved. It seems more likely to me that the union found one of these middlemen or someone in America who buys from them.

    DRJ (15874d)

  78. 74 – yes, reading is fundamental. The second link in Dana’s post quotes a price of $5.00. See paragraph 6 of that SEIU statement.

    Mo Hawk (6c01b3)

  79. The masks are $5 each, and the union has no financial interest in the transactions. The masks are being distributed to unionized and non-unionized facilities alike.

    Now, if you find where the union ever had possession of the masks, please provide that. I you have any authority saying the union is selling the masks, please provide that.

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  80. Interestingly, the government finally located some masks:

    Almost 1.5 million N95 respirator masks were found in a U.S. government warehouse in Indiana and officials reportedly plan to give them to the Transportation Security Administration rather than hospitals hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

    According to The Washington Post, there were initial concerns that the masks—which are a part of the Customs and Border Protection’s emergency supplies—were expired and therefore unusable. However, it was determined that the N95 masks were still suitable for use and Department of Homeland Security officials decided to give them to the TSA in a Wednesday conference call, according to sources cited by the Post. While the TSA workforce has been asking for more protective equipment, there are reportedly no plans to offer masks to hospitals or the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Medical professionals in New York and other hard-hit areas in the country have reportedly run out of protective gear or have been advised to use their remaining N95 masks with multiple patients—which could risk spreading the virus.

    The TSA confirmed to the Post that they had been offered a large number of masks by CBP and they would give them to airports as needed, but it is reportedly unclear when they would be shipped.

    It is unfortunate that these could not have been located sooner, given how many agents have tested positive for the virus.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  81. From Real Clear Politics:

    Country
    Deaths
    Deaths /
    1M pop
    New Deaths
    Confirmed
    Cases
    Confirmed Case
    Fatality Rate
    Italy
    8,215
    135.9

    80,589
    10.19%
    Spain
    4,858
    104.0
    +493
    64,059
    7.58%
    China
    3,292
    2.4
    +5
    81,340
    4.05%
    Iran
    2,378
    29.1
    +144
    32,332
    7.35%
    France
    1,696
    25.3

    29,155
    5.82%
    United States
    1,304
    4.0
    +9
    85,755
    1.52%
    United Kingdom
    578
    8.7

    11,658
    4.96%
    Netherlands
    434
    25.2

    7,431
    5.84%
    Belgium
    289
    25.3
    +69
    7,284
    3.97%
    Germany
    285
    3.4
    +18
    47,373
    0.60%
    Full Global List of Coronavirus Fatalities

    It doesn’t transpose well, so go over to RCP and check out the numbers in chart form.

    My question is why did the SEIU decline to name the manufacturer, distributor and storage facility? probably because they knew if they did, the companies involved would suffer from horrific public outrage and the union workers would lose their jobs.

    It could have been an inventory error, as Kishnevi suggests, inverted numbers on a manifest of containers, something like that. The distributor might not have known where they were, but when SEIU called they checked their actual physical inventory and found the containers. That’s possible, but unlikely.

    The company knew they had the containers and were sitting on them, waiting for the demand to rise so the masks could be sold at exorbitant prices. When demand is low, prices go down; when demand is high, prices go up. But to go from 60 to 80 cents a box to five dollars a box of desperately needed supplies during a national crisis is unconscionable.

    By the way, the company offered to sell the masks to the federal government, but Trump turned them down, saying the price was too high. And he’s chastising Cuomo for not buying 16,000 ventilators five years ago? Obama was in office then. In response to an Ebola outbreak, he created a specialized group within the NSC, to study how the US could and should respond in the event of a pandemic or bioweapon attack. When Trump got into office, he eliminated that group! Only because Obama had created it.

    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/disease-fighting-jobs-trump-did-224142895.html

    Now that we have a pandemic sweeping the globe, the US is unprepared to respond as it spreads across the country. First, Trump called it a hoax, fake news, Chinese propaganda, then he dismissed the seriousness of the outbreak, calling it a mild flu or something.

    Now he wants a $2 trillion stimulus package to save the economy. But he refuses to buy desperately needed surgical masks, because he thinks they cost too much. What about the art of the deal? Negotiate, convince the seller to lower the price. This is a national emergency, after all. Instead, he’s forcing states and distressed hospitals to overpay in a bidding war.

    Unbelievable. Trump is so inept, incompetent, vainglorious, narcistic, vindictive, petty, pretentious, divisive, and utterly unfit for office, it is staggering. It’s a mystery to me why his approval rating went up, given how badly he has handled this crisis.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  82. The last time I read anything about the SEIU was when they were assaulting and harassing Tea Party peeps.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  83. @82, and now they’re helping save lives. Good for them.

    Time123 (52fb0e)

  84. Folks, I believe that it was the SEIU itself which was stockpiling and hoarding the masks for whatever reason. Likely money. When the DOJ and AG Barr got wind of it last week, they gave SEIU the chance to fess up before being investigated and possibly prosecuted for illegally hoarding vital health-care PPE. So SEIU’s story about “finding” the masks seems like BS to me.

    Gregory Meenahan (484080)

  85. Folks, I believe that it was the SEIU itself which was stockpiling and hoarding the masks for whatever reason. Likely money. When the DOJ and AG Barr got wind of it last week, they gave SEIU the chance to fess up before being investigated and possibly prosecuted for illegally hoarding vital health-care PPE. So SEIU’s story about “finding” the masks seems like BS to me.

    Since they’ve already explained it over the weekend, put the different hospital and states together with both companies how have them to buy the masks, and have publicly stated they will not being taking any money off of the transactions, you’re a bit late to trolling over this one. But by all means, throw shade for effect as much as you want. Maybe the companies themselves where hoarding, maybe not, but I’d guess if they heard about Barr, they laughed and laughed.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  86. …and now, according to the Dog Trainer, those masks never really existed in the first place, and SEIU-UHW was dealing with, essentially, a Nigerian Prince to locate them.

    Memo to PP readers: When a SEIU outlet announces their union is Doing Something, always bet on the opposite being done.

    SierraSpartan (af1190)

  87. Here’s a link: https://www.foxnews.com/us/fbi-coronavirus-scam-39m-masks-california-union-hospitals-kaiser-permanente

    Apparently, it was a Nigerian 419 (Spanish Prisoner) scam:

    The FBI found no such warehouse with the alleged stockpile. Meanwhile, the seller demanded a 40 percent payment upfront and planned to send Kaiser Permanente details on how to send the funds.

    nk (1d9030)

  88. It appears this was a scam, although it is not clear the union group knew.

    DRJ (15874d)

  89. nk saw it first. Good job, nk.

    DRJ (15874d)

  90. Thank you, DRJ, but I only followed up on SierraSpartan’s comment, to find a link.

    nk (1d9030)


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