Oddly enough, SEIU, the radical leftist union, still hasn’t taken down its press release boasting of locating 39 million masks.
The press release led to plenty of good press for the radical union which has actually, in some cases, such as in New York City, obstructed public safety in the face of the Wuhan Virus. Except that there were no masks. It was all a scam.
And the media is now working hard to cover for SEIU.
A measure of how influential SEIU is in California politics can be found in the LA Times story, which not only goes to bad for the union, but fails to mention its name until the eight paragraph.
You have to dig halfway through the LA Times story to even find out which union was involved. So much for, “who, what, where”.
The relevant part is also buried deeply in the story.
Kaiser Permanente placed an order for 6 million masks. Sutter Health officials said they planned to buy 2 million. Hospitals that weren’t joining the deal were shamed online. SEIU 121RN, Southern California’s union of registered nurses, started a petition alleging that hospitals that didn’t take part were “putting bottom-line profits” over safety.
SEIU has been trying to take over nurses unions, but they’re very much a minority in SoCal. (Not that the nurses union in SoCal is any better.)
But SEIU was using this phantom mask purchase for political reasons in its campaign to dig its clawed hands deeper around the throat of health care in California.
Here’s the pressure campaign.
The good news is that SEIU has identified PPE suppliers of N95 masks that are approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Some hospitals agreed to purchase the N95s, and they will be delivered to hospitals next week. There are millions more in the pipeline.
SEIU informed your employers at HCA, Providence, and AHMC hospitals that these masks were available for immediate purchase for your hospital and the healthcare system you’re a part of.
The bad news?: Your healthcare system said “no thanks.”
SEIU wasn’t donating masks, it appeared to be trying to push the sale of masks that didn’t exist. It claimed to have no financial interest in the sale of the masks, but that the masks were going for $5 each. That’s above market value. And the whole thing gets shadier.
Brady said investigators tracked the tip back to a Pittsburgh businessman, who said he had been working with the union to secure millions of masks, some of which were purported to be sitting in a Georgia warehouse. Brady said the businessman had been using WhatsApp to connect with a broker in Australia and a supplier in Kuwait, who are both now the target of a federal investigation.
Did this businessman offer any sweeteners to SEIU? We’ll never know because the Feds have prioritized protecting the players.
And the masks never existed.
In the days after the SEIU deal was announced, Kaiser employees began expressing frustration that they hadn’t received any masks. On April 3, a spokesman for Kaiser Permanente told The Times that the seller had “repeatedly failed to provide reliable information about where we could verify and inspect the shipment,” prompting Kaiser to withdraw. The spokesman said Kaiser has been cooperating in the federal investigation.
Brady, the federal prosecutor, said the Pittsburgh businessman told investigators he was buying the masks at $3.50 each and turning a “slight profit” in the SEIU-led deal. The union said the masks were being purchased for $5 and that SEIU was not making any money. It’s unclear whether the Pittsburgh middleman intended to pocket the entire $9 million profit.
Or whether this nameless gentleman intended to donate any money to SEIU which was using a pressure campaign to force hospitals to buy from him.
Steve Trossman, spokesman for SEIU-UHW, said union officials had been trying to find equipment for members, and the group had no financial interest in any transactions. Trossman said the union only connected the supplier to the hospitals and had no involvement after that.
“As far as we knew, he had legitimate masks,” Trossman said of the supplier, “and the people who were going to purchase those masks were going to fully vet it and check it out and do their due diligence.”
SEIU went from “We found a bunch of masks and if you don’t buy them, you don’t care about your nurses” to, “It’s the job of the hospitals to check out the masks and we have nothing to do with it.”
Brady said federal investigators had reason to suspect the arrangement. The 39 million masks were advertised as N95 masks from 3M, the largest U.S.-based manufacturer. But 3M told federal investigators it manufactured only 20 million such masks last year, making that large of a stockpile unlikely unless the product was counterfeit.
The media however chose not to do its research when promoting SEIU’s propaganda.