By Jared Dyson
On Thursday, President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act again. This time, he specifically called out 3M and their response in regards to N95 masks. During his remarks, President Trump said that it was time for 3M to do what they are supposed to do. Itís hard to argue that President Trump is right.
3M has been under fire for some time in regards to the N95 masks. Mark Cuban has called out the company for their price gouging activities along with others. This led to 3M releasing a pricing sheet that outlined what the expected price for masks should be. But 3M did not go so far as to regulate their distributors or hold them accountable.
On Friday morning, 3M released their official response to the Trump order, saying that the company has gone above and beyond to help supply the country amid the crisis. Then the organization started to complain about how failing to continue to export N95ís to Canada and Latin America. For the record, as of the time of this writing the US has over 258,000 cases of COVID-19. Canada has just under 12,000 and no country in Latin America has over 10,000 cases.
In reality, mask demand may exceed capacity for 3M. The expectation was that 300 million masks may be needed, but 3M states it only has capacity to produce 100 million per month globally. The issue is that 3M has a responsibility to step up here, but hasnít. The CEO has commented that itís sad to see their masks in stores rather than hospitals. Wouldnít it seem like 3M controls who receives their masks?
They absolutely do. In fact, the company is arguing that they need to continue to be able to export their masks, rather than keeping them in the US. The argument is these other countries are relying on the United States for help. But the pandemic seems to be worse here in the US than anywhere else right now. Many of the large manufacturers of masks, such as Honeywell and Moldex, are all made in the United States.
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Honeywell has already announced increases in capacity to 20 million per month to help support US efforts against the virus. No official statement was available on the Moldex site. There are multiple other organizations across the world that produce masks, including several Chinese manufacturers. So there are masks available from other vendors across the world.
While I understand that the world may need masks, the greatest need right now is at home. The home that is shared by all Americans and 3M alike. The expectation is that we take care of ourselves right now. Some may call this greedy, but itís logical. If we have the workers and the technology, we should take care of the American healthcare workers.
This is not a case of American superiority or anything else. Itís about taking care of your neighbor and your home. I certainly understand 3Mís desire to take care of those around them. I want to take care of those in need around me when I can. But when the need occurs in my house, my home comes first. One would think this would be the same for 3M. Apparently not.
Apparently, 3M would prefer to continue to send masks outside of the country to maintain their revenue. Their money is more important than your health and safety. As an American that should upset you. I do not typically subscribe to the stories of corporate greed, but this is a case of corporate greed that needs to be addressed. As Americans across the country are sacrificing time and risking health, 3M is more concerned that they get their next dollar.
3M should work with other organizations that could potentially produce masks. There are thousands of small businesses that would love the ability to help. There are several million Americans currently filing for unemployment that will help. Rather than being rigid, itís time for 3M to do their part. Millions of Americans have stepped up in many ways. 3M now its your turn.