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Cuomo's prison workers are not actually making hand - sanitizer [Just repackaging it]

Posted: Mar 25th, 2020 - 4:09 pm

On March 9, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced a measure to fight “egregious” price-gouging: an initiative to produce 100,000 gallons of New York State-produced hand sanitizer every week, to be distributed for free to needy institutions like schools, government agencies, prisons, and the MTA.

“We are problem solvers, state of New York, Empire State, progressive capital of the nation,” Cuomo said during a press conference, before opening a navy curtain and literally unveiling jugs of the “NYS Clean”-branded sanitizer, “made conveniently by the state of New York.”

But according to workers at Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock, New York where the hand sanitizer is being “made,” as well as a spokesperson for the prison system, they are doing nothing more than taking existing hand sanitizer and rebottling it into packaging labeled NYS Clean.

Cuomo bragged that the NYS hand sanitizer was “superior” due to its high alcohol content (75% to Purell’s 70%) and joked that it was even floral scented, like tulips and hydrangeas. He also touted its price as a major upside. “This is also much less expensive than anything the government could buy—a gallon bottle is $6.10, the 7-ounce bottle is $1.12 our cost, and then there’s a very small size… which is 84 cents. So it’s much cheaper for us to make it ourselves than to buy it on the open market.”

Cuomo claimed that the hand sanitizer would be produced by Corcraft, the public-facing brand name of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision’s Division of Industries. “Corcraft makes glass cleaner, floor cleaner, degreasers, laundry detergent, vehicle fluids, hand cleaner, and now they make hand sanitizer with alcohol,” Cuomo told the audience.

But according to a NYSDOCCS spokesperson, the hand sanitizer itself is being produced by an outside vendor he would not name; the Great Meadow Facility is only bottling and labeling it. Neither NYSDOCCS nor the governor's office would respond to repeated questions about why the state would need to use prison labor to bottle hand sanitizer, nor did the governor's office respond to questions about Cuomo's pitch that this was a cheaper, more effective option than buying bottled hand sanitizer outright.

According to an inmate who spoke to VICE under the condition of anonymity, who we'll call Michael, rollout of the hand sanitizer initiative in Great Meadow began on March 7. (The sanitizer is also being handled at Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Wallkill, New York.) That was when he said that he and a group of randomly chosen volunteers were offered the chance to work in what used to be the prison’s soap shop.

Michael said people are bottling sanitizer 24 hours a day, in three eight-hour shifts, with extra hours available for anyone willing to take them on. “There's one guy who worked 116 hours in one week, and just stays there. They ask people if they want overtime, but a lot of people refuse it. It's not actually overtime, it's just more hours but you still get paid the same amount.”....

LINK/URL: Cuomo's prison workers are not actually making hand


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