Letter: Crane is gaming the PPP system

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To the editor:

Two seemingly unrelated stories in the Eagle this past week fail to grasp the intent of the massive 12 figure Paycheck Protection Program. That money is meant for employees, not business owners.

I am sympathetic to the local gym owner who wants to use the money to reopen, rather than provide missing paychecks. But he is clearly unaware of how the program is meant to work.

As Rep. Richie Neal pointed out, that money was meant to keep people off of the unemployment rolls. He should have been using it to give full paychecks to his employees. The owner has the right to use the money other ways, but then the very low interest loan will not be forgiven. Pretty simple.

More troubling is Crane Stationery's ownership trying to game the system to have the taxpayers pick up the tab for their plant's labor via the PPP while still producing and selling products. Crane's designation as an essential business because a tiny fraction of their work is printing for medical professionals is good news, but their parent company's refusal to stick to that essential work during the shutdown makes it almost certainly clear that they are double dipping while their "free" labor is available. The fact is that in most plant situations, you have many people jammed together in a confined space, which is exactly what the shutdown is meant to avoid.

You only need to look at the thousands of COVID-19 cases in the meat packing plants to see why almost all production lines over every non-essential type are currently shut down nationwide. Crane is obviously putting taxpayer enhanced revenue before the safety of employees, their families and the community, and that is shameful.

Greg Roach,

North Adams



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