Features, Health and Safety, Municipal Government, National

IBEW Union Turns Moonshine into Hand Sanitizer

May 7, 2020

By Joe Levine

Gulfport Mississippi –  Hand sanitizer was needed to keep both those on the job and their families safe. IBEW Local 903 in Gulfport Mississippi developed a plan to acquire a generous supply.

Local 903 Business Manager Brian McMurry and his IBEW local’s executive board  bought eight 5-gallon buckets from a local whiskey and moonshine distillery. The company had recently switched its production line from booze to the disinfectant. Now the board needed a way to provide the sanitizer to members.

“We looked everywhere for squeeze bottles. We couldn’t find them,” McMurry said.

What they could find, and lots of them, were staple Red Solo Cups that are plentiful at bars. With bars and clubs closed thousands were now available at no cost.

That’s when McMurry and his skeleton staff improvised to get the job done. They measured out the gallons into 12 oz portions, sealed them with plastic wrap and covered them with a lid. Then they put out the word to the membership and the families of members began picking up containers of hand sanitizers.

McMurry and some volunteers put on gloves and their homemade masks and handed out more than 100 cups as the Local 903 extended family rolled through the parking lot on Saturday mornings.

“Many of the members asked about the masks, which is something me and my daughter were making. Just small quantities, but it gave me the idea to make a large amount to give out,” he said. “Now we have two sewing machines going here at the hall.”

“Hard times require quick thinking,” said Fifth District International Vice President Brian Thompson. “It is a true testament what our leaders our members and even their families are all about in the IBEW to see the resourcefulness to keep our members safe. I am very proud of Local 903 leadership. The kindness they are showing is unmatched,” continued VP Thompson.

McMurry expects to be out giving away masks, sealed in Ziploc bags, with the cups of sanitizer, every Saturday. 

May 7, 2020

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