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‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’
By Chuck Mulidore
NAPS Executive Vice President
In 1971, Pete Townshend of “The Who” wrote a song about revolution, “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Per the online platform Songfacts, in the first verse, there is an uprising. In the middle, those in power are overthrown, but, in the end, the new regime becomes just like the old regime.
In “Townshend: A Career Biography,” Pete explained that the song was antiestablishment, but that “revolution is not going to change anything in the long run and people are going to get hurt.” At this point, you probably are saying to yourself, “Chuck, I am not quite as ‘seasoned’ as you and I don’t know that song.”
Unless you are of a certain age, you may have no clue what I’m even talking about and likely are wondering, “Who is ‘The Who?’” Well, let’s just focus on the song, which basically tells us that we, the people, have been fooled before by our leaders, but we won’t get fooled again by the new leaders, right?
Unfortunately, however, we often do get fooled again, which brings me to our current Postal Service leadership. Of course I was going to make that connection!
As EAS employees, we were told when the new regime took over that things would be different. The Postal Service—once postal reform legislation passed (which, in fact, it did, led by NAPS)—would be transformed, service would improve and EAS employees again would see better treatment and pay raises. A new era was on the horizon!
But, as the song tells us in one of the most iconic lyrics in rock ‘n’ roll, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” Sadly, the promised transformation has turned into a rerun of previous events by old regimes, while a chorus of criticism of those regimes—led by a new boss and the very same leadership cronies who once worked for those old regimes—echoes out across the USPS. We were hopeful we wouldn’t get fooled again, but, unfortunately, we were.
Let’s look at some comparisons. Remember the old regimes’ POStPlan, station and branch consolidations, mail processing AMPs, facility closures and district consolidations? In the third decade of the 21st century, we now have Sorting and Delivery Centers (S&DCs), whereby craft employees will relocate to large “super centers.” The consolidated post offices left behind, including their customers and EAS employees, face an uncertain future.
Do you remember the RIFs that EAS employees faced in the old regimes? Well, what was the first thing the new regime instituted on taking office? Correct, it was an EAS RIF. Remember when the old regime downgraded service, specifically First-Class? Well, under the new regime, service again has been downgraded, placed on slower transportation (sorry, it’s called Logistics under the new regime), with increased costs.
Let’s see, higher cost for slower service? How do you get around that under the new regime? Well, you simply lower the bar so now, 92% service is considered on time, when it used to be 98%.
Remember how you were treated as an EAS employee under the old regime—discipline, threats, harassment? Well, that hasn’t changed under the new regime either, although we were promised it would. In fact, it probably has grown worse.
And who can forget the loss of pay under the old regime, which brought us Pay for Performance and slowly, over the years, took wealth from our pockets. Today, we still have PFP. But it now may be morphing into a process in HERO whereby your pay increase is based solely on your boss rating you from 1-5 (say what?), with the highest pay increase capped at 4%; lump-sum payouts are all the rage. How many of you really believe the Postal Service will allow an unlimited number of “box 5s?”
Best of all, though, in the slide presentation sent to Headquarters employees rolling out the process, the Postal Service admits that, under PFP, there is “no direct correlation of performance with pay.” Hello, NAPS has been telling them that for years!
So, the response from the new regime is to call it HERO, reduce your base pay increases and replace them with lump-sum payouts. It’s still taking away wealth, the same as it ever was. So much for transformation.
It looks to me more like a slow, creeping form of privatization that may take years to complete, but already is underway. You know what else it reminds me of? Yep, meet the new boss, same as the old boss. We hoped we wouldn’t get fooled again, but it appears we did. And, as Pete Townshend warned us, people get hurt in these revolutions or transformations.
As we roll into November, a special thank-you to our veterans, many of whom sacrificed all, so we can enjoy the benefits of liberty in this bastion of freedom called America. Thanks also to the many who walk that line today, protecting us so we can enjoy our Thanksgiving holiday with our families. God bless you and thank you.