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Publishers Groups File Motion Against Postal Rate Hike Proposal

Say Postal Regulatory Commission should dismiss USPS’ rate increases.



By Jason Fell
07/26/2010

The Affordable Mail Alliance, a recently-formed coalition of hundreds of businesses including magazine publishers, officially submitted its motion to the Postal Regulatory Commission asking it to dismiss the United States Postal Services’ proposed exigent rate case, which could force rates for periodicals mailers up 8 percent.

“Now the Postal Service expects customers to pay the price for its refusing to do what its customers had to do [cut spending],” the coalition says in a statement. “For our organizations, the Postal Service’s unwillingness to do its part will mean the loss of thousands of additional jobs, further cuts to pay and benefits. This is an issue about investing for possible future growth or paying higher taxes in the form of higher postal rates. … Punishing customers with higher prices is not the way to make the Postal Service Solvent.”

In its 96-page motion, the Affordable Mail Alliance argues that allowing the USPS to raise prices above the Consumer Price Index “in this case would nullify the single most important safeguard for mailers and the public in the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006.” The coalition says senator Susan Collins (R-ME), who helped draft the law, already has said the proposed increases do not qualify for an exception under the Congressional standards.

In addition to the increase to periodicals, the USPS also proposed to raise First-Class mail stamps to 46 cents, a 5.1 percent rate hike for catalogs and a 23 percent increase for standard mail parcels. It believes the price changes will help raise about $2.3 billion over the first nine months of 2011.

“This is a major step in MPA's fight against the USPS' unlawful attempt to shatter the price cap,” Nina Link, president and CEO of the Magazine Publishers of America, says in a separate statement.  “MPA supports all efforts by this unprecedented alliance of the mailing community to continue to litigate aggressively.  We hope the Postal Regulatory Commission grants the motion without delay.”

Other groups who have joined the coalition include American Business Media and the Direct Marketing Association (both of which issued their own statements regarding the motion filed by the Affordable Mail Alliance). Magazine publishers that have joined the coalition include Bonnier Corp., Condé Nast and Time Inc.

By Jason Fell
07/26/2010




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