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Mailer group wants postage rate request dismissed

By Ed O'Keefe

A new group representing some of the nation's largest mailers is asking federal regulators to dismiss the U.S. Postal Service's requests to raise postage rates beyond the rate of inflation.

The USPS asked the Postal Regulatory Commission this month for permission to raise rates beyond the rate of inflation. By law, the mail agency can ask to do this if it can prove “exceptional or extraordinary circumstances” that require the increase.

But the Affordable Mail Alliance -- representing more than 700 companies, nonprofits and trade associations -- said the request is unjustified.

"The Postal Service claims that it needs more money for a variety of reasons, including the recession that began in December 2007, which has accelerated the long-term diversion of communications from mail to the Internet," the group wrote to regulators on Monday. "But the Postal Service’s most fundamental problem is not the Internet, or the recession, but a lack of effective cost control."

The AMA noted in its request for dismissal that FedEx and UPS also have suffered during the recession. "Efficiently run private companies, however, responded to the recession by making aggressive (and often painful) cuts in capacity and employment, and freezing or cutting wages and compensation," it said. But the USPS has failed to cut back in the past few years amid a declining mail volume that is not expected to climb again, the group said.

No immediate response from the USPS. Regulators must make a decision on the rate increase by Oct. 4 and could decide to dismiss the request at any time.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | July 26, 2010; 11:33 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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