NEMOA Speaker Rips USPS, UPS

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PORTSMOUTH, NH -- Chris Bradley, president of Cuddledown Inc., Portland, ME, and founder of the Maine Postal Reform Committee that was created in February, pulled no punches regarding the U.S. Postal Service yesterday at the New England Mail Order Association Fall 2002 Conference.

"I'm not the kind of guy who pays $3 million per year and seeing that going up 6, 7 [or] 8 percent per year and taking that out of my bonus," he said.

Bradley also had strong words for United Parcel Service, which he said wants postal rates to rise to maintain its margins and profitability.

"As postage rates go up, parcel rates go up, and that benefits UPS," he said. "UPS is the largest corporate PAC in America. [It] spent $2.6 million in contributions this year."

Bradley said he has concluded that postal reform is nowhere in sight, and that he once believed the "big guys had it covered."

"I thought the big guys - L.L. Bean, Lands' End, Penneys -- had it covered," he said. "They didn't. I realized that we just can't sit here and do nothing."

His plan includes forming a group of Maine companies affected by high postage rates and organizing meetings with elected officials, including Rep. Tom Allen, D-ME, and Sen. Susan M. Collins, R-ME, who in the summer introduced a bill that would establish a presidential postal commission.

"She is a pretty influential person and has said to the Bush administration that we need this," he said. "[Allen] asked a lot of questions. He's a policy wonk."

Bradley said that the threat of lost jobs could play a role in postal reform.

"Jobs, in a politician's mind, equal votes," he said. "You have to let them know that an 8 percent increase on $3 million per year equals $240,000, or eight people at $30,000 per year. We have more people in jobs than do the forces that are against us."

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