Postal Rate Case Briefs Due This Week

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Parties in the postal rate case settlement begin filing reply briefs today in response to recently concluded hearings involving the American Postal Workers Union.

The APWU is the only party to formally oppose the settlement. It was cross-examined at the hearings by companies and organizations supporting the rate case, including the U.S. Postal Service, the Major Mailers Association, KeySpan Energy and the American Bankers Association, which cross-examined together with the National Association of Presort Mailers.

The union said the settlement would grant unfair discounts to large-volume mailers at the expense of the general mailing public. The union is the largest representing postal workers. It consists of 355,000 postal clerks, maintenance employees and motor vehicle operators.

Parties have until March 8 to file briefs. "Then, we begin working on our decision," a Postal Rate Commission spokesman said. The PRC could rule on the proposed settlement by the end of March. The USPS Board of Governors then would vote on it and could announce its decision at the April or May board meeting.

Insiders say the PRC and the board will approve the settlement, raising postal rates an average of 8.7 percent June 30.

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