The American Postal Workers Union was the only party to formally oppose the rate case settlement proposal as of this week's deadline for filing objections, but insiders said the settlement still appears certain of approval.
More than half of the 60 mailing associations involved in the negotiations support the plan, including the Direct Marketing Association, Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, Magazine Publishers of America, McGraw-Hill Cos. Inc. and Dow Jones & Co.
A final word likely won't come until March. If approved, rates would rise an average of 8.7 percent June 30.
The APWU says 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.
Amazon.com, Coalition of Religious Press, Newspaper Association of America and Val-Pak had filed motions along with the APWU earlier this month asking to cross-examine USPS witnesses, but these groups did not file motions in opposition.
Parties involved in the talks now have until Tuesday to propose procedural schedules for the next steps in the case, and replies to those filings are due by Jan. 28. The APWU can submit evidence on its objection until Jan. 30. At that point, the Postal Rate Commission will decide whether to proceed with additional hearings.