ABM gets update on postal issues

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Chicago—At Tuesday's session of American Business Media’s Top Management Meeting, David Straus, the organization's postal counsel, updated attendees on major postal issues facing b-to-b publishers. Straus said the case brought before the Postal Rate Commission by Time Warner, Condé Nast and other giant publishers, who want rate changes that would further reward these companies for their ability to palletize magazine shipments, is expected to be decided in January. He estimated that if the case were decided in the favor of the larger publishers, it might mean an average rate increase of 8% to 10% for smaller publishers, although some publishers might find rate increases approaching 80%. Straus also pointed out that the U.S. Postal Service is not bound by the Postal Rate Commission’s recommendations. The ABM’s position is that rates should change, but it wants moderation. Separately, the Postal Service is mulling a rate increase in two steps: half in spring 2006 and the other half in spring 2007. The size of the increase will likely be smaller if the Postal Service is permitted to defer $3 billion in payments to its pension fund, which is currently over-funded, Straus said.

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