Coalition fights USPS over rate increase

WASHINGTON: A group of media companies and trade associations launched the Affordable Mail Alliance to fight the rate increase proposed by the US Postal Service (USPS) on July 6.

WASHINGTON: A group of media companies and trade associations launched the Affordable Mail Alliance to fight the rate increase proposed by the US Postal Service (USPS) on July 6.  

USPS proposed increasing rates for first-class stamps and postcards by 2 cents, a decision the postal service says could raise $2.3 billion in the first nine months of 2011. It currently projects a $7 billion deficit.

The coalition, including Condé Nast, Fidelity Investments, RR Donnelley, and the National Newspaper Association, argue the rate increase is illegal and could cause job losses if businesses take on more costs.

“We're mounting a very strong campaign of public education and we'll be going to Capital Hill with our story and message,” said Jim Cregan, EVP of government affairs for the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA).

He said the MPA is a founding member of the alliance, which is targeting the public, policymakers, and American business. SKDKnickerbocker helped create the alliance and is providing support, said Alex Slater, who joined the firm as MD last week.

The communications effort has focused on media relations, with the alliance receiving coverage in The Washington Post, CNN Money, and Folio, and the launch of the website. Plans include the roll-out of additional features, including social media.

Cregan, who said he received more than three dozen media inquiries on July 6, noted that it's the “first time the postal customer base” has been united on an issue.

Earlier this year, the USPS launched a campaign with Powell Tate to address its proposal to cut Saturday service.

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