I work for the Post Office. For the last six-plus years of the Bush/Cheney administration, the National Association of Letter-carriers, the Mail-handlers Union, and the American Postal Worker’s Union (APWU) have been fighting Bush’s hand-picked, corporate crony-filled Postal Board of Governors and its attempts to privatize (i.e. plunder, gut, dismember and give the remains to Pitney Bowes, Big Mailers, UPS and Fed-Ex) the USPS. The APWU finally decided to get into the influence-buying game themselves and started Committee On Political Action (COPA), which is a fourth-rate lobbying arm which pits Union members donated 1 million dollars/year against its opponent’s tens of millions. Guess who was winning? No surprise things looked grim until the Democrats retook the house and senate in 2006.
For weeks I’ve been telling everyone who’ll listen about the 2007 Postal Rate Change–specifically how its going to kill (OK–seriously impact the bottom-line of) small business-owners and adversely affect average Americans. As a person who sells items on ebay and half.com, I can testify that the new rates have seriously impacted my profit margin on half.com and forced me to downgrade from 1st class to 3rd class (media mail) in my mailings, and I’ve been twice-bitten when postal rates for items I sold on ebay ended up being significantly higher than expected. I no longer sell to Canadian and International buyers because the rates are so high.
A few days ago, I received this email request for aid from the Nation Magazine, which has been hit much harder than my ebay business:
Dear Member of the Nation Community,
One-half million dollars. That’s what the latest round of rate-juggling by the United States Postal Service will cost The Nation in the next year. Rate increases go into effect July 15, 2007. We are fighting this increase as best we can, but even if we “win,” which is a long shot, we are still facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional postage. Now it’s time to accept the reality: The Nation needs your help and we need it now. Click here. Here’s the history of this situation:
- In an unprecedented move, postal regulators rejected the rate plan submitted by the United States Postal Service in favor of a complex scheme designed by Time Warner, the country’s largest publisher!
- The new plan gave much lower increases, or in some cases decreases, to mega-magazines like Time Warner’s own Time, People and Sports Illustrated, shifting the burden to smaller publications like The Nation.
- We were given just eight working days to prepare a response to the 758-page rate plan before it was declared a fait accompli.
The result: an 18% increase in postal costs for The Nation. Please help now. For the media mastodons that increasingly control the information that gets out to you and their Washington flacks, it’s just business as usual. For The Nation it’s a potential disaster — but not exactly a surprise. We have two choices: start cutting back on our investigative reporting and coverage of what’s missing in the mainstream/corporate media, and on our efforts to expand our outreach programs to students and decision-makers. Or hope that friends and supporters like you will help us fill the shortfall. Click here to help. Given the state of things in this country at this time, and a historically decisive election on the horizon, the timing couldn’t be more critical. We need your help, if you can possibly give it, and we need it now. In advance, accept our very real gratitude. Sincerely Teresa Stack, President
P.S. We will shortly be inviting you to a very special phone conference to discuss the postal rate increase issue in more depth. Join your fellow Nation readers, Nation editors and writers, as well as special guest experts and learn more about this serious issue. Stay tuned!
Peter Rothberg, blogging at The Nation, tells us why a low-cost Postal Service is so valuable to the American People:
America’s founders understood the First Amendment would be worth little without a postal system that encouraged broad public participation in America’s “marketplace of ideas.” Thomas Jefferson called for a postal service that allowed ideas to “penetrate the whole mass of the people.” Along with James Madison, he paved the way for a system that gave low-cost mailing incentives to small publications of information and ideas.
Every small mailer will be hit by the rate increase. Whether you subscribe to Mother Earth News or Pet Fancy or Tiger Beat–they will be affected and: 1. Raise rates. 2. Shut down operations/restructure/go bankrupt. 3. Lay-off staff/reporters/ editors.
While the period for public debate has expired, there probably is no harm in contacting your representatives in the House and Senate and telling them to throw out the unfair Time/Warner-authored rate increases.
You can learn more at the APWU site here.
The Nation has some articles and blogs with more info here.