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NALC statement on exigent rate case ruling

On Wednesday, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) ruled that its 2013 mandate for a modest, temporary increase in postage rates for First Class Mail will remain in effect into early 2016.

“Today’s ruling is a big victory for letter carriers and for anyone else who supports a vibrant and thriving Postal Service,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said.

In December of 2013, the PRC agreed to this emergency—or “exigent”—rate increase, which brought the cost of a First Class stamp from 46 cents to 49 cents.

The raise, which went into effect in January of 2014, was promoted as a way to help USPS recover from the dramatic drop in mail volume brought on by the Great Recession of 2009-2011, not to mention the devastating financial effects that came with that drop.

The exigent rate increase was set to expire in August, but in a 4-to-1 decision, the PRC ruled that the raise would remain in place through at least March of 2016.

“The NALC is pleased that the commission backed many of our arguments for keeping the increase in place for now,” Rolando said. The ruling, he noted, should allow USPS to recoup the costs incurred by the loss of an estimated 35 billion pieces of First Class and Standard mail, worth approximately $1.2 billion.

The PRC also agreed with NALC’s opposition to proposed changes in the way such exigent increases are calculated, changes that would have immediately repealed the 2014 increase.

However, the commission ruled out a proposal—supported by NALC, USPS and the American Postal Workers Union (APWU)—that called for the PRC to make the increase permanent.

“Today’s ruling helps strengthen the Postal Service at a time when we need to secure postal reform,” Rolando said.

“The law that requires our employer to set aside billions of dollars each year to pre-fund decades’ worth of future retiree health benefits remains an obstacle on the Postal Service’s path to full financial health,” the president said. “The NALC continues to work with Congress, the Postal Service and a wide range of interested postal parties to help fix this unfair burden.”

Click here to read the PRC’s ruling.