Megan J. Brennan

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

Sunday marks an important date for e-commerce marketers: USPS shipping rates are going up. The date may have seemed a long way off before the holiday rush, when package senders first learned Priority Mail fees would rise about 9.8 percent. After all, about 15 billion mail pieces and packages needed to be delivered by the new year. But the day of reckoning is here.

When I worked for DMA, one of the main talking points its leadership reminded us of was how important direct mail was for preserving the USPS for Americans. It appears as though that talking point may have had some basis in reality. While the First-Class mail letter volume continues to fall, commercial First-Class mail volumes are slightly increasing. In other words, direct mailers are helping buoy USPS, says the Office of Inspector General.

With union negotiations coming up very soon, the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) picked Sunday—when Megan J. Brennan officially became postmaster general and CEO of the U.S. Postal Service—to "welcome" her. In a statement emailed to Target Marketing on Sunday and again on Monday, APWU President Mark Dimondstein says he'd like to see the USPS expand hours to handle the e-commerce boom and offer customers new services, such as postal banking. The union's contract runs out in May, with negotiations slated to begin 90 days prior, according to the APWU website. These negotiations come as the USPS Board of Governors lacks a quorum, due to congressional inaction on nominees.

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