March 25, 2009
According to The Nation, "Communities across America are suffering through a crisis that could leave a dramatically diminished version of democracy in its wake. It is not the economic meltdown, although the crisis is related to the broader day of reckoning that appears to have arrived. The crisis of which we speak involves more than mere economics. Journalism is collapsing, and with it comes the most serious threat in our lifetimes to self-government and the rule of law as it has been understood here in the United States. After years of neglecting signs of trouble, elite opinion-makers have begun in recent months to recognize that things have gone horribly awry. Journals ranging from Time, The New Yorker, The Atlantic and The New Republic to the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times concur on the diagnosis: newspapers, as we have known them, are disintegrating and are possibly on the verge of extinction. In a nutshell, media corporations, after running journalism into the ground, have determined that news gathering and reporting are not profit-making propositions. So they're jumping ship."
PostCom has learned that postal staff at headquarters have been told it would be a good idea if they "spiffed up" their resumes. An ax could fall on more than a few heads.
"The United States Postal Service is planning to cut thousands of management jobs in the face of a $6 billion budget deficit. The agency will also offer early retirement to 150,000 workers and close six district offices. William Young, president of The National Association of Letter Carriers, tells FederalNewsRadio that USPS employees are just the latest victims of the economic crisis. "Nothing we did, nothing the postal service did and nothing the postal industry did caused this crisis," he says. "We're a victim just like everybody else in the country right now, and we're just doing the best we can to see this thing through."
Johnny Thijs, CEO
of Belgium’s La Poste, presented some good business results for his company at a
press conference last Thursday. 2008 saw a 2.2% increase in turnover (2.26bn
euros) as well as a net profit growth of 53% to 179m euros for La Poste. "We
were able to reestablish the financial equilibrium again after heavy losses in
2002 and 2003. Although this situation remains fragile, the positive
profitability trend enhances the position and prospect of La Poste", Mr Thijs
The MRU, founded in 1992, is the only consultancy in Europe, which has specialised in the market of courier-, express- and parcel services. For large-scale shippers and CEP-services in particular, the MRU provides interdisciplinary advice for all major questions of the market, as there are for example market entry, product design, organisation, and EDP.To learn more about the stories reported above, contact CEP News. (We appreciate the courtesy extended by CEP News to help whet your appetite for more of what CEP offers.)
Politics.co.uk has reported that "in a question to Pat McFadden, Minister of State for Employment Relations and Postal Affairs, James expressed concern about Clause 20 of the Postal Services Bill, which would allow the Government to take both Royal Mail’s assets and deficits onto the same balance sheet.The most recent estimates put the Royal Mail pension deficit at £5.9 billion. By assuming liability for the pension scheme the Government is pledging to remove the deficit, through an injection of public money. The scheme also has £23.5 billion in assets, James is therefore concerned, that should these two funds be merged and spent in the same year, the public will have to bail out the full pension scheme of nearly £30 billion.
Hellmail has reported that:
From USPS LiteBlue: "The Postal Service recently received approval from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to offer voluntary early retirement to eligible employees nationwide. Automation and technological advances coupled with mail volume reductions has the Postal Service continuing to look for ways to voluntarily reduce its workforce while maintaining excellent customer service. This offer is open to employees in those positions who meet the OPM conditions, and who are at least 50 years of age with 20 years of creditable federal service or any age with 25 years of creditable federal service."
The Tallahassee Democrat has reported that "A caldron of frustration is brewing in the Oak Ridge community. After nearly six months' worth of phone calls and complaints to the U.S. Postal Service, residents are still having trouble securing their mail. "It's ridiculous," Sheila Clayton said. "Mail is misdirected regularly, and it's getting out of hand." Clayton, 54, is one of several residents in the area who say that their mail has not been delivered or has gone missing."
Tax-exempt status for newspapers? Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, the provision that confers tax-exempt status to educational and religious groups, would be expanded to newspapers under legislation introduced by Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin to stem the newspaper publishing industry's march to financial failure. [EdNote: Great....Now let's see what Congress will do for its postal system.]
The March 25, 2009 issue of the National Association of Postal Supervisors (NAPS) Legislative & Regulatory Update has been posted on this site. Topics: (1) USPS to Face Tough Questions from Congress; (2) NAPS Leaders Prepare to Take the Hill.
According to Hellmail:
From PR Newswire: "Thanks to ChildFund Sweden (Barnfonden) and Posten (the Swedish postal service) children are able to connect with one another through the program, Post Pals. Post Pals is a classroom-based pen pal program that matches classrooms in Sweden with children in Christian Children's Fund-supported classes in The Gambia, Ethiopia, India, Philippines, Uganda and Zambia. But going beyond mere letter writing, the program also encourages the cultural exchange and enhancement of classrooms for children ages 8-12 through curriculum-based assignments. From an academic program perspective, Post Pals improves reading, writing, analytical and self-expression skills. Because it's integrated into the classroom, it infuses excitement and creativity with learning. But for these children, Post Pals allows the chance for expression; the chance to share their own voice and perspective in exciting new ways. The joy they find in art, writing, photography and song now holds even more meaning. Not only are they learning, they are becoming increasingly confident." [EdNote: OMG U hv 2 rt? BumR]
According to the PostalNews Blog, "Figures released by the US Postal Service show that the organization spent $78.4 million on relocating employees in the fiscal year that ended September 30, 2008. Of that, almost half, or $37.9 million went to “Residence Purchase and/or Sale/Lease”. The USPS home purchase program for relocated employees has been a subject of controversy since it was revealed that the USPS had spent $1.2 million to purchase the home of a South Carolina postmaster who had taken a voluntary lateral transfer to a position in Texas. Just under $15 million of the home purchase funds money went to Headquarters and Area staff, which account for less than four thousand of the postal service’s 632,000 career employees. A similar amount went to postmasters and supervisors, who make up a much larger share, about 54,000 employees, of the workforce. Employees of the Inspection Service and the Office of the Inspector General, about 3,900 total staff. got $3.4 million in home purchase benefits, down from almost $7 million the prior year. Home purchase benefits for clerks, carriers and mail handlers came to just over three hundred thousand dollars."
U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today sent a letter to John E. Potter, the Postmaster General of the United States, urging him to consider the impact on small businesses of reducing the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) delivery week from six days to five. Snowe cited the potential negative consequences such an action could have on America’s roughly 27.2 million small businesses.
Federal News Radio has posted on its site an interview with USPS Deputy Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe.
The Daily Mail has reported that "The Government will not support any further post office closures programme, Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said today. He told peers: 'The closures of the past year were difficult but they were necessary. 'And I can say this afternoon to noble Lords that the Government have no intention of supporting any further programme of post office closures.'"
The Journal of Commerce has reported that "FedEx is holding billions of dollars worth of business – and jobs – over the heads of Congress and the Obama administration by conditioning future aircraft purchases on keeping its parcel drivers away from the National Labor Relations Act. The express carrier notes in its March 22 quarterly earnings report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that an option exercised in January to purchase 30 Boeing 777 aircraft is contingent on “there being no event that causes FedEx Express or its employees not to be covered by the Railway Labor Act.” FedEx also holds an option to purchase another fifteen 777s from Boeing. The condition puts pressure on lawmakers to withdraw language currently in the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill requiring FedEx Express workers to be covered under the more union-friendly National Labor Relations Act."
March 24, 2009
.The USPS has posted new postage statements on its forms page on the USPS web site (usps.com/forms) to support the May 11 pricing change.
Deutsche Post DHL has said that it "welcomes the announcement by the Dutch government to fully open up the Dutch mail market on 1 April 2009. Deutsche Post DHL has been operating in the Dutch mail market for a number of years through its subsidiaries DHL Global Mail and Selekt Mail and is one of the leading mail service providers operating there today."
As Hellmail has noted, "With the government about to take on the Royal Mail pension deficit as part of its Postal Reforms bill, the reality that public sector pension schemes are becoming too costly, is starting to hit home. Just how long can the country cover the cost of public-sector pension schemes?"
Yahoo! has noted that "On March 19, 2009, United Parcel Service, Inc. entered into an agreement with Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. and J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. to sell and the Underwriters agreed to purchase from UPS, subject to and upon the terms and conditions set forth in the Underwriting Agreement, $1,000,000,000 aggregate principal amount of 3.875% Senior Notes due April 1, 2014, and $1,000,000,000 aggregate principal amount of 5.125% Senior Notes due April 1, 2019 (the "Transaction"). The Company is filing this Current Report on Form 8-K so as to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission certain items related to the Transaction."
According to Dow Jones, "Banque Postale said Tuesday its net profit for the full year of 2008 dropped 44% to EUR302.6 million from EUR539.6 million a year earlier." [EdNote: So much for banking being the savior of posts and universal service.]
The Financial has reported that "The Siemens Mobility Division is to supply as many as 97 OMS-type flats sorting machines to Deutsche Post AG (DPAG). What makes this Open Mail System (OMS) machine unique throughout the world is its extreme speed. The new generation of sorting machines is the first that is capable of handling up to 50,000 flats per hour. The order calls for delivery to begin in 2010 and to end by 2012."
Hellmail has reported that "In more recent years, the gradual decline in mail volume in the UK has seen Royal Mail postal delivery walks extended as others are absorbed. With that has come a wave of post office closures making mail storage for these walks often difficult. Lockable mail containers generally require planning permission and as a consequence, both press and TV have picked up on what seems to be a rise in unsecure mail sacks left behind bushes or bins. To combat the problem and also enable postal workers to stay out longer on deliveries, the Royal Mail is rolling out a scheme whereby two postal workers share a vam. It means that the mail is far more secure and presumably gets delivery workers to their walks quicker."
The latest blog entry has been posted on the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General’s Internet site “Pushing the Envelope.” The public, mailers, postal employees, and other stakeholders are invited to weigh in on the online discussions taking place. To view the site, visit http://blog.uspsoig.gov/. City Delivery Route Consolidation. Due to mail volume drops, the Postal Service plans to consolidate more than 87,000 city delivery routes — which could affect as many as 50 million addresses nationwide. Consolidating routes means some customers will receive their mail at different times — earlier or later in the day. It also means customers could have a different letter carrier who will have to become familiar with a new delivery route. Do you think consolidating city delivery routes will have a positive effect on the Postal Service’s bottom line? Why or why not? Will it be difficult for carriers — particularly those who walk their routes — to spend more time on the street? You can visit Office of Inspector General’s public website at: www.uspsoig.gov. If you have additional questions, please contact Communication and Work Life Director Agapi Doulaveris at 703.248.2322.
In a postal perspective prepared for the PostCom Bulletin, PostCom Vice President Jessica Lowrance and PostCom President Gene Del Polito note that "The Postal Service is not without hope, and there are some initiatives underway that would make Congress' forebearance a reasonable policy and investment risk. Granting the Postal Service--and it's customers--the breathing room that's needed to actualize these key changes is essential. In fact, it not only would make good policy, it would make good business."
[Ed Note: The Postal Service does not like the CPI cap on its annual price changes. For December 2008, the CPI figured out to be 3.8%. For February, it figured out to be 3.2%. It should be grateful for small favors. Of course, a 0.5% difference to postage-paying mailers is anything but small.]
From the Postal Regulatory Commission:
The Press & Journal has reported that "Solidarity leader Tommy Sheridan stopped just short of calling for a general strike yesterday in a rallying call for action to fend off the privatisation of Royal Mail. Speaking on a walkabout in Inverness, the politician called for a “summit of action” to unite all public service unions in support of the Communication Workers Union (CWU)."
According to one SFWeekly Blog, "San Francisco's City Operations & Neighborhood Services Committee yesterday approved of a proposed "Do Not Mail" registry. Jim Wigdell is the regional spokesman for the United States Postal Service. Naturally, they oppose this measure -- but, Wigdell claims, not just because it would cause the USPS to shift from losing money profusely to whatever is more than profusely. It's about all the folks who depend on this industry. The full Board of Supes will vote on this possible measure on March 31."
The Washington Post has noted that "The news is that the U.S. Postal Service wants to cut its huge losses by letting 150,000 employees -- that's more than the population of Hampton, Va. -- take early retirement. The sideshow is the the postmaster general's compensation package. Both will be on the agenda tomorrow as Congress looks at the declining fortunes of the post office and the increasing compensation of its boss. The Postal Service says it is trying to save $100 million annually through a series of measures that include closing offices and eliminating positions. The cuts are needed because the nation's financial health is in the dumps and mail volume has sunk along with it. A big factor is the money the Postal Service must pay for future retiree health benefits. Without that, the service would have had a net income of $1.6 billion in fiscal 2007 instead of a $5.1 billion loss "
Hellmail has reported that "Slovenian Post has launched a new service called "your email", which allows subscribers to choose those areas which interest them most in terms of services and offers and, as far as we can ascertain, aims to streamline direct marketing so that both providers and customers are more evenly matched. The new service can deliver material to subscribers in the format they choose including email, SMS and MMS but it hopes that more concise data will ensure more targetted distribution for marketeers and more useful and relevant services for customers."
March 23, 2009
Logistics Management has reported that "Kewill, a provider of logistics and global trade software, and returns management services and technology provider Newgistics, recently announced they have formed a partnership that will allow Newgistics’ customers to leverage Kewill’s technology to drive down costs and augment shipping processes."
RTE Business has reported that "A new report shows that 79% of post was delivered within one working day throughout the state in 2008. The Commission for Communications Regulation's sixth annual report on the quality of service performance of An Post says this is a modest 2% improvement on the service quality performance the previous year. However, ComReg adds that it still remains significantly below the 94% target set for An Post."
Forbes has reported that "Riot police have forced dozens of postal workers out of the French Finance Ministry where they were demanding more pay and no job cuts."
On Wednesday, March 25, 2009, at 10:00 a.m. in room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building, the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia will hold a hearing entitled, “Restoring the Financial Stability of the U.S. Postal Service: What Needs to be Done?” The Subcommittee will examine how the nationwide economic downturn, coupled with technological trends, has produced declining volumes and revenues for the United States Postal Service. The Postal Service’s recent decision to close six of its 80 district offices, eliminate positions across the country and offer another early retirement opportunity makes the Subcommittee’s hearing very timely. The hearing aims to generate effective short and long term strategies to reduce costs and improve efficiency at the Postal Service. In addition, the Subcommittee will question the Board of Governors on Postal executives’ compensation packages. Witnesses’ testimonies, the Chairman’s opening statement and a 10 a.m. live broadcast of the hearing can be found on the Subcommittee’s website, federalworkforce.oversight.house.gov
The Journal of Commerce has reported that "The economies of thirty nations are expected to shrink in 2009, according the head of an international group focused on sustainable economic growth. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development expects growth in the 30-nation OECD area to be 'very negative' in 2009, its secretary-general, Angel Gurria, said March 20."
As Time has reported, "A recent Pew study found that fewer than half of Americans say that losing their local paper would hurt their civic life "a lot" and even fewer say they would miss reading it, partly, it seems, because they get their local news from other media, mostly TV. But since papers are the primary source for most other news outlets, a major link will be missing from the news ecosystem. If a paper does not cover a story, it is unlikely to be covered in the broadcast media, whose reporting staffs tend to be even smaller." [EdNote: Incidentally, that applies equally to the news reported on this site.]
Butler Mailing Service President Todd Butler wants to know: "Mail Piece Redesign: Is the goal to reduce processing costs or mandate the use of envelopes?"
Sindh Today has reported that "A postal service cargo, worth tens of thousands of rupees was hijacked by suspected militants of the Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF) recently. The RPF is believed to be an armed wing of the proscribed Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA)."
First Post has a briefing on what's going on with Royal Mail.
Fuel Cell Today has reported that "Royal Mail, the postal operating authority for the United Kingdom is working with CENEX, PostEurop, the association of European public postal operators, and FuelCellEurope, the European association of fuel cell developers to develop a universal design specification for hydrogen fuel cell postal vans."
The Financial Times has reported that "Pressure is mounting on Brussels to open a full probe into a proposed €3bn merger of the Swedish and Danish postal services in the next few days because of implications for postal market liberalisation across the 27-country European Union bloc. The deal is the first big postal merger to be announced since EU lawmakers passed legislation requiring countries to open their postal markets, and get rid of remaining state monopolies, by 2011."
According to Wales Online, "the postbus is about to reach the end of the road in the county where it was pioneered. For more than 40 years, postbuses, which carry passengers alongside mail, have provided a travel lifeline for remote British communities. But many routes have been abandoned in Royal Mail efficiency drives, and Wales’ last three postbuses are due to end over the next few weeks."
Postalnews Blog has reported that "Figures released by the US Postal Service show that the organization spent $78.4 million on relocating employees in the fiscal year that ended September 30, 2008. Of that, almost half, or $37.9 million went to “Residence Purchase and/or Sale/Lease”. The USPS home purchase program for relocated employees has been a subject of controversy since it was revealed that the USPS had spent $1.2 million to purchase the home of a South Carolina postmaster who had taken a voluntary lateral transfer to a position in Texas. Just under $15 million of the home purchase funds money went to Headquarters and Area staff, which account for less than four thousand of the postal service’s 632,000 career employees. A similar amount went to postmasters and supervisors, who make up a much larger share, about 54,000 employees, of the workforce. Employees of the Inspection Service and the Office of the Inspector General, about 3,900 total staff. got $3.4 million in home purchase benefits, down from almost $7 million the prior year. Home purchase benefits for clerks, carriers and mail handlers came to just over three hundred thousand dollars."
Hellmail has reported that "Johnny Thijs, CEO of the Belgian Post office said that modernization of its structure and working methods was essential if it was to be prepared for future competition when full liberalization of market begins in 2011. His comments followed protests by Belgian postal workers earlier this month, unhappy about post office closures and what they say has been a systematic downgrading of jobs and large profits made by stakeholders in the service."
The New York Times has reported that "Responding to the financial crisis, American companies sharply reduced their spending on direct-mail marketing last year, according to the Winterberry Group, a marketing consultancy. Winterberry said this was the first such decline in more than 60 years of record-keeping. The company arrived at the figures by surveying 305 companies in the direct-mail industry. The cuts represented at least nine billion pieces of mail, according to Winterberry’s analysis of Postal Service reports. Not surprisingly, credit card and mortgage service solicitations dropped the most sharply, falling 21.8 percent and 38.8 percent in volume respectively, according to Mintel Comperemedia, a direct-mail tracking firm. Winterberry said the cuts were caused primarily by the financial crisis, but also by rising postal, paper and labor costs, which have pushed marketers toward online solicitations. Winterberry said 45 percent of the marketers in its survey were switching to cheaper paper and raw materials to cut costs."
Radio New Zealand has reported that "Snail mail is set to become even slower with New Zealand Post deciding it will no longer collect mail from street boxes on a weekend. The company will cut its collection days from six days a week to five days a week from mid April. New Zealand Post says there has been a significant drop in the amount of mail posted in street boxes on a weekend, and 95% of mail is sent on weekdays."
Wanna know who's making what over at the Postal Service? All you need to do is enter the pertinent information at the following URL: http://php.courierpostonline.com/data_public/datauniverse/usps/
March 22, 2009
Check out the National Association of Postal Supervisors Legislative Issues Brief.
The Long Beach Press-Telegram has reported that "Long Beach 5th District City Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske will request that the city attorney draft a resolution to oppose the shutting down of the United States Postal Service facility on Redondo Avenue. The USPS is conducting a study to determine if it should move some of the operations from the Redondo Avenue center to centers in Los Angeles and Santa Ana. "We do not want the Redondo (Avenue) facility closed or relocated," Schipske said." [EdNote: Fine. Now send Long Beach the bill to pay to keep Redondo Avenue open.]
March 21, 2009
Weekend Related Media Roundup
Express Buzz has reported that "With the global meltdown, people fearing to invest in private sectors are going in for postal savings. Statistics reveal that the number of new savings accounts in post offices have increased considerably."
Voice of Nigeria has reported that "The Postmaster-General of Nigeria, Malam Ibrahim Mori Baba, has been elected the Chairman of the Strategic Board of Pan-African Postal Union (PAPU)."
NewsItem has reported that "Address changes have caused numerous headaches and frustration for some residents of this Northumberland County village. They want to know “who dropped the ball,” and when will the issues, which began in the beginning of the year, be resolved."
Here is the Associated Press' report of the Postal Service's cost-cutting efforts. Reports similar to this have appeared in many papers across the nation. All summarize or report on the announcement from the Postal Service noted below.
"U.S. Senators Judd Gregg and Jeanne Shaheen, and Representatives Carol Shea-Porter and Paul Hodes today joined together in urging the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to reconsider its decision to close the New Hampshire and Vermont Postal District Office. The USPS announced this afternoon that it intends to shut down the NH/VT District Office in Manchester, NH, and relocate its operations to Maine."
The Staten Island Advance has reported that "Making a direct appeal to the U.S. postmaster general to continue to process outgoing Staten Island mail at the Manor Road Post Office, Sen. Charles Schumer said today it would be "unacceptable" to do otherwise, even as a cost-cutting measure. In a letter to Postmaster General John E. Potter, Schumer noted that not only could it result in the transfer of 300 employees who now work at the Castleton Corners facility to Brooklyn or Queens, but it would mean the end of the Staten Island postmark if the borough's mail is processed elsewhere. "It is unacceptable that the United States Post Office is even considering shutting down the outgoing mail facility at the Manor Road Post Office," said Schumer. "... During this economic crisis, transferring these workers to Brooklyn or Queens would cost them time, transportation costs and could damage the quality of [mail] delivery for Staten Island." [EdNote: Oh? And what about the cost to the nation's postal system and all postal users? Having the Postal Service go Chapter 11 for the sake of Staten Island is "unacceptable" too. Who's going to pick up the costs associated with maintaining a redundant postal facility? Staten Island? Or everyone else? Let the politicking stop here.]
Information Age has reported that "Digitising incoming correspondence and storing it electronically for archival, compliance and customer service purposes has long been a burden at most large companies. In many cases they outsource the document management side of that a third party such as EDS or Xerox. So there is nothing too innovative about the decision of Zurich Financial Services Group to outsource its document management to Swiss Post, especially when standardised input process across multinational boundaries create globally searchable and accessible documents. But it is the sheer scale of the Zurich-Swiss Post contract that makes it noteworthy. The Swiss Post brief involved replacing the bank’s inhouse process with a cross-border operation covering six countries – the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Austria – and processing around 146 million documents annually, a mammoth task involving opening 240,000 items of physical mail a day and digitising 150,000 documents a day."
POSTAL SERVICE BOARD OF GOVERNORS Sunshine Act. Meeting Times and Dates: 6 p.m., Monday, March 30, 2009; 10 a.m., Tuesday, March 31, 2009; and 9:45 a.m., Wednesday, April 1, 2009. Place: Potomac, Maryland, at the Bolger Center for Leadership Development. Status: Closed. Matters to be Considered: Monday, March 30 at 6 p.m. (Closed) 1. Financial Matters. 2. Strategic Issues. 3. Pricing. 4. Personnel Matters and Compensation Issues. 5. Governors' Executive Session--Discussion of prior agenda items and Board Governance. Tuesday, March 31 at 10 a.m. (Closed) Continuation of Monday's agenda. Wednesday, April 1 at 9:45 a.m. (Closed) Continuation of Monday's agenda. Contact Person for More Information: Julie S. Moore, Secretary of the Board, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW., Washington, DC 20260-1000. Telephone (202) 268-4800.
According to The Nation, "Communities across America are suffering through a crisis that could leave a dramatically diminished version of democracy in its wake. It is not the economic meltdown, although the crisis is related to the broader day of reckoning that appears to have arrived. The crisis of which we speak involves more than mere economics. Journalism is collapsing, and with it comes the most serious threat in our lifetimes to self-government and the rule of law as it has been understood here in the United States."
Docket No. RM2008-1. The Postal Regulatory Commission has issued a second notice of proposed rulemaking to implement procedures governing the degree of confidentiality to accord information filed by the Postal Service and third parties with the Commission. The proposed rules, issued pursuant to section 504(g) of title 39, prescribe the tests the Commission will employ to determine whether information filed under seal by the Postal Service and third parties with the Commission will retain its non-public (confidential) status or be subject to disclosure to the public. In addition, the proposed rules set forth the test the Commission will apply to permit access to non-public materials. Initial comments on the proposed rule are due 30 days after publication of the Order in the Federal Digest.