WASHINGTON (AP) -- The price of sending a letter will go up a penny -- to 34 cents -- on Jan. 7.
The board of governors of the Postal Service set the date for the increase on Tuesday, accepting under protest the Postal Rate Commission's series of recommended prices.
"We will implement the recommended decision, but are returning it to the commission for further consideration," said Board Chairman Einar V. Dyhrkopp.
While the independent rate commission agreed with the post office's requested 34-cent first-class rate, it reduced the agency's proposed increases in other areas.
Postmaster General William Henderson said the cuts made by the rate commission reduced the post office's planned contingency fund by $1 billion.
The post office is currently in arbitration with three of its largest labor unions and it expects to need the added income to pay higher salaries and to meet other rising costs, including fuel and equipment.
The post office had been in the black for several years, but the request for a rate increase had been made in January in anticipation of a small loss in 2000 and a larger one in 2001.
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