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In a positive sign, the loss was a fraction of the record $15.9 billion the Postal Service reported losing last year. But it was still the agency's seventh straight annual loss and came despite its first growth in revenue since 2008.

Operating revenue rose 1.2 percent to $66 billion, thanks to growth in the post office's package delivery business and higher volume in standard mail. That was not enough to offset long-term losses in first class mail a¿¿ the post office's most profitable service a¿¿ where revenues declined by 2.4 percent.


AP Exclusive: US union vote won't affect Volkswagen plans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) a¿¿ A top Volkswagen labor official says a pending decision about union representation for workers at the automaker's lone U.S. plant will have no bearing on whether the company will decide to add the production of another vehicle there.

The world's third-largest automaker, which is mulling whether to make a new SUV in Mexico or Tennessee, shocked Southern union foes by engaging in talks with the United Auto Workers about creating a German-style "works council" at the Chattanooga, Tenn., plant.

Southern politicians say they fear a successful UAW organization of the Volkswagen plant would hurt the region's ability to attract future investment, and that it could lead to the spread of organized labor to other foreign car makers.


At McDonald's, a push for customization

NEW YORK (AP) a¿¿ McDonald's is looking to give people a little more wiggle room to customize their orders, as they can at chains such as Chipotle, Five Guys and Subway.

The world's biggest hamburger chain says it's testing a "build-your-own burger" concept in Laguna Niguel, Calif., that lets customers pick from a variety of toppings. Its new Dollar Menu and More also features five sandwiches with different sauces and toppings.

McDonald's is equipping its kitchens with new "assembly tables" that can accommodate more ingredients. The tables will also help improve the speed of service, which has become an issue for McDonald's as it has expanded its menu.

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