The holiday season is a time of joy: gathering with family and friends to celebrate Christmas, anticipation of the New Year, the smiles on our children’s faces as they see their new games and toys — and their reactions when they open those practical, dreaded gifts of clothes and socks.

This year, I cannot stop thinking about FairPoint Communications’ workers and their families. For them, their holidays are filled with uncertainty and hardship. In Maine, 800 men and women are among the 1,900 FairPoint workers on strike in northern New England. They are our friends and neighbors in communities including Oakland, Old Town, Skowhegan and elsewhere in Maine.

For 10 weeks, these workers have been forgoing their pay and benefits as they stand up for their rights. I’ve been heartened to see all the expressions of solidarity with the striking workers — meals, Christmas gifts, donations of diapers and other household needs and visits to the picket lines.

While these highly skilled workers are on strike, consumers, meanwhile, are forced to contend with problems with the utility’s service. Complaints about poor service are mounting and problems are going unrepaired.

I know I’m not alone in my Christmas wish that the company return to the bargaining table. Please keep the folks affected by the strike in your hearts. They deserve a fair resolution in the New Year.

Rep. Jeff McCabe

D-Skowhegan

House majority leader

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