I am a 76-year-old with 55 years of experience as a union representative. I have to admit that these last few years have caused me to become a bit cynical about young American workers.

It’s so obvious that many have little or no understanding of where their rights came from: the right to stand up for yourself and your loved ones with a labor union contract; the eight-hour day; minimum-wage laws; and laws for workers’ compensation, human rights, civil rights, occupational safety and health, to name a few.

The FairPoint strike has shown me and everyone else that union workers still know how to take it to the street. They’ve refused to be bullied by opportunistic employers and resisted the cattle call of some right-wing, bought-and-sold, anti-union news media (who are the ones who wanted to see the unions fail).

The workers not only taught FairPoint a lesson, but also showed all employers that they dare not tread on workers who can’t be divided.

The union members can know that no history of the FairPoint strike will ever be written without declaring all of them winners. I am so proud of them!

Every worker, union and otherwise, owes them such a great deal. I thank them for giving me so much to feel good about.

Robert L. Piccone

president emeritus, Teamsters Local Union 340

Portland