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CUPE Ontario is kicking off a summer of celebration at this week’s Pride events in Toronto. The weekend will begin with Friday’s Trans March, followed by the Dyke March on Saturday and a big participation in Sunday’s Pride Parade.

As a union, we have a 50 year history of standing up for equality and fairness,” says CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn, the first openly gay president of a major union in Canada. “Bargaining and campaigning for LGBTQ rights are important parts of the work we do for our members and our communities, all across Ontario. Let there be no doubt – LGBTQ issues are union issues.”

CUPE pioneered the use of collective bargaining to advance equality and anti-harassment policies in the workplace. Members voted at a 1985 convention that their union’s policy would be to bargain such language into contracts.

In Ontario, CUPE also brought forward the Rosenberg case, which led the federal government to re-write the Income Tax Act to recognize same-sex spouses. And CUPE Ontario supported member Martine Stonehouse in her landmark human rights case, which led to a re-listing of gender reassignment surgery with OHIP.

Pride is important to CUPE Ontario because our members are part of the LGBTQ communities, and because many of our members provide important services and supports to the communities,” says Diversity Vice-President Marlon Picken.

CUPE Ontario members voted to create the Diversity Vice-President position at their annual convention in 2012. Picken was elected at CUPE Ontario’s 50th Convention in May.

This weekend we are celebrating in Toronto, but we’re also participating in more than a dozen Pride events in communities across Ontario this summer,” says CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick. “Also at Carnival, Labour Day and many other events, our members will highlight how important our work over the last 50 years has been to the lives of all Ontarians.”

CUPE is Ontario’s community union, with members providing the quality public services we all rely on, in every part of the province, every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards and universities.

Trans March and Rally: Friday, June 28 at 6 p.m., Norman Jewison Park

Dyke March: Saturday, June 29 at 2:00 p.m., Church and Hayden Streets

Pride Parade: Sunday, June 30 at 2:00 p.m., staging on Rosedale Valley Road

For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact:

Craig Saunders
CUPE Communications