The Executive Board of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario has unanimously elected Fred Hahn president of CUPE Ontario.
“I am honoured by this overwhelming show of support,” said Hahn who served as CUPE Ontario’s secretary-treasurer since 2006. “This is the next chapter in CUPE Ontario’s history and I look forward to working with our incredible members across Ontario in this new role. With increased solidarity, we will build our membership and strengthen our locals. As president, I want to harness the energy and expertise of our members to build a positive and progressive vision for public services in Ontario.”
Hahn, a social worker raised in rural Ontario, joined CUPE in 1990 after deciding to use his degree from the University of Toronto to advocate for children with intellectual disabilities at Community Living Toronto. As a union steward, health and safety activist and local president, Hahn quickly rose through the ranks of CUPE and was elected to the Ontario Executive Board in 1998. Known politically throughout Ontario as a passionate voice for public services, Hahn also makes labour history as the first openly gay man to lead a union in Ontario.
“Fred is a strong and historic leader of our union,” said Yolanda McClean, a Toronto School Board employee and member of the CUPE Ontario Executive Board. “He has consistently pushed for diversity at every level of the union and, in his short tenure as secretary-treasurer, transformed the financial foundation of our union. With Fred as the new president of CUPE Ontario, we are ready to move forward.”
The Executive Board of CUPE Ontario met this week to replace outgoing President Sid Ryan. Ryan, president of CUPE Ontario for nearly 18 years, was recently elected president of the Ontario Federation of Labour.
“This is an important moment for CUPE Ontario,” said Brian Madden, President of CUPE Local 503 representing Ottawa area municipal workers. “With the economic crisis, CUPE members across Ontario really need a president who will stand for public sector workers and public services. I can’t think of anyone better than Fred to build on CUPE Ontario’s tradition as the leading voice for public services in this province. He knows our union, understands our jobs and has a record of standing strong for our members. At the same time, he’s never been shy about building the positive and progressive community and political relationships we need to meet future challenges. I look forward to working with him to build our union.”
The Board also elected Candace Rennick, CUPE Ontario’s Second Vice-President and a Regional Vice-President serving on CUPE’s National Executive Board to replace Hahn as secretary-treasurer of CUPE Ontario. A labour activist since her teens, Rennick has long been a pioneer within Ontario’s labour movement, becoming President of CUPE Local 2280, representing long-term care staff at St. Joseph’s at Fleming, a senior’s care facility in Peterborough, at the age of 22.
For more information, please contact:
Kevin Wilson CUPE Communications 416-821-6641