Fred Hahn, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario, marched in the Pride Parade on Sunday in his hometown of London, Ontario. Hahn is the first openly gay leader of a major union in Canada.
“I’m really proud of how far Ontario and London have come, in terms of LGBTQ rights. I grew up in London and Tillsonburg, and it was very isolating. But today, just look at all the people who have come out and built a strong, supportive community,” Hahn said. “As the president of the largest union in Ontario, I’m proud to stand with our members to continue the struggle for fairness, equality and respect.”
CUPE Ontario celebrated three major accomplishments in the LGBTQ rights movement at Sunday’s Pride Parade, says Hahn, taking the opportunity to speak out against bullying of school workers by the provincial government.
“We’re celebrating the all-party passage of Toby’s Act, and we’re celebrating Bill 13, the Accepting Schools Act. We’re also calling on the Premier to follow up the anti-bullying bill by stopping his bullying of school board workers. Workers who protect students from bullying every day should not themselves be bullied.”
In provincial discussions, the Liberals are trying to force education staff to accept reduced working conditions or more cuts, and are threatening new legislation that will undermine the legal collective bargaining process. This week, they also threatened to seize control of school boards that do not conform to Liberal demands.
“Pride Parades originated as a political demonstration – a show of strength and solidarity as well as a demand for equality. These are values CUPE Ontario members believe in strongly,” says Hahn. “I’m incredibly proud CUPE members in Ontario chose me as their president, and so proud of them for creating a new LGBTQ position on our provincial executive.”
At their convention in May, CUPE Ontario members voted to create a new position on their provincial executive, a Diversity Vice-President, LGBTQ. CUPE Ontario the first union in Canada to create a dedicated LGBTQ executive position.
CUPE Ontario is the province’s community union, representing the people who deliver front-line public services to everyone.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications, 416-576-7316