On Sunday, July 26, CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn, Diversity VP LGBTQ Patrick Hannon and members from across the London region participated in the largest-ever London Pride Parade.

“Pride is Political. It is a public manifestation of the on-going fight for fairness and equality. And it is an important way to support our members and our communities,” said Hahn, a social worker before being elected the first openly gay leader of a major union in Canada. “As a union, we’re proud of the role we have played in LGBTQ liberation by developing and successfully negotiating collective agreement language on many equality fronts. We are proud that CUPE was one of the very first unions to bargain protection and advance equality for the LGBTQ community.”

CUPE Ontario was also the first union to dedicate a position on its provincial executive board for LGBTQ members, elected by this constituency of our membership.

At Pride events around the province, CUPE Ontario is celebrating “Pride in Public Power” and drawing attention to the government austerity that has put equity and equality on the back burner in too many workplaces.

“Austerity is driving a privatization push in Ontario and around the globe. It’s hurting us all – from school closures to the concession demands that triggered a strike by municipal workers in London. In the private sector, the top priority is always profit, not equality. Privatizing services, like Hydro One, impacts everyone, with equity-seeking groups being hardest hit,” said Hannon, a municipal worker from Windsor and CUPE Ontario’s Diversity Vice-President, LGBTQ. “This is one reason why CUPE Ontario fights for reliable public services that are available for everyone.”

Learn more about the campaign to stop the hydro sell-off at KeepHydroPublic.ca

“There is absolutely a double meaning in the slogan, “Pride in Public Power,” said Hahn. “It has been through the collective power of so many Trans and Queer activists that we are seeing real gains in equality for LGBTQ communities.”

Photos by Craig Saunders