Eighty Jewish CUPE workers have now signed on to a human rights complaint claiming antisemitism against CUPE Ontario and its president Fred Hahn, the lawyer overseeing the complaint says.

After the human rights complaint by 25 members was publicized two weeks ago, lawyer Kathryn Marshall says her office was “completely inundated” with calls from other fed-up members who wanted to join the claim.

“They don’t want their union dues to fund discrimination against them,” she told True North. “They want to redirect their union dues to Jewish organizations of their choice.”

She said they’re also demanding accountability from a union they say has been engaged in antisemitic acts for many years.

“This is nothing new,” she said.

In the filing, the CUPE union members took issue with a post by Hahn on X (formerly Twitter) on Thanksgiving weekend in which he was grateful for the “power of resistance around the globe.”

The original complaint also claims the CUPE union leader posted a picture to Instagram in which he parroted the chant, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free” – a chant considered a call to arms to eradicate the Jewish state.

Marshall said Hahn’s repeated anti-Israel tweets subsequent to October 7 “brought it (the antisemitism) all to light.”

Many non-Jewish members have reached out to her as well to say they’re “really offended” by what’s going on and want to lend their support.

“Since Fred Hahn’s apology, they (the CUPE brass) haven’t stopped their discriminatory behaviour … they’re just doubling down on it,” she said.

She called his apology “really insincere.”

“No one is accepting that apology… in fact his actions since that apology demonstrate how insincere he is,” she said.

Hahn has been seen protesting front and centre along with Sarah Jama, who was kicked out of the NDP caucus for her antisemitic hate, and NDP MP Matthew Green.

Hahn’s tweets or reposts are nearly 70% about pro-Palestine protests, a ceasefire and other anti-Israel propaganda.

One would think he was an activist rather than the head of Ontario’s largest labour union.

Marshall feels they’ve doubled down because they are “filled with hatred and discrimination” and don’t view their actions as discriminatory.

The basis of it is “antisemitism,” she said.

But unions are not used to being “held accountable,” Marshall added.

“They really operate in an environment where they can intimidate people, fill them with fear, they can coerce people, that’s the environment they are used to,” she said.

She feels they are “just shocked” that anyone would call them out and take action against them.

“They have no fear of consequences,” she said. “That’s why it’s really important to fight back.”

She says CUPE hasn’t filed its defense yet but she suspects it will be something “very unoriginal” and they will try and claim this is just “freedom of expression.”

She said she’s a huge champion of free speech but like most Canadians she recognizes “there is a distinction” between defensible speech and inciting hatred against a group of people.

“That is exactly what CUPE and especially Fred Hahn is doing,” she said. “What has that to do with the labour rights of their members?”

She says many of the people who’ve contacted her resent that they’re using union dues for political activism instead of fighting the real union issues at hand.

In response to my inquiries, Hahn said they have not received any communication from the human rights tribunal and cannot speak to any allegations or verify the number of complainants.

“However, our union understands the fundamental importance of human rights and we take these matters very seriously. We firmly believe there has been no violation of Ontario’s Human Rights Code and in any forum we will be happy to stand on our record of fighting discrimination and oppression in all their forms,” Hahn said in a statement.

Marshall anticipates it will be a lengthy battle. 

She vowed to “fight hard.”


  • Sue-Ann Levy

    A two-time investigative reporting award winner and nine-time winner of the Toronto Sun’s Readers Choice award for news writer, Sue-Ann Levy made her name for advocating the poor, the homeless, the elderly in long-term care and others without a voice and for fighting against the striking rise in anti-Semitism and the BDS movement across Canada.