Skip to main content

Retiring Ray

young Ray in AFT shirt
Ray at the 2018 AFT convention in Seattle

Ray Bennettson, UHP elected officer for the last 11 years, is retiring from UConn Health after nearly three decades of service. 

Ray arrived in 1996 as a facilities operations manager, and started his involvement with UHP on the negotiating team the following year, and as a steward the year after that.

He first joined the executive committee when he was elected chief steward in 2013.

“I was a steward at my last job [at Ensign Bickford],” Ray says. “It’s always been a matter of protecting myself and my fellow employees.”

In 2015 Ray switched to his current officer role, VP for Tier I (salaried) employees.

“Ray has been an integral part of UHP since his arrival at UConn Health,” says Chief Steward Jean Morningstar. “He has served in so many roles that it is hard to pinpoint what has had the most impact. In addition to being an officer, steward, and rep, he’s been a member of the reclass committee and on every negotiating team since arriving, all while working full-time. To say his retirement will create a void in UHP is an understatement. We will sorely miss him and his wise judgment.”

Ray and Jean at Aqua Turf
Ray and Jean at our 2018 business convention

For a large portion of his UHP activism, Ray was involved with the State Employees Bargaining Agency Coalition (SEBAC) and was at the table for a number of key negotiations for the benefit of not just UHP but all state employees. 

“Ray is an amazing person, loyal friend and union advocate,” says VP for Community Outreach Robin Washington Addison. “I'm so proud of his remarkable career at UConn and UHP and everything he has accomplished. His leadership, guidance, commitment and presence will be greatly missed.”

“I personally will miss his loyalty and his always judicious and smart counsel,” Jean adds. “Ray always said yes when UHP (and I personally) asked for his help.”

Ray’s accolades include Steward of the Year, the UHP President’s Award twice, and the AFT-CT’s Soifer Award for Unionist of the Year.

“Ray’s departure will leave an enormous void of knowledge and experience,” says VP for Communication Chris DeFrancesco. “If you had a question about anything related to our contract, or even at the SEBAC level, chances are Ray not only could answer it, he probably could tell you the reason behind that answer because he likely was in the room where it originated.”

Ray and Bill at Aqua Turf 2024
Bill presents the President's Award to Ray at our 2024 business convention.

“He will be missed so much,” adds President Bill Garrity. “He is a man who took pride in what he did, Both in his job at UConn Health and his work in UHP.”

“It used to be ‘fun’ to battle  with management, but it’s just gotten ridiculously stupid, there's no reasoning with them,” Ray says. “There used to be give and take, and logic, but now it’s often, ‘No, because we say no.’”

He offers these parting words of wisdom:

“My experience with management has taught me: I know what they would have done if they could. I know how the people in those positions behave and the choices they make. We’re only as strong as everybody who gets involved. The sad part is, people get involved when it affects them. They need to get involved before problems arise.”

Ray says his plans for retirement include traveling and spending more time with his grandchildren. His retirement is effective at the end of June.

Share This