Our Retirees: Maurice GrayMay 1, 2018
Maurice Gray retired last year after 20 years in radiology at NYU Langone Medical Center.
Maurice Gray started his career as a high school teacher in Jamaica. It was not until he came to join his sister in New York in the 1980s that he started to consider a career in health care.
When he was 40 years old, Gray got his Associate Degree in Radiology Science and became certified soon afterwards. When he retired last July, Gray had risen to Lead Radiology Technologist at the main NYU Langone Medical Center campus in Manhattan. By then, he had clocked up 20 years as a member of 1199 and 15 as a delegate.
Before joining the staff at NYU he worked at two other hospitals in the Bronx.
“There was a union structure,” he recalls, “But not as strong as 1199. People weren’t active. If I didn’t see the dues coming out of my paycheck, I would not even have known there was a union.”
When he joined NYU and realized how powerful a united group of workers could be, Gray started to get involved in 1199 political activities.
“I saw how 1199 was functioning and the importance of getting involved. You need to keep up with what is going on socially and politically,” he said. Over the years Gray has taken part in canvassing during national election campaigns and travelled to Washington D.C. and Albany for political rallies. He also travelled to Memphis, with 1199 for a ceremony to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, who was assassinated there in 1968.
Now that he’s retired, Gray is still involved in member outreach, doing volunteer work for the 1199 Child Care Fund.
“Once a month our volunteer group gets together to plan stuff to raise the profile of the fund,” he says, “Both of my sons attended summer camp every year. But there are members who are missing out on child care, day care, sleepaway and summer camp because they aren’t aware of what they can access.”
Gray’s own son benefitted from the 1199 Job Security Fund, which helped him get a job at Bronx Lebanon Medical Center in the maintenance department.
“I’m for working-class people,” says Gray, “For hospital management, it is all about profits. If you can deny benefits, there is more money for [management]. It is one of the reasons why wages have been driven down.
“People have to understand that without a union to protect them, they have no job security and could be fired at any time. If you don’t know the importance of the union and standing together, we all you risk having our healthcare benefits taken away in the next contract.
“It is not only about protecting your own job, either, but about the community we live in. As union members who are earning a living wage, we have to be conscious of those who are less fortunate than we are. This government has tried to get rid of the unions. If we don’t protect our unions and others that are in trouble, workers are going to be in for a whole lot of hurt.”