It’s not a stretch to say that Ray Bramucci has led a life dedicated to the dignity of work.
Ray was born in Ludlow, Mass., where as a young boy he worked in a variety of factory jobs. As a teenager, he entered the Air Force, where he learned both the art of photography and joy of serving his country.
Moving to New York City, Ray joined the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, where he rose through the ranks to become a senior director widely respected for championing fair play by both workers and employers. Based in part on that reputation, Senator Bill Bradley chose Ray to lead his New Jersey office, a post he most capably filled from 1979 to 1990.
In 1990 Ray was chosen by Governor Jim Florio to serve as Commissioner of New Jersey’s $375 million, 4,000 employee Department of Labor. He immediately impressed decision-makers statewide with his political acumen and policy prowess. Among his signature achievements was the passage of the Workforce Development Partnership Act, which trained unemployed workers in high-tech, emerging trades.
From 1994 to 1998 Ray served as the Executive Director of the Seton Hall University Institute on Work, a not-for-profit organization advocating workplace equity. He also served as an arbitrator on the New Jersey Board of Mediation, a Special Advisor to the President of Montclair State University, and an adjunct professor of political science at Rutgers University.
Ray ascended to the national stage in 1998 when President Bill Clinton tapped him to serve as Assistant Secretary of Labor at the U.S. Department of Labor, where he oversaw the administration of national Youth Opportunity grants and became a driving force in employment and training nationwide. He now consults on worker training, labor issues, conflict resolution and arbitration for public and private sector clients throughout the region.
We all honor Ray for these accomplishments, but it’s deeper than that. We honor him for his nearly 60 years of vigorous advocacy for mutual respect in the workplace and in our civic society. At nearly 80, his dedication to the dignity of work continues, and should be celebrated.
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