Tom Drew of Portland, a retired federal mediator who is a former local union president and international union representative, died April 28 from congestive heart failure due to complications from pneumonia. He was 76.
Drew retired in 1999 from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service’s Portland office, where he had worked for 21 years. From 1958 to 1967, he served as a shop steward, recording secretary, president, and business agent for Chemical Workers Local 109 (now merged with United Food and Commercial Workers) working at the Pennwalt industrial chemical plant in Portland.
In 1967 the International Chemical Workers Union, headquartered in Akron, Ohio, appointed him to its staff, first as an organizer and later as its international representative for Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Drew’s job with the Chemical Workers took him on assignments to Los Angeles to serve locals in Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah; and to Kansas City, Missouri, to help locals in that state, plus those in Kansas and Nebraska.
In 1973, the Chemical Workers reassigned Drew to Los Angeles. In the course of his work, Drew met a federal mediator who suggested that he apply for a job with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Drew did so in 1977 and was hired, then sent to Seattle for training, followed by 21 years of duty at the Portland office.
Thomas Edward Drew was born in North Portland on Oct. 19, 1935, to George and Alice Drew. His father was a bus driver for Rose City Transit Company and was a member of Amalgamated Transit Local 757.
Drew attended Holy Cross Grade School and Central Catholic High School, then transferred to Benson Technical High School, from which he graduated in 1953.
After graduation he worked at Crown-Zellerbach’s Western Wax plant as a member of the AFL-CIO Pulp, Sulphite Union, followed by three years in the United States Navy.
After the Navy he worked at Pacific Telephone & Telegraph, where he was a member of the Communications Workers of America.
Drew is survived by his wife, Linda, of 38 years; three sons, Dan, Sean, Kevin; and seven grandchildren.
A private burial was held in Willamette National Cemetery.
Messages of condolence may be sent to Linda Drew, PMB #426, 5331 SW Macadam Ave. Ste. 258 , Portland, OR 97239.