Dan Sass is set to retire this month, ending a long career as secretary-treasurer of Machinists/Woodworkers District W24.
Sass, 64, was elected secretary-treasurer of then-Machinists District Lodge 24 in July 1991. He was tapped to fill the remainder of the term vacated by Jay Bormann, who resigned to take a job with the international union.
In 2011, the Machinists and Woodworkers merged, which created District W24. Sass was tinkering with the idea of retiring at the time the merger talks unfolded, but decided against it, he said, because he was in the middle of his term as S-T, and he wanted to see a smooth merger transition.
Sass’ term expires in December. Chris Taylor, secretary-treasurer of Lodge 1005 employed at Freightliner, was tapped to complete the term, although going forward it will be a part-time position.
Sass joined Machinists Lodge 1432 in 1971. In his early years he worked as a warehousemen at Kaiser Jeep, American Motors/Chrysler, and Boyd’s Coffee. From 1982 to 1991 he ran his own auto repair shop in Portland while maintaining his union membership.
He served Local 1432 as secretary-treasurer for 10 years. He also held posts as auditor, trustee, recording secretary and as a delegate to the district council.
For many years he served as secretary-treasurer of the Oregon Machinists Council, and he represented Lodge W24 on the Machinists Non-Partisan Political League (MNPL) National Planning Committee. He was a trustee to the IAM Health and Welfare Plan and the Nelson Trust, and he served as an adviser to the District W24 401(k) plan.
He also represented the Machinists Union on the Executive Board of the Northwest Oregon Labor Council.
Until this year, Sass has been master of ceremonies at the Machinists annual veterans pin awards dinner. He started doing it in 1991. The event, which draws several hundred members, retirees and spouses, includes a huge raffle. Sass purchases all of the raffle prizes at a unionized Fred Meyer store.
In his role as secretary-treasurer, Sass helps coordinate the annual Machinists Golf tournament to raise money for Guide Dogs of America. In 2002, he received the “Gift of Sight” award at the annual William Winpisinger Charity Banquet in Las Vegas. (The late-Winpisinger was general president of the Machinists Union.) More than 1,000 people from around the nation attended the banquet to honor Sass and Harley-Davidson CEO Jeffrey Bleustein.
Sass also is a regular at the Labor Day picnic at Oaks Park, where he sells raffle tickets for the union’s political action fund, MNPL.
A native of North Dakota, Sass has lived in Portland since 1969.
Sass says in retirement he intends to play more golf and spend time with his wife Kim and granddaughter Lacey. His daughter Angela manages the Machinists/Boilermakers Federal Credit Union. His youngest daughter Samantha is a college student studying to be a nurse.