Brian Severns, a retired assistant directing business representative for Machinists District Lodge 24 (now District W 24), passed away Oct. 25 at the age of 71. He had been in declining health since undergoing brain surgery for an infection.
A 42-year member of Local Lodge 63, Severns joined the union in October 1978 after taking what he thought would be a temporary job at the Portland shipyards. He became active in the union, serving as chief steward. In 1988, he was hired as a business representative for District Lodge 24. He served as assistant directing business representative to Dave Plant from 1992 to 2001.
“I gave Brian the toughest assignments because I was confident he could handle them,” Plant said. “He was especially skilled in putting on arbitrations of our members’ grievances, with the best record of wins of anyone on our staff.”
Severns retired in 2005 after an unsuccessful run for directing business representative.
During his 18 years on staff, Severns served as a trustee on the union-sponsored Western Metal Industry Pension Plan and the IAM Northwest Welfare Fund. He was appointed by General Vice President Justin Ostro to be the spokesperson for the Machinists at the West Coast Metal Trades Council.
Severns also served for many years as president of the Portland Metal Trades Council
Brian Douglas Severns was born June 8, 1949, in Camas, Washington. His family, which included two brothers, moved to Sweet Home, Oregon, where they grew up.
He earned a degree in political science from Portland State University in 1974.
In retirement, Severns and his wife Tonja lived in Boise, Idaho. He is survived by his wife.
At this time, no memorial services are scheduled.