Leo Reed, former longtime secretary-treasurer of Hollywood’s Teamsters Local 399, died Sunday of natural causes at his home. He was 83.
Reed, a former pro football player, served as Local 399’s top officer for 24 years, and as the head of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ Motion Picture & Theatrical Trades Division for 20 years.
“It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share the passing of secretary-treasurer emeritus Leo T. Reed,” said Steve Dayan, who succeeded Reed in the local’s top post in 2013. “Leo left us yesterday afternoon, however his impact on Teamsters Local 399 and the lives of our rank-and-file members both past and present will live on forever.
“As the longest-serving principal officer of Teamsters Local 399, he grew our local from near bankruptcy to the gold standard it is today. He prioritized organizing and negotiating strong contracts that would serve as the foundation for the benefits, wages and working conditions we still build upon to this day. He was smart, stern and most importantly, focused on the betterment of his members. It’s what drove his passion at Local 399 every single day. Every decision he made and every action he took was to positively impact the lives of those he dedicated his time to represent.”
Born on January 3, 1939, in Reed grew up in Kahuku, Hawaii, he went on to play football for Colorado State and then the Houston Oilers and Denver Broncos of the American Football League before its merger with the NFL. He was a member of the Honolulu Police Department for five years before embarking on a career in the labor movement in 1973 as a supervisory business agent for the Hawaii Government Employees Association. Two years later he was hired as a business agent by Hawaii Teamsters Local 996.
In 1980, he moved to Hollywood and became a driver in Local 399 and soon became a business agent. In 1988 he was appointed by the executive board to the position of secretary-treasurer, and a year later was elected by the membership to the post.
“Leo was a leader, a mentor, a husband, a father, a family member and a friend to many,” Dayan said. “His life and legacy will live on in the hearts of those that knew and loved him, and it will be baked into the fabric of this organization for generations to come. We offer our deepest condolences to everyone struggling with this significant loss at this time. Our entire Local 399 family mourns alongside his beloved family near and far. Rest in power, Leo.”
Reed died on the same day that it was announced that leadership of the Teamsters’ Motion Picture & Theatrical Trades Division would be returning to Hollywood. That job had been held for the past eight years by Tom O’Donnell, president of New York’s Teamsters Local 817. As Deadline reported Sunday, IBT president-elect Sean O’Brien has named Lindsay Dougherty — Local 399’s recording secretary, business agent and organizer — to the position.
Survivors include his wife, Debbi; five children; 16 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
Must Read Stories
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.