W. Vernie Reed, 64, general secretary-treasurer of the Laborers' International Union of North America, died of cancer Friday at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

Active for many years in the trade union movement on the West Coast, he was assigned to the Washington headquarters of the Laborers' International Union in 1960 to direct its organizing department. He became vice president a year later and was elected general secretary-treasurer in 1965.

Mr. Reed was born in Tacoma, Wash. He started work as a hard-rock driller on the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington in 1934. He joined the Laborers' Local Union in Tacoma and became an official in 1941. Later, he was president of the Tacoma Building Trades cOuncil and president of the Western Washington Laborers' District Council. He started work with the International Union in Seattle in 1958.

He is survived by his wife, Norma, of the home in Silver Spring; two sons, Vernon and Louis, both of Tacoma; two daughters, Sharron Ritchie, of Silver Spring, and Pamela, of New York City; a sister, Norine Geistle, of Tacoma, two brothers, Ivan and Richard, and 10 grandchildren.

The family suggests that expresions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Pierce County Cancer Society in the state of Washington.