As many of you know, IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. is retiring on Jan. 1, 2024.
After more than 43 years of membership and eight years leading our great union, Bob’s legacy guiding the IAM will forever be remembered across the labor movement.
Bob’s leadership allowed the IAM to emerge from the pandemic with financial stability and historic membership growth through robust and innovative organizing, while putting the IAM in its strongest financial position in generations. Most of all, Bob has dedicated his life to this union and its membership.
We wanted to give everyone the chance to say “thank you, Bob.”
Bob has also been a true trailblazer for our union. He’s the first Latino international president of a major American labor union in the history of the American labor movement, the first Latino elected to the IAM Executive Council, and the first international president of color in the history of the IAM.
Through Bob’s leadership, the IAM has grown into new industries, including healthcare professionals, gig workers, tech workers, veterinary technicians, museum workers, architectural workers and more. Using new organizing tactics and strategies, the IAM was the leading AFL-CIO affiliate in National Labor Relations Board union election victories from 2018 through 2022.
At Bob’s direction, the IAM also created groundbreaking membership programs that assist members and their families, as well as expanded opportunities for underrepresented groups to advance in the IAM. Martinez commissioned a new department to provide IAM members and their families who are military veterans with VA claims assistance free of charge, as well as an addiction services program and a women’s leadership initiative.
Bob has long been a leading voice for domestic manufacturing, especially for defense production. He has led the charge to increase “Buy American” standards. He made history by initiating a rank-and-file membership vote for the IAM’s endorsement for U.S. president in 2020, and again this year.
And as chair of the 39th and 40th IAM Grand Lodge Conventions, Bob presided over delegate action to pass a Membership Bill of Rights, greatly expand resources for organizing, increase strike benefits, implement electronic meetings, and launch a Committee on the Future to listen to our members and chart the IAM’s next chapter.
We’re so proud of Bob, and excited for the IAM’s next chapter under the leadership of our next International President, Brian Bryant.