IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. Announces Retirement After Historic Career, as General Vice President Brian Bryant Named Successor

After nearly eight years leading the union, two decades on the Executive Council and more than 43 years of membership, IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. has announced that he will retire, effective Jan. 1, 2024. IAM Resident General Vice President Brian Bryant will succeed Martinez as the IAM’s next international president.

Martinez’s historic tenure as the IAM’s 14th International President includes forging through some of the most challenging moments in the history of the IAM and the labor movement. He is 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.

His 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.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Martinez and the IAM led the way to win unprecedented relief for airline, aerospace, defense, railroad and other workers. The quick action, including the airline Payroll Support Program (PSP) and the Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Program, saved hundreds of thousands of jobs and protected the livelihoods of countless families and communities.

Martinez helped the IAM grow into new industries, including healthcare professionals, gig workers, tech workers, veterinary technicians, museum workers, architectural workers and more. Martinez’s creation of an IAM Healthcare Department has allowed the IAM to emerge as a leader in organizing this critical sector. 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 Martinez’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 known as the Leadership Excellence Assembly of Dedicated Sisters, or IAM LEADS.

“As I reflect on my incredible journey as the International President of the IAM, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the privilege and honor to serve our dedicated members across North America,” said Martinez. “The time has come to pass the torch to the next generation of leaders. It has been an honor to stand alongside our skilled and hardworking members and fight for their rights, livelihoods, and a better future for themselves and their families. As I bid farewell to this amazing chapter of my life, I feel proud of our collective work to grow our union and strengthen its foundation built on the spirit of solidarity and justice. My dedication remains steadfast, and I eagerly anticipate our great union’s continued growth and prosperity.”

TCU President Artie Maratea said, “Bob Martinez is a fearless leader who has led our International Union through some very tough challenges.  And because of his leadership we came through every challenge stronger, better and more United.  TCU/IAM appreciates his unwavering support and we wish him the very best in retirement.”
“TCU/IAM congratulates International President Elect, Bryan Bryant.   Brother Bryant is a proven labor leader who I know will continue to lead and grow our great union.  TCU/IAM looks forward to working with Brother Bryant and supporting him”.
Click here to read the statement from the IAM.