Aaron Roberson, MBTA Mechanic & Frontline Hero

Meet Aaron Roberson, an MBTA bus mechanic in South Boston and member of the Machinists Union, Local 264. Aaron shares his story from the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis as part of the Greater Boston Labor Council's #FrontlineHeroes series. Our series profiles the work of union members and everyday heroes who are working on the frontlines during the global pandemic. Stories are updated weekly. To read about other Frontline Heroes, click here: https://gblc.us/tag/frontline-heroes.

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Aaron Roberson is a mechanic for the MBTA and for the past 18 years has worked fixing city buses at the Cabot facility in Southie. As an essential employee, Aaron and his fellow teammates, members of the Machinists Union Local 264, have worked every day during the Covid-19 crisis, donning masks and protective gear for safety and pushing back their own nagging fears and anxiety: "It feels like this pandemic is creeping closer and closer," said Aaron, "One of our own members tested positive recently. People are nervous but we are doing the best we can to keep the buses on the road."

Despite his fear, Aaron faces his challenge with a brave attitude: "We're here and on the frontlines and we're doing the best we can. Some of us on the frontlines don't always get recognized because we're not in the public eye, but there are lots of ways workers are helping people get through this crisis. We're here and we care and we're doing our best to keep the buses on the roads." Even though Aaron isn’t a steward for his union, he has stepped up his leadership just like other stewards at Local 264 like Eric Morganti, Jamie Joyce, Will Foley and Greg Roland.

Aaron has also noticed a shift in his coworkers and believes that this moment will make us stronger. "I admire the strength and solidarity that my union and coworkers are showing right now, especially at a time when everyone is nervous or afraid. When you go through something like this you realize you can get through a lot of things. People are going out of their way to help others and I hope that is something that they will carry with them. If we can help each other out of this, we can overcome a lot together.

Like all workers on the frontlines, Aaron worries about carrying the virus home and passing it to his 74 year old mother, who is part of the vulnerable population with respiratory problems. He does his best to take every precaution and stay safe but admits, "it's scary."

For his part, Aaron is grateful to be a member of a union. He says that the union has kept him informed, advocated for PPE and made sure safety is always first. "This is something none of us have experienced before. When we get through this, people are going to pay more attention to safety and being a team and sticking together. We're here and we're human. We have families and lives and need to make sure we keep each other safe."

The GBLC honors all the stewards at Machinists Union Local 264 for being on the frontlines everyday, just like Aaron and his fellow union members:

Joe Fallon
Ronnie Urhman 
Mike Haywood, 
Aaron Roberson 
Matt Dicecca 
Bill Irvin
Bill Hallsen
Chad Barrett 
Erik Nevers
Joe McCallion
Luke Kramer
Anthony Andrews 
Bill Hayden
Sean Tempesta
Ernie Cadogan
Bill Maider
Jeb Mastendrea