Kerri Capodilupo, MBTA Inspector & Frontline Hero

Meet Kerri Capodilupo, an MBTA Inspector and member of Local 600. Kerri is not only working on the frontlines, she also organized to get and distribute 500 facemasks to her fellow coworkes. She shares her story with us 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 other Frontline Hero stories, click here: https://gblc.us/tag/frontline-heroes.

Kerri Capodilupo has worked for the MBTA for 5 years and has been an inspector for just 6 months. As an MBTA inspector she says she works hard but doesn't expect thanks and that's ok. But when the covid-19 crisis started she began to worry about what she was seeing. With mask and PPE (personal protective equipment) shortages everywhere, MBTA workers were moving around the city unprotected and completely vulnerable to the virus.

"I was frustrated because we weren't getting the proper PPE and management wasn't doing a good job of relaying when we'd have it, only saying, 'we're working on it.'" So Kerri started working with her fellow union members in Local 600, including fellow inspector, Pat Cullen and Local 600 President Michael Fernandez to speed things up. It started with a post to her local Facebook community asking for help. She'd seen people making masks for hospital workers and thought, "if we weren't out there every day transporting people to the hospital and doctors or EMTs to work, if we couldn't do our job, then they couldn't be saving lives. We need to be protected too. It felt like we were totally being left out of the equation."

Her Facebook plea helped her get connected with the Boston Mask Initiative. And within a week, Kerri had 500 masks and, along with her fellow union members, began distributing them to inspectors throughout the system.

"I like to help people and I want to make sure my coworkers are safe. That's the main concern."

Kerri has two boys, two french bulldogs and lives together with her husband and younger son. She wants people to remember that "we still have families to go home to. We are people who worry about our family all day long. We are coming to work every single day putting our lives on the line to make sure we are caring for the public while making sure people are getting safely to where they need to go. But please keep us in mind when it comes to safety. If we ask you to back up, we're not trying to be rude, we're trying to make sure we're all safe."

We spoke with Kerri while she was in isolation after coming down with symptoms of the virus. She told her story adding, "every day we hear the birds chirping is another day we're here and able to help our families. We're all in this together. We will get through this together."