Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Some Good News


Union elects first black president

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        For the first time in the 86 years history of Local 627 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, an African-American has been elected president.

        Mitch Hampton who has been a member of the union 36 years, defeated Mark Bennett by four votes in a runoff election.

        “I think this is a good accomplishment, not only for me, but for the city of Cincinnati since we are in the throes of racial tension and stress,” said Mr. Hampton, of Finneytown. “Mr. Bennett obviously received a lot of black votes for the election to be that close. He is a good man. I think my experience, rather than my race, was the deciding factor.”

        Mr. Hampton was a union steward for 17 years. He served as vice president of the union nine months in 1986 after being appointed to the position.

        He was elected vice president in 1997 and served three years.

        “I think Mitch definitely deserves this position because his experience shows that he has paid his dues,” said Sharon Anderson, financial secretary and treasurer of the union. She is also the first African -American woman to hold that position.

        “The most significant thing about Mitch's election is that with his background, he is a person that will be a representative of all members, not just blacks. He came up through the ranks and his experience is working with all races,” Ms Anderson said.

        Mr. Hampton worked as a supervisor and dispatcher for Greyhound Bus Lines for seven years and was a driver for Trailway Bus Lines three years before coming to Queen City Metro as a coach operator.

        He is married to Winona Hampton and they are the parents of four children.

        “I think being head of this union is a great responsibility, "' Mr. Hampton said. “I have to work with all levels, from the president of the transit company to a dues-paying member of the union.”

        The union local represents 1,500 members.

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        The Ohio Valley Goodwill's Homeless Veterans Re-integration Project of Northern Kentucky has received a $274,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

        The grant is to serve homeless veterans in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties in Northern Kentucky, assisting them in obtaining housing and employment.

        Charles Blythe, program director, said the project also tries to prepare those enrolled in the program with basic computer skills.

        Goodwill also got a $250,000 grant from the Department of Labor to assist homeless veterans with housing needs and case management throughout the city of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

        The Homeless Veterans Reintegration Project was started 10 years ago.

        Since its beginning, 1,750 veterans have been enrolled in the program. More than 1,400 have been helped with housing needs and 1,200 place on jobs.

        For more information about the program, call 771-4800.

       

        Allen Howard's “Some Good News” column runs Sunday-Friday. If you have suggestions about outstanding achievements, or people who are uplifting to the Tristate, let him know at 768-8362, at ahoward@enquirer.com or by fax at 768-8340.

       

       



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