A Really Obvious Symbol for the Decline of Organized Labor

National Labor College, the Silver Spring, Maryland college dedicated to educating union members, will sell its campus.

According to a piece at Inside Higher Ed:

The National Labor College, facing financial difficulties, has decided to sell its entire campus (located in the Washington suburbs), but officials insist that the institution has a viable future. The college — the academic arm of the labor movement — offers degree and certificate programs for leaders and future leaders of unions. Most programs are distance, but involve residencies, which have taken place on the campus. Paula Peinovich, the president, said in an interview that the decision was a “very hard” one. “The sale of the property is not something that the board of the college has chosen to do lightly,” she added. “But faced with financial issues, the board is going to focus on the college.” She said that the property will need to be rezoned to be sold to a developer, and that the process means that the college isn’t relocating immediately. Eventually, she said that the residency portions of the college’s programs would take place at union facilities or academic centers around the country.

NLC, like organized labor itself, has been struggling for years.

The AFL-CIO created NLC in 1969 in order to fortify union education and improve organizing skills. In 2010 the college tried to create an online division with Penn Foster Education Group, a for-profit online career school based in Scottsdale, Arizona owned by the Princeton Review.

Penn Foster apparently decided it wasn’t a viable partnership and left in November last year to “focus its investments and strategy on the company’s core operations.”

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer