Policy: Labor

Big Labor sells its only college — to a church

By |
Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Labor

After a year on the market, the AFL-CIO has finally sold its National Labor College campus in Silver Spring, Md., another sign that the nation's once enormous labor movement has fallen on hard times.

The sprawling 46-acre facility adjacent to the Capital Beltway will be taken over by a church and a Montgomery County housing commission.

The National Labor College was established in 1969 by AFL-CIO icon George Meany to teach labor organizing tactics to new generations of activists. Some 200,000 union leaders passed through the campus.

But a lack of interest and money to operate the expensive venture killed the college, and officials last May told Secrets they were planning to sell it. Late Tuesday, the college revealed that it has signed a letter of intent to sell the facility to a partnership composed of Reid Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County.

"The Board of Trustees of NLC is offering the property for sale because of the changing needs of its students," said NLC President Paula Peinovich. The school is shifting to an online model. She added that "We are not releasing the price at this time. It is not a trade or a gift."

NLC faculty, administration, and staff will move to a new location in downtown Silver Spring this fall. NLC has approximately 50 full-time employees and 750 students.

Reid Temple has campuses in Glenn Dale and Silver Spring, Md. The Housing Opportunities Commission provides funding for affordable housing.

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