In the latest sign of the fast-shrinking Big Labor movement, the National Labor College established in 1969 by AFL-CIO icon George Meany to teach new labor organizing tactics and management to new generations of activists is selling its sprawling Silver Spring, Md. campus.Tellingly, no other campus in the DC area is planning to close.
The reason: they just can't afford to keep the facilities housing the academic arm of the labor movement open anymore. "The cost to operate and maintain a large campus in such an expensive metropolitan area is exorbitant," said the college. No other college in the Washington area has closed or is planning to close because of costs.
Instead of teaching students at the facility just off New Hampshire Avenue at the Capital Beltway, online courses will be offered. Once the 47-acre facility is rezoned and sold, student housing will disappear. Instead, new students will get to live in union halls. Some 200,000 union leaders have passed through the college which offers undergraduate degrees at community college prices.
In a symbolic blow to the labor movement, the school said it was giving up management of the George Meany Memorial Archives & Library. It will be up to the AFL-CIO to figure out what to do with it, said the school. And the National Workers Memorial, on the Silver Spring campus, will have to be moved.
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