Next Steps for National Labor College

Dear NLC Community,

Yesterday the Board of Trustees approved the final plan to close National Labor College. The Board of Trustees received so many wonderful letters of concern and support for the College from many of you, along with many hopes and dreams that there might be another outcome.

Let me assure you that the Board considered carefully all the your concerns, and it was with heavy hearts and great emotion that they took the action that they did based on some hard facts about the financial instability of the College having nothing to do with the high quality of our institution and the academic integrity with which we conduct all of our outstanding programs. The closure plan includes the following three points:

  • We will offer a spring semester from January 6 to April 18, 2014 with a full range of courses. There is still time to register and our academic advisors are working overtime to help students write degree plans. There are almost 260 students already registered for the spring semester, and we have a full array of courses available for you.
  • We will begin to explore the option of an 18 month teach-out whereby students could take courses at other institutions and transfer them back to NLC. Shortly, I will be forming an advisory committee of students, alums and faculty for guidance in the planning process. Any formal arrangements will be approved through the institutional governance process which begins with the faculty and ultimately is put before the Board of Trustees.
  • We will hold a Commencement and Closing Convocation Ceremony on April 26, 2014, most likely in Silver Spring, MD. Many details of this remain to be determined, and I will seek guidance from the advisory committee I will form on this as well.

We will announce more details as they become available. Once again, National Labor College is proud of our students, our work, and our many successes.

Sincerely,

Paula E. Peinovich, Ph.D.
President

Information about National Labor College Closure

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As promised during Thursday’s conference call with President Paula Peinovich and Provost Dan Katz, we have prepared the following information in response to the many questions you sent via email, social media, our blog, and by phone. The following is what we know now and we hope to be able to provide by mid-December more specific information to students, faculty and staff detailing how the closure will proceed.

NLC is closing in an orderly manner. Pursuant to the Board of Trustees’ direction, over the coming months, NLC will be shutting down a little bit at a time. NLC officers are writing a plan on how to close down the College in an orderly way. We do not have an exact timeline of these events, but we will share it when we do.

Our main focus is on the students. We want students who are close to graduation to be able to finish their degree at National Labor College. To that end, our Provost and academic advisors are recommending course substitutions and finding other ways to make sure you can complete your degree at NLC, especially if you just have a handful of classes remaining. Please contact your academic advisor as soon as possible to discuss your individual educational plan. And remember to do your current classwork so you continue to earn credit for your hard work.

This process takes time. Since each student is in a unique situation, we need to determine which students need which courses to be able to complete their degrees. We want the process to be as easy, seamless and stress-free as possible but realize it may be a bit bumpy.

Why is NLC closing? NLC’s Board of Trustees reluctantly decided to accept the inevitability of closure due to the College’s ongoing financial difficulties. The financial difficulties stem largely from the heavy debt burden taken on when the Kirkland Conference Center was built in 2006.

Why can’t we just raise more money? We can try to raise more money, and we have been trying. The three main funding mechanisms of any college are: tuition, grants, and fundraising.

Tuition revenue. At NLC, our student tuition is intentionally set a reasonable level – the 40th percentile of in-state tuition for state schools. And although our student body has been growing, the tuition revenue alone will not be able to make a dent in the debt burden of the property. The tuition revenue covers the costs of operating the academic program.

Grants. NLC has received a good share of grants, both federal and state, but once again, while these grants assist in the day-to-day operating costs of the College, they don’t address the debt burden.

Fundraising. The third mechanism is fundraising and President Peinovich has been a tireless advocate for NLC. She personally raised over $5 million from international and local unions, labor-oriented organizations, businesses and wealthy individuals. Under her auspices, NLC held our first ever “Galas” and instituted the “Leadership Circle” which both raised NLC’s profile and gathered funds for the College. NLC also conducted a fundraising drive last year among alumni that garnered $4,000.

Campus Property Sale. As a final effort, NLC has been trying to sell our major asset, the campus property, since the College doesn’t need dormitories and classrooms anymore. While we thought we would be able to get out from under the debt burden over the summer with the sale of our property to Reid Temple and the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission, that deal fell through. The property is still for sale but we have no idea when it will be sold. Many commercial land developers are not ready to purchase the property at the present time because of a pending zoning issue in the county.

NLC is open for current students and federal financial aid is available in spring 2014. Please register now for for the upcoming semester (January – May 2014) so NLC gets a sense of what students need. Payment can be made at a later date. Make sure to apply for financial aid by our priority deadline of December 2, 2013. NLC is no longer accepting applications. We are not admitting any new students in any program.

The value of an NLC degree. No matter how or when NLC closes, NLC degrees will retain their full value since NLC is regionally accredited through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104; (267) 284-5000. For more information about how accreditation works and what it means, go to www.msche.org.

Access to academic transcripts. NLC will work with the State of Maryland and possibly another institution to ensure students and alumni will have access to their transcripts in perpetuity. As soon as we have the details worked out, we will share them with you.

Access to senior papers or projects. Please contact the Office of the Provost (301-628-5603) if you have questions about your senior project or paper.

National Labor College faculty and employees. NLC is meeting with the bargaining unit representatives for all the unions on campus to determine what will happen to employees. The unions include The Newspaper Guild/CWA; OPEIU Local 2; SEIU; IUOE; and AFT.

National Labor College’s Silver Spring campus. NLC’s 47-acre property is currently for sale. There are a number of offers for the property, and the realtor will continue to work with the bidders to sell the property.

The National Workers Memorial. The National Workers Memorial will be relocated to an appropriate location.

George Meany Memorial Archives. The George Meany Memorial Archives were donated to the University of Maryland in October 2013. For more information please visit the archive’s page on the University of Maryland website.

NLC’s Board of Trustees. On the call someone asked for the contact information of our Board members. Their names and positions are all available here on our website.

NLC Campus Art & Artifacts. Many graduating classes, unions and individuals have donated beautiful pieces of art and other special mementos to the College. We are in the process of cataloguing which artwork belongs to NLC, which belong to the AFL-CIO and which belongs to others. We will next determine a plan for the distribution of any appropriate pieces.

Graduation 2014. At this point, we are uncertain whether NLC will be holding Commencement Exercises in person. Typically, we hold a ceremony on the fourth Saturday of June, so that would be Saturday, June 28, 2014.

An Important Message for the NLC Community

Dear NLC Community,

I am deeply saddened to report that the Board of Trustees has directed me and the College’s officers to develop a plan to close the College.

As you know, the College has been facing significant financial difficulties and the Board reluctantly decided to accept the inevitability of our closure. We do not have a specific date for closure yet but will provide information as soon as we can detailing how the shutdown will proceed. This process will likely take many months.

Please be assured that in all of our proposals, we are keeping the best interests of our students in our hearts and minds. We are developing a concrete timeline with multiple options for current students to complete their degrees in an affordable and accessible way. National Labor College is proud of our students, our work, and our many successes.

Once again, as soon as we have specific information about the closure, we will share it with you and on our website at NLC.edu.

Sincerely,

Paula E. Peinovich, Ph.D.
President

5 Financial Aid Tips from the NLC Admissions Team

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National Labor College’s Admissions Team is here with five helpful tips to move you through the financial aid process as quickly and easily as possible.

Our priority deadline for financial aid is less than a month away.  Don’t miss out on financial aid – apply to NLC today.

For detailed information, check out the financial aid page at the NLC website, or call us at 888-427-8100.

1. Apply for admissions, financial aid & scholarships early

  • Apply for admission to NLC by December 2.
  • Complete the FAFSA by December 2. Refer to the financial aid page at the NLC website for additional requirements.
  • Applying by the December 2 Priority Deadline allows NLC sufficient time, in most cases, to evaluate your financial aid eligibility prior to the start of the Spring 2014 semester.
  • December 2 is also the deadline to apply for the dozens of scholarships NLC offers to its students.

2. Register early

  • Remember: the earlier you apply to NLC – the earlier you can be registered for the right classes and on your way to earning your degree!

3. Be organized

  • Keep track of important deadlines – like NLC’s December 2 Priority Application and Scholarship Deadline.
  • Be sure to save copies of forms you submit for your own records.

4. Ask questions

  • We are here to help!
  • If you are unsure how to respond to any requested information, feel free to call and ask.

5. Apply for financial aid every year

  • If you’re already receiving financial aid, don’t forget to reapply every year to continue to receive it.
  • If you didn’t qualify one year, apply again! Changes in your financial or family situation, your course load, or other circumstances may qualify you the next time you apply.

A Tale of Two Unions: Workers at Volkswagen, T-Mobile Workers Tap into Global Labor Movement

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By Diane F. Frey, PhD
Assistant Professor of Labor Studies and Director of the Labor Studies BA Degree Program

Volkwagen Assembly Plant Employee & T-Mobile Workers

Sometimes even I can’t help but wonder, who cares or has time to worry about labor struggles in other parts of the world when working families here in the U.S. are so busy trying to get by?  But how workers organize across the globe really does matter for the U.S. labor movement.

Case in point:  two union organizing drives currently in the news are taking place in corporations owned by German parent companies – companies with strong unions and worker representation.  Meanwhile here in the U.S., workers at companies like T-Mobile and Volkswagen are seeking to form a union and are reaching out to their German counterparts and German “work councils” for assistance in their campaigns. Continue reading

NLC’s Dr. Diane Frey Interviewed in Motley Fool on Millennials & Union Membership

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The Motley Fool recently discovered that buried within a June 2013 Pew report was an interesting nugget of information about Millennials and unions: 61% of young adults support unions.

millennials-frey

For more insight on millennials and unions, the Fool interviewed Dr. Diane Frey, Assistant Professor of Labor Studies at National Labor College and Director of the Labor Studies BA Degree Program.

[Frey] says the primary reason for Millennials’ low union participation rate isn’t that young people are making the active choice to avoid signing up. Instead, she insisted, most simply do not have the option.

As the American economy has become largely post-industrial, fewer private sector jobs are unionized. ‟Some of the really decent professions that have in the past been good entry ways for new generations of workers, such as public sector teaching, are being dismantled with new disposable models where younger workers are basically sweated in programs like Teach-for-America that are not meant to be sustainable as careers,” she says.

Rates of union membership are significantly higher in the public sector than in the private firms (35% vs. 6%, respectively).

NLC Staffers are #StandingStrong with UFCW Local 400 Grocery Workers

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NNLC Staffers are #StandingStrong with UFCW Local 400 Grocery Workersational Labor College staffers are #StandingStrong with UFCW Local 400 Safeway & Giant employees as the clock ticks toward Thursday’s midnight expiration of their contract.

“UFCW Local 400 workers at Safeway and Giant are fighting for their wages and health care benefits – and to keep good jobs in the D.C. Metro area,” said Jean Dearden, Director of the Bonnie Ladin Union Skills Program at the National Labor College.

RoRoHashtag-231x300Staffers, including members of TNG-CWA Local 32035 and OPEIU Local 2, met with the manager of Safeway #870 in Silver Spring on Wednesday to drop off cards of solidarity and express support for the Safeway and Giant workers.

The solidarity event was just one of dozens of actions happening in local grocery stores across the area.

For the latest news on the negotiations, visit www.ufcw400.org or follow @UFCW400 on Twitter.

Bricklayers Star in National Building Museum Show

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This is a cross-post from the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO.

“Ask a mason what he wants to build and he’ll say ‘An arch,’” says Bricklayers Local 1’s Matthew Redabaugh in the video that accompanies the “Palaces for the People: Guastavino and America’s Great Public Spaces” show currently at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

The show – sponsored in part by the International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers – explores the accomplishments and the architectural legacy of the Guastavinos, a family of first-generation Spanish immigrants, who helped build many great American public spaces between 1881 and 1962, and revolutionized American architectural design and construction.

Click here to find out more about the show and the Building Museum, and listen to Susan Stamberg’s story on NPR.

Affected by the Government Shutdown? NLC Offers Application Waiver

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Rally sign: "We are people NOT bargaining chips"

Image courtesy AFL-CIO Blog

On Friday, hundreds of thousands of federal workers received their paychecks – and for many of them, those paychecks were less than half of what they should have been.  

The federal government shutdown has directly impacted families across the country, forcing working families to have to cut back and do without. (Check out the AFL-CIO NOW blog post: “5 Shutdown Stories You Must Read.”)

We don’t think it’s fair that working families should have to put off important decisions just because of partisan gridlock.  That’s why National Labor College will waive the application fee (normally $83) through November 1 for any workers directly affected by the shutdown.

It’s not too late to apply for the upcoming semester starting in January.   Don’t let the government shutdown put off your dream of earning your college degree.  Click here to request your application fee waiver and save $83.

Happy Labor Day and NLC Highlights by Dr. Paula Peinovich, President

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President Paula Peinovich

President Paula Peinovich

Greetings! In honor of Labor Day and the traditional start of the academic year, I am writing to share highlights from the past year and our goals for the upcoming year.

Since February, NLC community members have engaged in an ambitious planning process designed to chart the next phase of the College’s development. In characteristic NLC style, the conversations about our future have been spirited and inclusive. These ideas have been distilled into our strategic plan for 2013-2016.

We continued to make progress on a number of existing priorities, including:

The introduction of the Associate of Arts degree program which had its official launch on July 1, 2013, with Professor Candace Archer as the first director. The AA degree program will provide students with the foundation to succeed in NLC’s bachelor degree programs or at any other 4-year college or university.

In response to demand from labor union members, we created a certificate in arbitration and grievance handling.

We had an outstanding year for faculty hiring, including the successful recruitment of three leading academics:

  • Dr. Deborah Robinson, Director, Emergency Readiness and Response Management Program
  • Dr. Candace Archer, Director, Associate of Arts Degree Program
  • Dr. Diane Frey, Director, Labor Studies Program

Major administrative recruitments include Kia Kuresman, Academic Advising; Lucas Sifuentes, Enrollment Management; D Denny, Financial Aid; Jacinta Kelly, Finance; and Jeff Bria, Registrar.

Several faculty members took on new leadership roles at the College: Dr. Dan Katz was appointed Provost; and Julie Mendez-de Leon was named Assistant Dean for Special Academic Programs.

We also had some changes to our dedicated Board of Trustees. The terms of several members of our Board of Trustees ended and we give the following individuals our heartfelt appreciation.

  • Gerald McEntee, AFSCME
  • John Gage, AFGE
  • Leo Gerard, USW
  • Edwin Hill, IBEW

We also welcomed several new members:

  • David Durkee, BCTGM
  • Matthew D. Loeb, IATSE
  • Fred Redmond, USW
  • Jack Marco, The Marco Consulting Company
  • Carrie Biggs-Adams, Student Representative

The College is continuing the process of moving its offices to downtown Silver Spring. We are finalizing the lease, with the intention of moving in December or January.

NLC has also signed on with real estate broker CBRE to undertake a new marketing campaign to sell the campus property. Since relisting, 34 different entities have signed non-disclosure agreements with us which allow them to review documents and materials pertaining to the property. We have already given tours of the property to many of these entities and have more tours scheduled.

National Labor College continues to build our student body. Enrollment in our degree programs is up more than 65% in the past two years with students from almost every union. This year’s graduating class of 83 represented 23 unions. Our students work in a variety of fields and plan to use their degrees to advance in their current jobs, go into new professions, or continue with higher education at institutions such as Concordia University, Catholic University, and University of Maryland – Baltimore County.

We are able to fulfill our mission making higher education available to workers, to prepare union members, leaders and staff for the challenges of a changing global environment; and to serve as a center for progressive thought and learning largely because of the generosity of our supporters. Preliminary reports indicate that fundraising efforts were strong last year. It was particularly gratifying to receive a gift of $3 million from American Income Life.

Once again, many thanks for a memorable year marked by notable achievements. National Labor College is a remarkable institution, with students, faculty, staff, and alumni distinguished by their intellectual curiosity, dedication to the mission, and desire to build the labor movement one student at a time. I have been honored to meet so many members of the community this year, and I look forward to many, many more such opportunities.

Sincerely,

Paula E. Peinovich

President

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