Michelle Malkin
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis walks, talks and barks like a rootsy Occupy Wall Street activist. But this Big Labor loudmouth who's leading the abandonment of nearly 400,000 schoolchildren in the Windy City is just another power-grabbing union fat cat.

Instead of academic excellence, she rails about "social justice." Instead of accountability, she fumes about "profits" and curses merit pay. Lewis has marched with the Occu-clowns denouncing capitalism and promoting "socialism (as) the alternative." She raves: "Occupy Wall Street and the whole concept of the 99 percent is an extraordinarily important movement."

And she earned praise as a "fist-in-the-air, crowd-rousing, dynamic union leader" by former Communist Party revolutionary turned Obama-funded "school reformer" Michael Klonsky.

While she pays solidarity lip service to the 99 percent, Lewis is part of the deep-pocketed elite of public employee union chiefs who blame everyone else for their own financial and educational ruin. She's good at pandering to her Che Guevara T-shirt-wearing colleagues and trash-talking the political machine. But she (SET ITAL) is (END ITAL) the machine.

The Chicago Teachers Union rakes in nearly $30 million in forced dues from rank-and-file teachers every year. CTU is an affiliate of the behemoth AFL-CIO, which dropped an estimated $100 million in forced dues to support Democratic candidates and causes during the 2008 and 2010 election cycles.

Before Lewis took control of the CTU, the union was teetering on bankruptcy and owed millions of dollars in loans. The previous CTU president pulled down nearly $300,000 a year in base salary and compensation. Local union watchdogs reported that top CTU officers and staff with six-figure salaries and bonuses also received:

"... a monthly expense account for each administrator -- officers, coordinators and field representatives -- of $1,500; a car allowance of $7,000 per year (whether or not you have a car); 85 percent of car insurance and expenses paid; parking allowance; cellphone allowance; life insurance paid with union dues; and among other perks, a 53rd week of yearly pay for "working" over the Christmas holiday."

Lewis assumed the CTU presidency in June 2010. "Teachers union officials declined to provide information on Lewis' salary," The Chicago Tribune reports, but records show that she made more than $71,000 for half a year's work in 2010 -- along with compensation from the Illinois Federation of Teachers in 2011 totaling at least an additional $64,000 on top of her unknown base salary and benefits.


Michelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies" (Regnery 2010).

©Creators Syndicate