Chicago Teachers Union’s Karen Lewis: ‘I am in the 5 percent’

Chicago Teachers Union’s Karen Lewis: ‘I am in the 5 percent’

Karen Lewis, whose six-figure salary comes from teachers’ union dues, expects rank-and-file teachers to forgo part of their salaries to participate in a one-day strike.

There’s a lot to criticize about Karen Lewis’ call for a Chicago Teachers Union, or CTU, strike on April 1.

For starters, Lewis and the CTU will shut out more than 350,000 kids from their schools, creating havoc for thousands of families.

Second, she’s creating even more chaos within a school district that’s quickly nearing bankruptcy.

Third, she’s showing how unreasonable and militant the CTU is by striking against Chicago families for two labor contracts in a row – first in 2012, and now again just four years later.

But that’s not all. Lewis is forcing Chicago teachers to give up a day of pay. Meanwhile, Lewis’ compensation and assets put her “in the [top] 5 percent,” according to her own words.

According to media reports, Lewis and her husband, a retired teacher, own a Hawaiian condo, which they bought several years ago for $240,000, in addition to their home in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood, purchased in 2007 for $405,000. She and her sister share ownership of a vacation property in Union Pier, Mich., priced at $305,000.

When asked about her six-figure salary Karen Lewis said, “I’m not going to apologize for it.”

It’s extraordinary that Karen Lewis, whose pay comes from teachers’ union dues, expects rank-and-file teachers to forgo part of their salaries for participating in the strike.

And teachers can expect to lose even more if the union continues to oppose the spending and pension reforms desperately needed to avoid a CPS bankruptcy. The last strike, which took place even though CPS already faced massive operating deficits and an $8 billion pension shortfall, pushed CPS even further to the brink of insolvency.

Higher salaries and pension costs as a result of the 2012 strike contributed to the eventual closing of 50 schools and more than 4,000 pink slips for teachers and school staff.

This time around, the losses for teachers will be even higher.

Lewis, with her six-figure salary, has no business asking teachers to forgo a day’s pay – especially given that the CTU’s demands would inevitably lead to more school closures and layoffs.

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