How about a 30-percent pay CUT for Chicago teachers?

Even for an opening demand/request/offer in labor negotiations, the 30-percent wage increase sought by the Chicago Teachers Union is a stunner.

Undoubtedly, the union argues that the huge hike is needed to compensate for the longer school day imposed on them by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Illinois Legislature. Nonetheless, when you combine the other standard requests for smaller class size (23), extra teaching positions in each school and so forth, you witness a totally boinked union leadership, blind to city, state and federal financial realities. Not to mention the financial realities of the taxpayers, many of whom are struggling.

In a communication with members, CTU President Karen Lewis already is prepping rank and file for a strike, urging them to make personal financial preparations for a walkout. Does Lewis really think that this is just another year, in which parents will not see the union's demands as utterly selfish and unrealistic?

Okay, so it is the first proposal on the table; as a former union officer I know how this process works. But 30 percent? What the hell, why not make it 50 percent.

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  • Dennis ~ As I retired teacher who believes in our profession, I believe this union needs to CUT 30% of its public image (AKA, its president)!!

  • I would be very embarrassed to be represented by Karen Lewis. It's not just her appearance, but her choice of words, attitude and lack of professionalism.

  • Jack, this is what I meant by tired. I notice you do not disagree with a 30% raise, just a cut in public image.

    This just shows what I said is true; it's an insular world for the CPS teachers. They all nod and agree that they "deserve" it, just as Obama "deserves" to have a second term.

    Everybody understands that you open high and settle, but this is an insult to the citizens of Chicago, and it is BS that it is just Karen Lewis voicing this. She would be gone if not for the support of the rank and file.

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    Chicago Tribune contributing op-ed columnist and author of forthcoming historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812." Reporter, editor and columnist for Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News. Freelance writer and editor.

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