This article originally appeared on watchdog.org.
Life at the top has its perks.
Just ask Eric Feaver, the head of the MEA-MFT, Montana‚??s largest labor union.
Feaver, a formidable political force, stands with the little guy in the class struggle, at least in word.
His pocketbook, though, reveals a deeper secret: He‚??s closer to the rich elites the left so often decries than anyone might guess.
In fact, according to the union‚??s 2013 federal filing, Feaver earns enough annually to rank among¬†top 10 percent of¬†Montana‚??s wage earners.
The filings, required annually by the U.S. Department of Labor, show some uncomfortable truths for union bosses, including some rather high wages.
Feaver raked in $125,995 in total compensation in 2013, according to his union‚??s filing.
He wasn‚??t he highest-paid¬†unionista¬†in the state, though. That‚??s Norman Dixon, the business manager of a local electrical workers union. He brought in nearly $130,000 in 2013.
Feaver‚??s high pay¬†is more notable, given his outspoken political advocacy for class warfare, along with a questionable record of achievement while serving as union president.
Consider¬†his crafting of a 2003 law that blew a $2.4 billion hole¬†in Montana‚??s two largest pension systems, a mess state lawmakers had to clean up with serious reforms last year. Or,¬†Feaver‚??s ardent defense of U.S.¬†Sen. John Walsh¬†after the New York Times revealed him as a plagiarist.
More troubling could be¬†Feaver‚??s endorsement of U.S. Senate candidate Amanda Curtis, who Montana Democrats tapped to run for the post after Walsh decided to pull out of the race last month. Shortly after Democrats gave Curtis the nod to take on Republican Rep. Steve Daines,¬†media¬†outlets revealed Curtis as an extremist with ties to a union group¬†intent on overthrowing¬†America‚??s capitalist system.
He isn‚??t the only union boss raking in the cash on the backs of the MEA-MFT‚??s 17,500 dues-paying members. Eric Burke, the group‚??s executive director, made $116,651 last year. MEA-MFT‚??s political director, Terry Minnow, pocketed $114,522 in 2013.
Collectively, 22 union staffers earned more than $2.4 million last year, or about $109,000 per person.
Put the numbers in context: At $125,000 annually, Feaver is among the top 8 percent of Montana‚??s wage earners,¬†according to New York Times‚?? research. Earning the collective average of $109,000 annually puts the other union bosses in the top 11 percent of wage earners.
The¬†average Montana teacher brings home just more than $47,000 a year, putting her just in the top half of the state‚??s earners. A starting teacher brings homes $26,000, good enough for the bottom 29 percent.
The numbers unsettle at least one Montana voice. Greg Strandberg, a Democrat who ran for the Montana House of Representatives this year, took to social media and his blog to eviscerate Feaver.
Strandberg¬†suggested¬†the high pay is a political liability for Democrats and creates animosity among members of the MEA-MFT.
Feaver¬†returned neither an email nor a tweet seeking¬†comment.