April 16, 2012

Eadie Gerber Shanker: 'Not for Ourselves Alone' Award

Source:  RA 2012

Eadie Gerber Shanker
Nominated by the United Federation of Teachers

Eadie Shanker's commitment to unionism began in the late 1950s as an English teacher at JHS 126 in Queens, where she was active in the Teachers Guild. Eadie met her husband, Albert Shanker, when she attended one of his speeches. Raising their children, Eadie worked for the union at home, assisting her husband in building the teachers union, including serving as a delegate at the meeting that helped create the United Federation of Teachers. "There wasn't money to hire additional staff at that time," Eadie explained, so she did the work herself.

Eadie Shanker has also been a member of the UFT and PSC.

"I've always worked on some level in education, which gives me tremendous pride and pleasure," said Eadie.

Later, Eadie was employed by Teamsters Local 237 where, working with city agencies, she directed a basic literacy and GED program for union members and developed a program for Teamsters retirees. She became a PSC member in 1985 and was the director of CUNY's collaborative high school and college student mentoring in the pre-college institute program.

Social justice is important to Eadie, who collaborated to develop the curriculum for the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry and its relation to their struggle to emigrate to Israel. Union Square Park holds a special place in Eadie's heart. She has waged several successful campaigns to prevent privatization of its pavilion and to retain maximum playground space for the benefit of the city's youngest citizens.