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Union schedules “planned arrest” at Fight for 15 Strike

An email sent from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees asked for 25 people willing to be arrested as part of a “fight for $15” strike at McDonalds on Washington Avenue in Hartford on Tuesday, November 29.

The email, sent by retired state employee Win Heimer, states “This is a planned arrest – with a promise to appear in court for community service. Police will have your Social Security number and do a background check in advance in coordination with Fight for 15 strike planners.”

The strikes are planned at a McDonald’s on Prospect Avenue and a McDonald’s at Washington Avenue beginning at 6AM on the 29th and continuing through Thursday December 1.

Hartford police did not respond to a request for comment but a source inside law enforcement confirmed the practice of planned arrests does exist and makes processing the arrestees much easier for police.

The email also asks for members willing to do “walk backs” for strikers returning to work.

A walk back is “a further show of solidarity meant to protect employees from potential managerial reprisals” and demonstrate public support for the strikers, according to Labor Press, a labor union website and magazine based in New York.

The strikes are part of the “fight for $15” movement which seeks to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Connecticut legislators rejected legislation to raise the Connecticut minimum wage to $15 per hour during the last legislative session. They also rejected a last minute bid to increase the minimum wage to $12 per hour.

Connecticut’s minimum wage is set to rise to $10.10 per hour on the first of January 2017. The rate is one of the highest in the nation although states like California are looking to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2022.

The Connecticut Low Wage Employer Advisory Board was formed in 2014 to evaluate the effects of the minimum wage in Connecticut and what rate is “needed to ensure working state residents can achieve an economically stable living standard,” according to the board’s website.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour and states such as South Carolina use the federal rate as the state’s minimum wage. New Hampshire repealed the state minimum wage in 2011 and reverted back to the federal rate.

Win Heimer, who sent the email on behalf of AFSCME local 1471, is a retired Connecticut Health Department employee and vice president of the Connecticut Alliance for Retired Americans.

Heimer did not respond to a request for comment.

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