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Trader Joe’s Rehires UWS Employee Fired for Raising COVID-19 Safety Concerns

Plus, the Bronx Night Market is returning April 3 — and more intel

Trader Joe’s at 670 Columbus Ave. Trader Joe’s [Official Photo]
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

Trader Joe’s reinstates NYC employee after highly publicized firing

Ben Bonnema, the NYC Trader Joe’s employee who was fired last week after raising concerns with the grocer’s CEO over workplace COVID-19 safety protocols, is headed back to work on Monday. Trader Joe’s offered to reinstate Bonnema to his former position at its Upper West Side location on Wednesday night, the Daily Beast reports.

Bonnema was first fired from Trader Joe’s on February 26 after sending a letter to company CEO Dan Bane outlining steps that the company should take to upgrade store safety during the pandemic, according to several tweets that Bonnema posted following the incident. The firing attracted national media attention, and public figures, including the former head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, called for Bonnema to be reinstated.

“It’s been a stressful week since then, but it makes sense that they offered to reinstate because it was a completely unlawful termination,” Bonnema told the Daily Beast. Bonnema’s lawyer noted that they’ll continue to take “all necessary legal action” to repair Bonnema’s reputation and protect Trader Joe’s employees from future retaliation for speaking out with workplace safety concerns.

In other news

— Bronx Night Market, the immensely popular outdoor food festival, is returning April 3. The event will take place every Saturday through November 13, but this year event organizers are requiring timed-entry reservations to allow for social distancing due to the pandemic.

— The longtime Food Emporium grocery store outpost at Union Square may be closing for good. A WARN noticed filed with the state’s labor department indicates the store’s lease is set to expire.

— The Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side delivered a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio requesting that he step in to help save dim sum institution Jing Fong, which is set to close its Chinatown dining room permanently this weekend.

— The Down Town Association, the oldest social club in downtown Manhattan, has filed for bankruptcy, according to Bloomberg.

— A new location of Upside Pizza opens its doors in Little Italy.

— Le Bernardin chef Eric Ripert and his wife are selling their 2,311-square-foot Upper East Side home for $3.49 million.

— Happy Friday: