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NYC Sues Starbucks for Allegedly Firing a Queens Worker in Union Retaliation

Plus, storied nightlife venue Knitting Factory is headed to the East Village — and more intel

 A Starbucks logo is seen in Times Square on September 3, 2022 in New York City.
The city sued Starbucks over alleged wrongful termination of a worker at an Astoria shop.
Jenn Moreno/VIEWpress
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

As a cross-country wave of unionization takes hold at Starbucks, New York City’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection is suing the coffee giant over alleged wrongful termination of a barista at a store in Queens. The New York Post reports that barista Austin Locke was fired from an Astoria location of the chain on July 5, one month after the store’s workers voted to unionize.

The company claims that Locke was fired over not completing a COVID-19 questionnaire and for “falsely reporting that a supervisor ‘placed his hand’ on Locke’s chest to prevent him from entering a room,” the Post reports. But the DCWP alleges that Locke was retaliated against over unionizing activities. The city is suing to reinstate Locke’s job, with compensation for lost work including back pay, plus civil penalties over alleged violation of the city’s fair workweek law. “We do not comment on pending litigation,” Starbucks said in a statement to the Post. “However, we do intend to defend against the alleged violations of the New York City Just Cause Law.”

An upstate grocer partners with the team behind Wildair

Paracasa has opened in the Catskills with coffee, pastries, and shelves stocked with goods including meats, olive oils, and tinned fish that have been selected in partnership with chefs Jeremiah Stone and Fabián von Hauske Valtierra of downtown Manhattan hot spots Wildair and Contra.

Knitting Factory is headed back to where it all began

Gothamist reports that the storied nightlife venue — which closed its Brooklyn outpost earlier this summer — will be opening in a yet-to-be-disclosed spot in the East Village sometime in 2023, confirming EVGrieve’s original scoop last month. The relocation marks a return to Manhattan for the space, which was first founded in the borough in 1987.

What a Gowanus coffee shop says about the future of urban planning

The New York Times checks in with Principles GI Coffee House, a pay-what-you-wish coffee shop in Gowanus that is carving out space to succeed in the gentrified Brooklyn neighborhood.