Starbucks shuts 8,000 United States stores to train staff after ‘racist’ incident

01 June, 2018, 15:58 | Author: Martin Tyler
  • Starbucks Closing Today For Anti-Bias Training

Getty The sign for a Starbucks Coffee shop is seen in Washington, DC, April 17, 2018, following the company's announcement that they will close more than 8,000 U.S. stores on May 29 to conduct "racial-bias education" following the arrest of two black men in one of its cafes.

The decision to close the stores followed a heavily publicized incident April 12 in which a manager of a Philadelphia Starbucks called police about two black men who were "trespassing" because they were waiting for a friend in the business before ordering anything.

Starbucks announced the training on April 17 as it battled to contain outrage over the arrest of Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, apologising and adopting an open bathroom policy to non-paying customers. There were nationwide protests and boycotts, and the city of Philadelphia also ended up settling with the men-the two got a symbolic $1 each, plus a promise of a $200,000 education program for young entrepreneurs. Our ceo, Kevin Johnson, met with the two men to express our deepest apologies, reconcile and commit to ongoing actions to reaffirm our guiding principles. Starbucks cafes located within other businesses, such as airports, bookstores, grocery stores and department stores, remained open, but employees there had access to the racial-bias training materials, according to the company.

CBS News spoke with Starbucks' Executive Chairman Howard Schultz on Tuesday morning.

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For the training, Starbucks commissioned a short film by award-winning documentarian Stanley Nelson about race in America. And, you know, it's part of a very, very long story about African-Americans and public accommodations and how we are treated in public spaces.

The 20-year-old Pawtucket resident said he agreed with the reason behind Starbucks' closing, though. Almost 1.75 lakh employees participated in the "learning session".

For the sessions, many Starbucks stores will shut down in the afternoon and stay closed for several hours. "That is not who we aspire to be", a voiceover says as the footage is played.

Turning away customers looking for an afternoon jolt of caffeine, Starbucks shops across the US have begun closing up early to hold training for employees on recognizing hidden prejudices.

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Overall many customers think the training is a step in the right direction.

"I support what they're doing", he said.

Workers will also pair off and discuss the question, "What makes me, me?"

Caffeine lovers found themselves stumped when discovering that the stores were closed for up to four hours. "After May 29, we will make the curriculum available to the public and share it with the regions as well as our licensed and business partners".

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