Starbucks Stores Begin to Shut for Worker Anti-Bias Training

Jun 01, 2018, 16:00
Starbucks Stores Begin to Shut for Worker Anti-Bias Training

Starbucks is following through on its promise to close more than 8,000 company-owned stores in the USA for racial bias and diversity training on Tuesday afternoon.

Chicago area Starbucks stores were among the more than 8,000 Starbucks locations around the country locking their doors Tuesday afternoon to train employees about racial bias.

A manager at the Philadelphia store had told police that Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, both 23-year-old businessmen, asked to use the bathroom and were sitting inside the store without purchasing anything. The half-day closure was announced after video of police arresting two black men in a Philadelphia Starbucks in April, caused outrage. "Because the Starbucks locations within Target stores are managed by Target and run by our team members, our staff will take part in Target's existing company-wide bias training programs", said a statement on Targets corporate website.

In an open letter to Starbucks customers released this morning, the coffee giants' executive chairman Howard Schultz called the training the beginning of a "new chapter in our history".

Starbucks signed a US$7 billion licensing deal with Nestle earlier this month that banks on the power of its brand in the United States to strengthen the Swiss company's leading position globally. "I think just stressing the fact that we need to be accountable to other people is all about how we treat each other", he said.

For the sessions, many Starbucks stores will shut down in the afternoon and stay closed for several hours. "After investigating what happened, we determined that insufficient support and training, a company policy that defined customers as paying patrons-versus anyone who enters a store-and bias led to the decision to call the police".

The training was developed with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Perception Institute and other social advocacy organizations, and included contributions by the rap music artist Common. Almost 1.75 lakh employees participated in the "learning session". They were waiting for a friend to show up, who did as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing.

"It doesn't make sense for me to have to be like 'Oh my gosh, this is how I'd treat Rebecca and this is how I should also treat Susan, ' but when it comes to how you treat me its totally different", Hornes said. "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".

"My thing is give us a chance", said Pugh.

About eight stores will stay open.