Published: Thu, April 19, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Starbucks to close all stores nationwide for racial-bias education

Starbucks to close all stores nationwide for racial-bias education

The company made the announcement this week via their official Twitter saying, "we'll close United States company-owned stores to conduct racial-bias training to address implicit bias & prevent discrimination". As a result, the company has been battling a growing boycott movement after footage of two black men being arrested at a Philly store went viral.

Schultz, the former CEO of the company, says that this training "will cost millions of dollars", but he considers this amount to be an investment, rather than an expense.

The company said in the Tuesday announcement that it will also provide training materials for non-company workers at the roughly 6,000 licensed Starbucks cafes that will remain open in locations such as grocery stores and airports. At one point, officers request "another unit along with a supervisor" for help dealing with a two men "causing a disturbance" at the coffee shop. The training will be given to over 175,000 cafe employees across the country and will also be a required course for new employees.

"The company's founding values are based on humanity and inclusion", Howard Schultz, Executive Chairman of Starbucks, said in a statement.

The closure is a response to the recent arrest of two black men sitting at a Starbucks in Philadelphia.

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Starbucks is shutting its so-called company-operated stores temporarily on the afternoon of May 29 - the day after Memorial Day - to train almost 175,000 employees.

On Twitter, many people have praised the company's decision.

. I think I take it very personally as everyone in our company does and we're committed to making it right.

That could set back the company, which booked US$22.4 billion in revenue a year ago, a mere US$16.7 million in lost sales, according to Bloomberg calculations.

"In fact, they were really trying not to make an arrest in this case", Ross said.

Other experts responsible for designing the training include executives from progressive think tank Demos, the Equal Justice Initiative, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill, and Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. In addition to the company-owned stores, Starbucks had as of January about 5,700 licensed stores in the U.S., such as the ones inside Target and Barnes & Noble stores. The manager, who since left the company, reportedly called the police because the men refused to leave the store and wanted to use the bathroom without paying for something.

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