PITTSBURGH (KDKA/CBS) — Starbucks says it will be closing more than 8,000 company-owned stores in the U.S. to conduct racial-bias education towards preventing discrimination in their stores.
In a press release the company says:
All Starbucks company-owned retail stores and corporate offices will be closed in the afternoon of Tuesday, May 29. During that time, partners will go through a training program designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome.
The training will be provided to nearly 175,000 employees across the country and will become part of the onboarding process for new employees the company said.
“I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it,” said Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson via press release. “While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution. Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”
The training comes just days after an incident at a Philadelphia Starbucks store where two black men were arrested after store employees called 911 to say they were trespassing.
Officials have said police officers were told the men had asked to use the store’s restroom but were denied because they hadn’t bought anything and they refused to leave. They were arrested for alleged trespassing, although the men claim they were in Starbucks for a business meeting and were waiting for someone.
“The company’s founding values are based on humanity and inclusion,” said executive chairman Howard Schultz, who joined Johnson and other senior Starbucks leaders in Philadelphia to meet with community leaders and Starbucks partners. “We will learn from our mistakes and reaffirm our commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment for every customer.”