Starbucks to close stores for racial-bias training on Tuesday

  • Starbucks to close stores for racial-bias training on Tuesday

Starbucks to close stores for racial-bias training on Tuesday

Starbucks has not said how much the training will cost the company or how much money it expects to lose from closing the stores early.

Schultz said that for several hours Tuesday afternoon, Starbucks would close stores and offices to discuss how to make Starbucks a place where all people feel welcome.

About 175,000 employees are taking part. Many retailers, including Walmart and Target, said they already offer some racial bias training.

One afternoon wouldn't really be "moving the needle on the biases", especially with a company that has as many employees as Starbucks, he said. She added that she respects Starbucks more than before for doing this, however. While the changes in company policies and drastic company training are important, the incident raises concerns about racial tension in the United States.

"It could be having a question that elicits something more interesting than, say, the weather or the traffic", she said.

Schultz said he believes the day of training marks the first step in what he's hoping will be a deeper global commitment by Starbucks to play an active role in these conversations.

The incident prompted #BoycottStarbucks protests across the country and sparked a national dialogue around racial profiling and the everyday incidents of racial bias experienced by black Americans.

After Nelson and Robinson stepped into the cafe, one of them asked to use the toilet while waiting for a third person to arrive for a business meeting.

One of the questions meant to generate discussion asked employees to recall the first time they went to work with "natural hair without comments or questions from others".

Starbucks said the Philadelphia arrests never should have occurred. When police were called, the men had not yet purchased anything.

Nelson and Robinson settled with Starbucks for an undisclosed sum and an offer of a free college education. "It represents freedom in embracing your ethnicity", she said. They also reached a deal with the city of Philadelphia for a symbolic $1 each and a promise from officials to establish a $200,000 program for young entrepreneurs.

"It is true that people of color in America today are feeling a level of insecurity that they have not felt in a long time", Schultz said. "They have to put different people in their stores", he said, acknowledging that Starbucks admitted to its problems and responded to them.

Over the course of four hours, the training took Starbucks employees through a series of videos and group discussions created to help them recognize and address their unconscious biases in the workplace.