Published: Thu, April 19, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Starbucks to close all stores May 29 for racial-bias education

Starbucks to close all stores May 29 for racial-bias education

Starbucks Corp will close 8,000 company-owned USA cafes for the afternoon on May 29 so 175,000 employees can undergo racial tolerance training in response to protests and calls for boycotts after the arrest of two black men waiting in a Philadelphia store.

This video of the incident taken by a customer shows the two men being handcuffed and escorted from the premises by multiple police officers. The incident illustrated the bias that can affect even the most normal activities such as meeting someone for coffee in the USA public spaces.

"The two young men politely asked why they were being told to leave and were not given a reason other than the manager wanted them to leave", she said.

Starbucks one of the largest coffee stores in the United States is now changing some of its policies. To be sure, Starbucks doesn't split out USA revenue from the Americas, so Bloomberg's estimates are on an average per-store basis - and based on figures for fiscal 2017, which ended October 1 a year ago (the company also owns stores in Canada and Brazil).

Moving forward, this curriculum will become part of routine training for all new Starbucks hires, the company says. While the video of the arrest went viral for days, the call a manager made to Philadelphia Police lasted just a few seconds.

Johnson has since met with the arrested men and offered an apology on behalf of Starbucks, according to the company.

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At the time, the court was concerned in part about the burden collecting sales tax would place on the catalog company. Customers are generally supposed to pay the tax to the state themselves, but the vast majority don't.

Police declined to press trespassing charges against the men that were later released.

"We are going to learn from this", said Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson. It is created to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome, according to a company's announcement.

Johnson said, "While this is not limited to Starbucks, we're committed to being a part of the solution".

The company said it is "ashamed" of what happened at the Philadelphia location. In the USA, about 59% of its locations are Starbucks-owned.

Protesters crowded the store that was the scene of the arrest on Monday morning.

Speaking to local news station WPVI-TV, Philadelphia police commissioner Richard Ross called the situation "unfortunate" and said he had received a call from Starbucks' CEO.

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