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Starbucks to close over 8000 stores today for employee diversity training

29 May, 2018, 17:33 | Author: Shawna Walton
  • Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald during Question Time in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra Monday

"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.

Company-owned stores are being closed, while licensed stores not owned by Starbucks are not required to.

But one Australian expert says the training - which will include a talk by the rapper Common - is unlikely to work.

Starbucks management received a version of the bias training this week, Sherrilyn Ifill, the president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund told CNN.

"Well, I think like many people, it produced that same very familiar sinking feeling and anger, you know, first that the police were called for what was clearly a matter that did not require law enforcement, and then that these men were arrested by the police in that Starbucks".

The incident sparked protests and hurt Starbucks' reputation, but its pledge to close stores while it trained its employees on racial bias is "unprecedented", said Heather McGhee, president of left-leaning think tank Demos and who provided pro bono advice to Starbucks about the training. Tuesday's session will focus on understanding both racial bias and the history of racial discrimination in public spaces in the United States. "This is a long-term effort and we plan to address all kinds of bias in the weeks, months and years ahead", he said.

Starbucks will share content and curriculum with other companies, organizations and individuals interested in training their audiences. Many of the Starbucks locations in airports, on college and private business campuses and within grocery and other retail stores will remain open for regular hours Tuesday. It has since announced that anyone can use its restrooms, whether or not they make a purchase.

In April, Kevin Johnson, Starbucks' CEO, was forced to apologize after a video of two black men being arrested at a Philadelphia location of the coffee chain went viral. Starbucks is asking customers to behave in a way that "maintains a warm and welcoming environment". The men were also denied bathroom access at the Starbucks, while waiting for a friend to arrive. It also ran as a full-page ad in the New York Times, USA Today and two Philadelphia papers.

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