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St. Joseph Starbucks Set to Close for Racial-Bias Training

Starbucks is closing thousands of stores early on May 29 for racial-bias training. At least one St. Joseph location is set to participate.

Posted: May 29, 2018 12:29 AM
Updated: May 29, 2018 12:37 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Starbucks is closing thousands of stores early on May 29 for racial-bias training.

The company announced mandatory training after a cellphone video capturing a Philadelphia Starbucks store manager racially profiled two black men. The manager called police because the two men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, were sitting in the store without placing an order. They were arrested for trespassing. 

Nelson and Robinson settled with Starbucks this month for an undisclosed number. 

Starbucks also, publicly apologized and announced 8,000 company-owned stores would close Tuesday for mandatory implicit bias training. 

Signage posted at several stores and listings on the Seattle-based chain's website show many locations will close for the day at 2:30 p.m., local time. A sign on one St. Joseph store said the location would be closing so that employees can "reconnect with our mission and share ideas about how to make Starbucks even more welcoming."

Nearly 175,000 workers will receive training in how to "address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome." The curriculum was developed through collaboration with representatives from the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and other organizations.

CNN Money reports employees will break into small groups. The training will be guided virtually by Starbucks officials and hip hop artist Common. The training includes a film about bias and will encourage employees to talk about their own experiences.

Not all stores will close. Licensed stores that are not owned by Starbucks are not required to close. Many of the Starbucks locations in retail stores, airports, or on campuses will remain open for regular hours Tuesday.

The coffee giant said although those stores are not required to participate, the company would make the educational materials available to all.

MarketWatch estimates the closure will cost the chain more than $10 million in revenue.

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