Thousands of Starbucks stores close for anti-bias training

175,000 employees take part in massive initiative.

Tim Jimenez
May 29, 2018 - 10:45 am
Starbucks at 18th and Spruce streets in Philadelphia

Holli Stephens-KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Starbucks is closing 8,000 stores for a few hours on Tuesday afternoon so 175,000 employees can go through anti-bias training in response to the arrest of two black men at a Rittenhouse Square store last month. 

The Starbucks, at 18th and Spruce streets in Philadelphia, is where the controversial arrest happened last month. This location and thousands more will be closing at around 2:30 p.m. 

Company founder and chairman Howard Schultz, on "CBS This Morning," said Starbucks has a chance to lead.

“I think we’re living in a time in America where there’s a fracturing of humanity. And we have an opportunity, given the fact that we have stores in every community in America, to begin a very important conversation,” Schultz said.

He says the training is here to stay, for all future hires as well. 

“This is something we’re gonna stay with,” he said.

RELATED: Starbucks says anti-bias training is multi-year effort

And race is just one part of the discussion.

“It could be about ethic background, sexual orientation, your station in life," Schultz said. "But it’s all about trying to provide a level of empathy and compassion, a new level of sensitivity.”

Still, as is acknowledged in the video, he says progress won’t come easy.

“It won’t be perfect but we are all in this together.”