SEATTLE — Starbucks says it will close its 8,000 company-owned stores in the United States on May 29 to educate employees about racial bias.
The announcement follows an uproar over the arrest of two black men who were waiting for a friend at a Philadelphia Starbucks last week. The store manager called the police.
The racial bias training will be provided to about 175,000 workers.
“I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement.
“While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution,” he said. “Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”
The two men entered the Starbucks on Thursday and asked to use to the bathroom. An employee told them it was only for paying customers. When they then sat in the store without ordering anything, the manager called police, and the men were arrested for trespassing. No charges were filed.
Johnson met with the two men on Monday and apologized for how they were treated, a company spokesperson said.