Starbucks employees to go for racial bias training

Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald during Question Time in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra Monday

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"Our hope is that these learning sessions and discussions will make a difference within and beyond our stores".

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

Starbucks' training could have a lasting impact on its employees' behavior and pave the way for other companies to finally tackle racism in their own eateries and shops, said Heather McGhee, president of public policy group Demos.

"May 29 isn't a solution, it's a first step", he said.

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.

Factoring in the company's $22.39 billion in annual sales, and dividing it by the number of days in the year, but not adjusting for the relative strength of particular days and dayparts, suggests that Starbucks revenue is about $61.3 million per day. The program will also have employees reflect on their experiences in a workbook, and watch a video that features Common, an Academy Award-winning rapper and artist.

CNN reported the sessions will focus on understanding racial bias and the history of racial discrimination in public spaces in the U.S. A sign at one store in Chicago says it's locking its doors at 2:30 p.m. and reopening on Wednesday, for instance.

Starbucks will share content and curriculum with other companies, organizations and individuals interested in training their audiences. Starbucks locations in airports, on college and private business campuses and within grocery and other retail stores will remain open for regular hours.

The coffee chain's leaders reached out to bias training experts after the arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks last month. One of them asked to go to the bathroom but was denied access. The company has also changed its policy to allow people to use Starbucks' restrooms and spend time in stores, even if they haven't made any purchases.

Protesters gather outside a Starbucks in Philadelphia, April 15, 2018, where two black men were arrested Thursday after Starbucks employees called police to say the men were trespassing.

Since the incident occurred, Starbucks has formally apologized to the two men involved.

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