Starbucks' bias training will feature rapper…

A big-name rapper, messages from corporate bigwigs and a chance for Starbucks employees to relate their own stories will all be part of the racial-bias trainingthat the coffee giant plans for workersTuesday.

Besides the video messages from executives and fromhip-hop artist Common, employees will hear what they can do to make the stores more welcoming, Starbucks just revealed to reporters in its first preview of the session next week.

Starbucks is shutting down all its U.S. stores for the session, the result of the outcry overa manager who calledpolice to complain about two African-American men who came to a Philadelphia store and didn’t buy anything. They arrested, but charges were later dropped.

The workshop is being held at 8,000-plus company-owned Starbucks stores in the U.S. as well as at the corporate offices, potentially reaching an estimated 175,000 employees.

The session will begin at 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. in each time zone and last for three to four hours, depending on how quickly each group goes through it, according to the company.Attendanceisn’t mandatory, but employees who participate will be paid.

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Starbucks pledged to create and host the training across the country after apologizing the for the Philadelphia incident, which resulted from the men waiting at the store for friend but not buying anything. One of the men had asked to use the bathroom, but was told they were only for paying customers.

Critics said that if the customers had been white, police would have never been called.

“We understand that racial and systemic bias have many causes, sources and ways of showing up within each of us and in our communities,” a Starbucks video, previewing the racial-bias training, intones.

The training is centered around a large white-and-green Team Guidebook, which includes an outline of the Starbucks mission and values, transcripts of the videos that employees will watch on designated iPads,the company’s “recommitment” to policy andguidelines, discussion starters about personal bias and what employees can do to “create a more welcoming Starbucks.”

For example, page 47 reads, “Every Human = Seen. Respected. Uplifted.”

The video describes the training as an opportunity for”real and honest exploration of bias” and for discussing “the realities and impact of racial discrimination in public accommodations from the civil rights movement all the way to today.”

The company declined to say ifmake-up sessions of the racial-bias training would be available for interested employees unable to attend on Tuesday.

“We’re here to make Starbucks a place, where everyone, everyone feels welcome,” CEO Kevin Johnson said in his video for the workshop.

Executive chairman Howard Schultz also has a pre-recorded message.

Earlier this week, Starbucks announced thatstore restrooms would be available to the general public, not just those who buy food or drink. Thepolicy was first referenced on May 10 in a speech by Schultzto a think tank.

The company and Johnson personally apologized to the two Philadelphia victims, who received a financial settlement, the details of which weren’t disclosed.


An altercation was caught on camera where a hotel clerk called a patron a racial slur. The hotel terminated the employee and promises sensitivity training for the entire hotel.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Zlati Meyer on Twitter: @ZlatiMeyer

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