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St. John's Starbucks employees get sensitivity training

The Starbucks Coffee outlet on Stavanger Drive in St. John’s closed at 3 p.m. Monday to train its staff on race, bias and inclusion.
The Starbucks Coffee outlet on Stavanger Drive in St. John’s closed at 3 p.m. Monday to train its staff on race, bias and inclusion. - Joe Gibbons

Coffee chain temporarily closes Canadian outlets Monday afternoon

All the employees of Starbucks in Newfoundland and Labrador joined the chain in closing for a while Monday afternoon for employee sensitivity training.

Starbucks closed about 1,100 Canadian locations Monday afternoon for training on race, bias and inclusion.

In a letter to customers, Starbucks Canada president Michael Conway said the training would involve sharing experiences, listening to experts, reflecting on the realities of bias in society and talking about how employees can create public spaces where everyone feels like they belong.

The training comes after the Seattle-based company publicly apologized after the arrest of two black men who had been refused permission to use the washroom of a Starbucks coffee shop in Philadelphia.

In his letter, Conway called the incident “reprehensible” and said the training isn’t just about what happened in Philadelphia, but about humanity and making sure all customers feel safe and welcome.

In late May, 8,000 U.S. locations were closed for an afternoon for similar training.

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