Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why the Echo Hills Golf Course won't be replaced by a Hilton any time soon

Someone who worked for a Hilton call center in Hemet two years ago has made some allegations about some bad timing on Hilton's part.

Employees of a Hemet reservation call center for Hilton Worldwide were sent to the Philippines to train agents at a new call center there only two months before Hilton announced that it was closing the Hemet office....

[A]t a 2 p.m. meeting on Aug. 4, Hilton told its Hemet employees what had been rumored for months: that the center on Florida Avenue would close, on Oct. 6. Documents say 295 people will lose their jobs.

Hilton has been somewhat tight-lipped about the matter.

[A]lthough office staff handed out the phone number of a public relations executive, he did not return calls seeking comment. Four hours after the layoff was announced, that executive, David Trumble, Hilton's director of corporate communications for the western United States, e-mailed a three-paragraph statement....

Trumble took seven days to respond to e-mailed questions about Hilton's operations, including whether Hilton had call centers in the Philippines, whether Hemet employees were sent there as trainers and whether Hemet employees would receive relocation assistance.

He did not answer the latter two questions. [Former employee] Stroud said Hemet employees were offered relocation help.

This isn't the first time that Hilton has sent employees to the Philippines to train their replacements, according to this 2009 article:

Some of the 176 soon-to-be laid-off employees of the Hilton Reservations & Customer Care call center in Humboldt Industrial Park traveled to the Philippines to train workers for a new facility, according to several sources at the center.

The local call center is scheduled to close Dec. 8, a company spokesman confirmed earlier this week.

About a dozen workers, who requested anonymity because they remain employed at Hilton, claim multiple contingents of workers from the local call center have traveled to the island nation to train workers.

A spokesman for Hilton Reservation Worldwide did not return calls seeking comment on the claims.

Interestingly enough, the same article from 2009 stated that the center in Hemet was "scheduled to close." Presumably if out of town newspapers were reporting this, the employees in Hemet already knew it; they just didn't know when it would happen.

Note to Hilton employees - if you're sent on a business trip to the Philippines, polish up your resume before you go.

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