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SVO San Bernadino Call Center Closing: 200 Laid Off

clsmit

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From the San Bernadino (California) Sun
http://www.sbsun.com/sanbernardino/ci_11027863

About 200 SB call center employees laid off
Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/19/2008 08:43:53 PM PST

Photo Gallery: Starwood layoffs
SAN BERNARDINO - National economic woes became more than just a headline Wednesday for the more than 200 people who worked at Starwood Vacation Ownership's call center downtown.

Employees who showed up to work at Starwood's offices at the Carousel Mall discovered a sign asking them to enter through the mall entrance rather than the door they usually use.

Once inside, they learned that instead of working on Starwood's time-share business, they would spend the day contemplating how they will earn a living after their severance pay runs out.

"You just got to keep positive. Everybody knows times are tough across the board," said Marion Cease, who said he worked at the call center for about seven months.

Cease said he came to Starwood after working in the faltering real estate industry. He said he has also served in the U.S. Air Force.

"I should have just stayed in the military," he mused while standing on a staircase at Carousel Mall's parking structure, waiting to go inside and make everything official.

Cease said his immediate plans are to find a part-time job and enroll at Cal Poly Pomona to study aeronautics.

Another employee who lost a job Wednesday is Kameela Rashed, who said she worked at the call center for more than five years.

"I still love my job, even though it's not here anymore," she said.
Rashed and another newly laid-off employee said they plan to try to obtain work as correctional officers, a job in which they won't have to worry about a shortage of clients.

Laurel Roehl, Starwood regional human relations director, said the call center's employees will continue to be paid until Jan. 19, when the company's San Bernardino offices are scheduled to shut down.

A few employees will continue to work at Starwood's downtown offices until January, but most of the call center's workers were set loose Wednesday.

Roehl and David Matheson, Starwood Vacation Ownership's vice president of communications, both said they did not have an exact number of how many employees were laid off Wednesday but that the figure was larger than 200 people.

Matheson said his company has reduced staffing at locations across the United States, but closing the San Bernardino call center was the "biggest hit" among those job cuts.

He said the layoffs stem from a downturn within the travel industry.

"If you look at the overall trends in travel and tourism, everyone's taking a hit," Matheson said.

Donna Cisneros, who spent 5 1/2 years working for Starwood before being laid off Wednesday, said she wasn't surprised.

"Since we're a luxury-based company and the housing industry took a dump, I had seen it coming," she said. "It hurts. It was a great company to work for."

Starwood Vacation Ownership is a subsidiary of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. The firm's brands include St. Regis, W, Westin and Sheraton hotels.

Staff photographer Jeff Malet contributed to this report.
 

LisaRex

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My heart goes out to everyone who is facing unemployment. It's very tough out there. :(
 

James1975NY

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Lets all count our blessings! It is never a good time for lay-offs but with the Holiday season coming up, it is somewhat comforting to know that Starwood is able to pay severance until January.
 

mariawolf

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Starwood laid off 100 people in sales and marketing in the Harborside Resort at Atlantis last week also--not surprising due to the economic situation.
 

pointsjunkie

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does anyone know if the other hotel branded timeshares are also having layoffs?

this is so sad. my heart breaks for all those people.
 

dss

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This is very sad.

I am wondering however, if this was a call center managing SVO promo package reservations (lead gen) or existing customer reservations? With all of the ongoing issues many of us have had with making SVO reservations, I cannot imagine what would happen if the reduced that staff right now, especially since the revenue stream that is supporting existing customers should not have changed much (we're all locked in and paying MFs every year).
 

Denise L

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From what I recall, the San Bernadino folks were handling some Explorer Packages back in 2003. I don't think that they were reservation agents. They were very nice and helpful back when I was looking for our first Starwood purchase.
 

nodge

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From the San Bernadino (California) Sun
http://www.sbsun.com/sanbernardino/ci_11027863

Roehl and David Matheson, Starwood Vacation Ownership's vice president of communications, both said they did not have an exact number of how many employees were laid off Wednesday but that the figure was larger than 200 people.
So, do you think this SVO VP of communications flew by private charter jet to California so he could deal with "all" of that media attention in person?

On the plus side, this story suggests that SVO’s excessively top-heavy upper management appears to have taken steps to cut its own costs too. Oh wait . . . nevermind . . . different travel-related company and culture.

-nodge
 
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clsmit

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Also 75 in Orlando Laid Off

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/orl-tourism1708nov17,0,6153513.story
From the article:
"Time-share layoffs

Starwood Vacation Ownership has been quietly laying off employees as it deals with financial pressures in the time-share industry. From September through last week, the company has let go about 75 of the 2,600 employees in its Orlando office, spokesman David Matheson said."

(David really is busy this week!! If you're reading this board, too, hi!:wave: )

If you see someone at your Starwood timeshare with a blue folder, that's the severance package docuements. The blue folder was mentioned in both the Harborside and San Bernadino articles (in the pictures in the San Bernadino article). I'm sure nodge can bring up some relationship between blue folders and oranges (the U of F colors, perhaps?).
 
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nodge

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SVO is hiring!

On the plus side, SVO's web page indicates that SVO is hiring, well for at least for those lucky few who are able to get blood out of a turnip.

-nodge
 
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James1975NY

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So, do you think this SVO VP of communications flew by private charter jet to California so he could deal with "all" of that media attention in person?

On the plus side, this story suggests that SVO’s excessively top-heavy upper management appears to have taken steps to cut its own costs too. Oh wait . . . nevermind . . . different travel-related company and culture.

-nodge
Do you ever take a break?
 

nodge

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Do you ever take a break?
That one hit a nerve with you ‘eh James? Feel free to forward it to your former co-workers in SVO upper management. I hope they enjoy it as much as you did.

Wait until you see the sashes I’m making for us owners to wear around the fanciest and most elite country club in Orlando. I figure we’d have a better chance of getting noticed by SVO upper management there vs. anything we do or say here. Trophy wives hate it when people at the country club call attention to the fact that their hubbies made all of “their” money as timeshare hucksters, and everyone knows that unhappy trophy wives ultimately rule the corporate world.

We won’t need to keep asking SVO Management to talk to us once their trophy wives start speaking/nagging them to get us to cool it at the country club. At that point, SVO Management will be BEGGING us to talk to them.

Crazy? Sure. But it’s just crazy enough to work . . . . .

James, do you have a better plan to get your former co-workers at SVO upper management to talk to us owners? If so, I’m all ears. If you’re plan actually works, I’d also be happy to take a break from reporting all the latest “action” at SVO to allow SVO management enough time to pull its head out and start actually managing things.

If not, what size sash do you wear? Since you’re already in Orlando, we may need you to cover the busy Christmas party season at the country club.

-nodge
 

DeniseM

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40 Laid Off On Kauai

“Unfortunately, due to the economy, we have to make some difficult choices in the company,” said Vice President of Corporate Communications David Matheson in announcing the elimination of roughly 40 positions from the Po‘ipu sales gallery, which will be closed."
More Info.
 
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