Unite Here Local 11, a union representing hotel workers at two Hyatt hotels on L.A.'s Westside, voted Thursday to authorize a strike, according to a statement from the group.

The vote affected employees at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Century City and the Hyatt Andaz in West Hollywood. Last month, hundreds of union members and allies protested against Hyatt Andaz over a contract dispute with the hotel.

Hyatt employees and 4,000 other hotel workers have been without a contract since November 2009, according to Unite Here. The union claims that Hyatt had made staff cuts and reduced hours for employees.

“I've seen what companies like the Hyatt do during recessions,” Denise Edwards, a 30-year employee of the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, stated. “When business gets slow, they cut staff – going from four bussers on the floor to two, for example – but when the business comes back, they don't restore the staffing levels. Those are shifts employees need in order to feel an economic rebound. Instead, Hyatt makes even bigger profits. That's not right.”

The strike vote underscored the heightened tension between unions and employers. SEIU United Service Workers West recently organized a rally in Century City for laid off janitors that resulted in the arrests of 13 people.

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