Vega, Caitlin


Caitlin Vega is a Legislative Advocate for the California Labor Federation, representing 2.1 million union members in manufacturing, retail, construction, hospitality, public sector, health care, entertainment and other industries.

A Victory for Homeowners

By Caitlin Vega
California Labor Federation

The other night, my son woke up with a bad dream. “I dreamed we had to move out of our house,” he told me in a worried voice. As I hushed him back to sleep, I thought about all the children for whom that is not just a bad dream.

Over the past 6 years, nearly two million Californians have lost their homes to foreclosure. That’s an awful lot of parents who have had to explain to their children that they could not stay in their homes. They’ve had to take their kids out of the schools and neighborhoods where they were raised and have friends and start over somewhere new and unfamiliar.

This May Day, Think About the Future, Not the Past

By Caitlin Vega
California Labor Federation

May 1st is May Day, a day of celebration for workers around the world. This dates back to a resolution adopted by the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (later the American Federation of Labor) that stated "eight hours shall constitute a legal day's labour from and after May 1st, 1886.”

But the struggle for the 8-hour day was about more than just hours of work. In demanding an 8-hour day, workers were saying something much more fundamental: that working people should not have to spend every waking moment on the job. We deserve time to rest, to spend with family, to go to church or to union meetings, to get involved in our communities. It was a simple and powerful demand: "Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, eight hours for what we will."

The Truth Behind the Chamber's So-Called 'Job Killer' List

By Caitlin Vega
California Labor Federation

For years, the California Chamber of Commerce has put out a list of so-called “job killers.” It’s never been clear to us what qualifies a bill as a job-killer. Last year, our sponsored bill to keep your boss from using your personal credit report to deny you a promotion was on that so-called "job killer" list.  Seriously, protecting your privacy kills jobs? Businesses are fleeing the state because…they can’t review their employees’ credit reports? That seems a bit far-fetched…

To Rebuild a Fair Economy, We Must Tackle the Underground Economy

By Caitlin Vega
California Labor Federation

With so many people out of work and jobs few and far between, those of us still earning a paycheck feel pretty lucky. But nobody feels very secure. We all know that in this economy, we could easily face cutbacks and we'd be in the unemployment line with millions of other laid off workers.

So imagine what times are like in California's underground economy. That's what we call the sectors that operate under the radar of enforcement agencies. Where employers pay in cash, don't carry workers' compensation, and treat workers like they are disposable.

Cuts to Higher Education Shortchange California's Future

By Caitlin Vega
California Labor Federation

When I went to Cal State Hayward in the late 90's, I couldn't understand why anyone went anywhere else. Small classes, great teachers, and a student body who were passionate and excited to be there. We all worked, many had kids, most were the first in the family to go to college. We were tired, bedraggled, and usually late to class but we were in love with this new life of learning.

I worked as a tutor in the afternoons and as a waitress on the weekends. I paid each quarter as it came, maybe $400 dollars tuition and $200 more on books? I was able to pay my way through college, five years and a double-major, on two part-time jobs and a Cal-Grant. And after graduation I had the freedom to do exactly the work I wanted without the crushing burden of massive student loans.

No Unions, No Middle Class

By Caitlin Vega
California Labor Federation

When I look around, I see families struggling harder than ever just to get by. Foreclosed homes with "For Sale" signs up, thousands of workers standing in line to apply for a handful of jobs at McDonalds, those who lost jobs realizing there are none to be found. I see it in my family, among my friends, throughout my neighborhood. The working people of California who once enjoyed a degree of economic security have seen it washed away in a tidal wave of hard times.

Remembering Cesar Chavez

By Caitlin Vega
California Labor Federation

The Napa I grew up in is probably not the place you've come to spend a long weekend winetasting. Real Napa, as we call it, is not glamorous or exclusive. In the old days, my dad says, "it used to be a place where poor kids could grow up in the country."  Today, even with the fancy restaurants and expensive tourist shops, Napa is still an agricultural town at heart, which means it is a farmworker community.

The wineries that have made Napa famous are also workplaces. The workers in the vineyards work long hours in freezing cold and sweltering heat. Most have no health care and no pension. Wages are low and workers are often paid piece rate.

California GOP Legislative Wish List Targets Workers' Rights and Jobs

By Caitlin Vega
California Labor Federation

As Californians hold our collective breath hoping for a budget breakthrough, so far there's not a Republican vote to be found. GOP legislators won't support new revenue, they won't vote for the cuts they claim they want, and they won't close corporate tax breaks. Months of budget stalemate prompted Governor Brown to ask, "If they're not going to do anything, why even take a paycheck?"

Turns out, Republicans have had a few other things on their to-do list this month. The downside is that just about everything they want to do just makes life harder for working people in California.

Municipal Bankruptcy Threatens Workers, Communities and the Economy

By Caitlin Vega
California Labor Federation

When I was growing up, my dad was a union laborer, helping build tunnels and bridges throughout the Bay. He could be old-school and had a lot of rules I didn't like (no slurping my straw at a restaurant, no backtalk, no whining when he brushed my hair too hard) so I got more than my share of spankings.

But there were a few of my dad's rules that I took to heart and one of the most important ones was that your word is all you got. He told me that you live by your commitments or you get no respect. We all learn that lesson at some point, right?

California Love

By Caitlin Vega
California Labor Federation

We Californians are a pretty proud bunch. We like living in a state that has been in the forefront of pushing for workers’ rights, civil rights, and environmental protection. We are happy to lead the way and watch the rest of the nation follow.

But every year, we hear the same smack talking. You know the line: "California has a terrible business climate." We hear it over and over from the employer associations and Republican politicians. They say businesses are leaving because we have too much regulation, high business taxes, and too many worker protections. Conservative think-tankers put it this way: "California is already one of the most heavily taxed states in the nation, and its high tax, high regulation environment is driving many of its most productive people and businesses out of the state."