Dialogue on Informal Work, Urban Policies and Mobilization in Mexico City

Mexico City, Mexico

The Shoe Shiners Union of Mexico City convened WIEGO Focal City Coordinator Tania Espinosa, legal expert Clara Jusidman and informal workers from diverse occupational groups to discuss challenges and opportunities for informal workers in the changing context of Mexico City.

In addition to shoe shiners, the informal workers in attendance represented unions of musicians, artisans and ayateros (vendors of used goods). In 2016, a series of political reforms took place, converting Mexico City into an autonomous entity. The reforms were followed by the creation of a new constitution, one of the most progressive in Latin America, which was enacted in 2017 (but is currently being challenged in the Supreme Court).

The constitution will be followed by secondary legislation. It is in this context that the Shoe Shiners Union called upon Clara Jusidman, an expert on labor and human rights and one of the 25 individuals who served on the Constitution Drafting Committee, to discuss possibilities to mobilize for enabling secondary legislation.

Issues discussed by the group included:


  • The stigmatization of informal workers in Mexico City, and the need for a communications campaign to change mindsets and reclaim the narrative about informal work.
  • The possibility of using lessons learned and good practices from other contexts in local advocacy.
  • The potential of using progressive language in the constitution in advocacy efforts for secondary legislation for informal workers.
  • Opportunities for organizing and collaborating on advocacy across occupational groups of informal workers in Mexico City. 


Tania Espinosa presented to the group about WIEGO’s theory of change and work with informal workers in Mexico City. She encouraged the group to begin to organize and take advantage of the current political moment. The group agreed to meet with Tania the following week to discuss next steps in this process.

Informal Economy Theme