The Union of Street Vendors of the Republic of Argentina (Sindicato de Vendedores Ambulantes de la República Argentina, SIVARA) was created in 1973 with the support of the General Confederation of Workers of the Republic of Argentina (CGTRA). SIVARA has 23,604 affiliate members, has its headquarters in the city of Buenos Aires and has 16 regional offices. SIVARA represents street vendors in public and private areas including public streets/thoroughfares, street fairs, markets, plazas and parks, sports stadiums, public transport passenger vehicles (trains, buses), bicyclists and home catalogue sales (direct sales).
SIVARA’s advocacy activities primarily focus on two areas. First, SIVARA advocates at the local and provincial levels for national laws and regulations to provide adequate working conditions for own account vendors in their various forms. Second, they work to achieve recognition of the employment relationship between employers and dependent workers. In this regard, SIVARA’s goal is to obtain recognition by employers as well as the public authority. To do this, SIVARA systematically presents cases before the Ministry of Labor and social security. Moreover SIVARA founded the social work pogram for vendors in Argentina, OSVARA, which is responsible for providing the nearly 50,000 beneficiaries with free assistive medical benefits and resources.
In addition to advocating for policy change, SIVARA works to improve working conditions of and educate street vendors about their rights and obligations as workers. SIVARA also has projects focusing specifically on women who work for multinational companies, working on the catalog and percentage system according to sales, and who do not have social or labor protection. SIVARA also works with national and international organizations to participate in conferences and meetings, and belongs to an international street vendor organization, StreetNet International. Currently, SIVARA’s secretary general, Oscar Silva, is the president of StreetNet.