pexels andrea piacquadio 3796810EAST ST. LOUIS – As wage gaps, workplace inequities, and unfair practices against people of color continues in Illinois, State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) supports the decision of ensuring fair wages for Black workers after a committee hearing on Thursday.

“Income inequality and reluctant growth in the workers’ rights for low- and moderate-income Illinoisans have become defining features of our society,” Belt said. “Eliminating the wage gaps would provide much-needed income to people of color, whose wages sustain their households.”

The Senate Executive, Commerce and Economic Development, and Labor Committees held a joint hearing Thursday to discuss wage equity, workers’ rights, and consumer protection. The following issues were some of the biggest focal points:

· Ensuring fair wages for Black workers on the job and ending wage disparities for black women, men and people with records
· Current workforce and discrimination data based on race and gender and the future collection of data
· Ensuring diversity and inclusion as well as the equitable retention and promotion of black workers
· Consumer protection from exploitation, scams, businesses and industries that specifically prey on low income communities

“Low-income families oftentimes don’t know their rights, so they are targets of unfair practices,” Belt said. “We need to continue to work on laws that ensure fairness in the marketplace to decrease the chances of businesses preying on consumers.”

Thursday’s hearing was part of a series of discussions prompted by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus on eliminating systemic racism in the state.