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Introduction

The largest democracy in the world, India has experienced significant political change over the years. The Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2023, which fundamentally alters how Indian politics operates, is one such recent development.

In this blog, we’ll tell you about the Representation Act Changes: What They Mean for Indian Politics and Democracy. The Act has become a topic of discussion and has gained the attention of many; while some people praise it as a modern approach towards democratization, others criticize it for having the potential to erode democracy itself.

Background of the Representation of People Act (RPA)

The Indian Constitution’s Part XV contains Articles 324 to 329 that describe the nation’s electoral process. The Constitution grants the Parliament the authority to enact laws for all issues related to elections for the State Legislature and the Parliament.

Seat distribution in the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assemblies through direct elections is provided for by this Act.

Election eligibility requirements for the electorate.

The process of determining the boundaries of the Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies. The size of the constituencies would be determined by the Delimitation Commission.

The Indian President has the right to modify the constituencies after proper consultation with the Election Commission.

Putting together the electoral roll. One can only sign up for one constituency at a time. He or she may be disqualified from voting if it is found that they are not an Indian citizen or that they are of unsound mind.

The Representation of the People Act (RPA) 1966

Below are a few points on the given act:

This Act lays out guidelines for how elections will be held in India.

Additionally, it discusses illegal election-related activities and corruption.

The Act includes provisions for dispute resolution in election-related matters.

Additionally, it discusses the eligibility requirements and explanations for disqualifying MPs and MLAs.

Amendment in Representation of the People Act of 1966

Election tribunals were eliminated by this amendment. The High Courts now handle election petitions. The Supreme Court of India directly hears disputes relating to the presidential and vice presidential elections.

Amendment Year Provisions

Representation of People Act (RPA) 1951 Conduct of elections in India, provisions for dispute redressal, qualification/disqualification of MPs and MLAs.

R.P. Amendment Act 1966 Abolished election tribunals, and transferred election petitions to High Courts.

R.P. Amendment Act 1988 Provisions for adjournment/countermanding of polling due to booth capturing and EVMs.

R.P. Amendment Act 2002 Right to information for voters, candidates required to declare prior convictions/accusations, declaration of assets and liabilities.

R.P. Amendment Bill 2010 NRIs granted voting rights, but not the right to contest elections or vote in absentia.

R.P. Amendment and Validation Bill 2013 Persons in police custody/jail can file nomination for election if their name is on the electoral roll, even if prohibited from voting.

R.P. Amendment Bill 2023 Allows for proxy voting of NRIs, gender-neutral provisions of the Acts.

Important Features of RPA, 1951

The main elements of the Representation of People are:

Only eligible voters may cast ballots in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha elections.

For seats designated for people from Scheduled Caste and Tribe communities, only candidates from those groups are eligible to run.

The candidate may also be excluded from consideration for pertinent government contracts if they have engaged in any corrupt behavior.

Failure to disclose one’s assets can also lead to disqualification. The candidate is required to disclose all of his/her assets and debts within 90 days of taking the oath of office.

All political parties must register with the Election Commission in accordance with the Act. The Commission must be notified of any changes to the party’s name or address.

Any Indian citizen or company may donate to a party, but those that are owned by the government are not permitted to do so. Foreign organizations are not allowed to contribute, either.

Every political party is required to disclose any donation over 20,000 received from an individual or business.

A party is considered a national party if it wins at least 2% of Lok Sabha seats from at least three states or at least 6% of the valid votes for state assembly elections in at least four states.

What are the RPA 1951’s Definitions of Election-Related Offenses?

Below are a few points:

Encouraging animosity and hatred.

Failure to perform official duties and endorse any candidate.

Capturing and removing ballots from the voting booth.

Selling alcohol within two days of voting will be completed.

48 hours prior to a vote, announcing public meetings and causing disturbances.

FAQs

Q1. What is the representation system in India?

Ans: This system divides the entire country into 543 constituencies, each of which elects a single representative. The candidate declared elected in each constituency is the one who received the most votes there.

Q2. What is the Amendment in the Representation of People Act 1951?

Ans: By amending the Representation of the People Act of 1951, it gave voters a legal right to information that would help them make an informed decision about a candidate.

Q3. What is the Representation of People Act 2010?

Ans: The Amending Act grants voting rights to Indian citizens who are away from their usual residence due to work, school, or other reasons outside of India.

Q4. What is the Representation of People Act?

Ans: Election tribunals were eliminated by this amendment. The High Court now handles election petitions. But the Supreme Court of India directly hears disputes relating to the presidential and vice presidential elections.

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Contingent Contract: Section 31 Of The Indian Contract Act

The word “contingent” refers to a future event that cannot be predicted accurately.

A contingent contract is pretty practical or popular type of contract that more often most of us perform. Its enforceability is based on a future event. A contingent event is one whose occurrence or existence is dependent on the influence or occurrence of another event.

What does Contingent Contract Exactly Define?

A contingent contract is one in which the enforceability of the contract is directly dependent on the occurrence or non-occurrence of an event. A contingent contract, according to Section 31 of the Indian Contract Act of 1872, is a contract to act or not act if a certain event linked to the contract occurs or does not occur. In a nutshell, contingent contracts are ones in which the promisor only fulfills his obligations provided specific conditions are satisfied. Contracts for compensation, insurance, and guarantees are examples of contingent contracts.

When is a contingent contract used?

A contingent contract is often used when parties fail to reach an agreement during contract talks. Rather than dissolving the contract altogether, contingent contracts allow the parties to reach a compromise that works for both of them.

A contingent contract is also used when parties can take action only if certain events occur. Insurance contracts are a good example of this: individuals will only need their insurance companies to compensate them if something they have insured is lost or damaged. The insurance firm does not owe this obligation until this happens.

Components of Contingent Contract

Based on the definition of the term specified in Section 31 of the Indian Contract Act, the following are the fundamentals of the term “contingent contract” −

Section 31 of the Indian Contract Act defines contingent contracts as having the following key components −

The Contract’s Performance Must Be Conditional

The contract’s event must take place in the future and be unpredictable. A contract is not termed contingent if its performance is contingent on a future occurrence that is certain to occur.

A Legitimate Contract must exist to do or Refrain from Doing Anything

Sections 32 and 33 of the Indian Contract Act deal with the enforcement of a contingent contract based on whether or not certain events occur.

However, if the contract is about executing or refusing to perform an obligation, then it is legal; otherwise, it is not.

Events Must Not Be Left up to the Promiser’s Decision

The occurrence of the event being considered a contingency must not be reliant on the promise in any manner. It has to be completely futuristic in nature.

The Specified Event Should Be a Contractual Term

The occurrence or non-occurrence of the event on which the contract’s performance is contingent should not be regarded. The occurrence or non-occurrence of the event should be distinct from the contract and remain independent.

Features of Contingent Contract

Major features of contingent contract are −

The performance of a contract is determined by whether or not a future, uncertain event happens.

It can’t be enforced if the event doesn’t take place.

If the event becomes impossible, the contract becomes null and void.

A contract based on the non-happening of an event will enter into force if the event becomes impossible.

Enforcement of contingent contracts

Sections 32 to 36 of Indian Contract Act contain the following provisions about the enforcement of the contingent contract −

Condition #1: Enforcement of contract contingent on the happening of an event

The contingent party contracts to do or abstain from doing something if an uncertain future event happens. Yet the contract cannot be enforced by law unless the event takes place. Such contracts become null and void if the event becomes impossible. [Section 32]

Condition #2: Enforcement of contract contingent on an event not happening

A contingent contract to do or abstain from doing something if an uncertain future event does not happen can be enforced when the happening of that event becomes impossible. If the event takes place, the contingent contract is null and void. [Section 33]

Condition #3: When an event on which a contract is contingent is deemed impossible if it is the future conduct of a living person

If a contract is contingent on how a person acts in the future, the event is considered impossible when such a person needs to perform a task that makes the event impossible to happen. [Section 34]

Condition #4: Contracts contingent on an event happening within the fixed time

Contracts to do or not do anything if a future uncertain event happens within a certain time frame. If the event does not occur and the time period ends, the contract is null and void. It is also null and void if the event cannot occur before the fixed time. [Section 35, Para 1]

Condition #5: Contracts contingent on an event not happening within the fixed time

A contingent contract to do or not do anything if an uncertain event does not happen within a specified time frame may be enforced by law when the fixed time expires and such an event has not happened, or before the fixed time has expired if it becomes certain that such an event will not happen. [Section 35, Para 2]

Condition #6: Contract contingent on an impossible event is void

If an agreement to do or not do something is based on an impossible event, the agreement is null and void, whether the impossibility of the event was known or not to the parties to the agreement at the time the agreement was made. [Section 36]

Conclusion

A contract is a lawfully enforceable agreement. Every contract should include an agreement made with the free consent of the parties to the contract for a lawful consideration and with a lawful goal. To constitute a contract, the agreement should not be ruled void. Every dependent contract is, first and foremost, a contract.

It is a contract to do or not do anything, just like any other contract. It is not, however, an absolute and unconditional one, with no reservations or conditions, that must be followed in all circumstances. Its performance is dependent on some event happening or not occurring (the contingency).

A contract must have a few essential elements in order to qualify as a contingent contract. These factors constitute a contingent contract, and a contract will not be contingent if they are present. To do or not do anything, a valid contract must exist. The contract’s performance must be conditional. The stated event must be collateral to such contracts, and it must not be at the discretion of the promisor.

These are some of the rules that should be satisfied for a contingent contract to be enforceable. For example, consider the occurrence of an event, the incidence of an event, and the happening of an event during a specific period of time. A contingent contract can become void in specific situations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1. What are the rules of a contingent contract?

Ans. Contracts to do or not do anything if an uncertain future event happens cannot be enforced by law unless and until that event occurs. Such contracts become null and void if the event becomes impossible.

Q2. What are the features of a contingent contract?

Ans. The performance of a contingent contract is contingent on whether or not a future event occurs. A contingent contract cannot be enforced now that the specified event has happened. If the contract’s underlying event becomes impossible, the contract is null and void.

Q3. What is the importance of a contingent contract?

Ans. Contingent contracts are usually made when negotiating parties fail to reach an agreement. The contract is marked “contingent” because the terms are not final and are contingent on the occurrence of specific events or conditions. A contingent contract can also be viewed as protection against a future change of plans.

Q4. Are contingent contracts valid?

Ans. The contingent contract is valid as far as it fulfills the essentials of contracts.

Q5. A contingent contract is valid or void?

Ans. The validation or non-validation of the contingent contract is decided by the happening or non-happening of the uncertain event. Yet if the contract is based on a condition that’s unable to be fulfilled, it’s void from the start.

Q6. How long does a contingency contract last?

Ans. The contingent contract normally lasts 30 to 60 days. But if the time is specified in the contract, it can last for that time frame.

Rss Feeds: What Are They And Are They Still Relevant?

Before Facebook walls, Twitter feeds, Reddit, and Telegram channels, there was RSS — a way to get news and updates from multiple sources all conveniently bundled into one place. Social media may have taken a sizeable chunk out of RSS’s market share, but it’s still a fantastic tool for any news junkie, infovore, market-watcher, or social-media-averse individual. In short: if having a feed of constantly-updated, self-curated information sounds like your idea of a good time, you’ll probably enjoy RSS.

What is RSS?

Depending on who you ask, it stands for “Rich Site Summary,” “Really Simple Syndication,” or “RDF Site Summary.” Regardless of the acronym, it’s actually a very straightforward technology: whenever a website publishes new content, that content can automatically be put into an RSS feed.

RSS readers can tap into that feed and show you as either a Twitter-like list of posts, a grid of pictures and headlines, or even full articles, magazine-style. Running one is pretty easy, and viewing one is even easier – there are dozens of Web, mobile, and desktop apps out there that can bring hundreds of these sources together into one place.

What can I use RSS for?

There are a lot of different ways to use RSS, and they’re not all immediately obvious.

News: Just hook up to a bunch of your favorite news sites and get the day’s headlines delivered straight to your RSS feed. You can customize it to be as broad or narrow as you like, and many readers now offer all kinds of handy tools to filter and sort all the content.

Niche interests: If you’re especially interested in one particular topic, you can connect to any number of blogs and websites that specialize in it. You can have an entire RSS feed about Kanye West, if you really want. Alternatively, follow community events, local businesses, satellite launches – the sky is the limit.

Staying up to date on prices and deals: Lots of sites that monitor deals have RSS feeds, and you can even get updates on flight prices, Craigslist categories, stock and currency activity, et cetera.

Find a job: Some job-search websites have a feature that allows you to constantly get updates whenever a new job appears that fits your search criteria.

You can get pretty creative with the stuff you put in an RSS feed – shipping updates, flight delays, music recommendations, and so on. You can even track Reddit and Digg, if you’re one of the nine people who still uses Digg.

Getting Started: Choose Your Weapon

Because RSS feeds are so easy to generate, you don’t have to worry about content. Your favorite sites are probably set up with them already. The real key to getting the most out of RSS is finding a good reader with a nice design and useful features.

You can get web-based, desktop, mobile, and even browser add-on versions, most of which let you subscribe to up to 100 sites before asking you to pay to upgrade your membership to access more features. There are dozens out there, but these four are a great place to start.

1. InoReader (Web/Android/iOS/Windows Phone)

InoReader has a nice layout, no subscription limit (mostly why it’s on top of this list), and more free features available than average. It’s user-friendly, if a little less sleek than some others, and power users will enjoy how customizable it is.

2. Feedly (Web/Android/iOS)

Feedly is the most popular reader with a smooth, very user-friendly interface. It’s probably the easiest way to get into RSS. You get up to 100 site subscriptions with a free account, and its algorithms are quite good at giving you relevant, trending content.

3. The Old Reader (Web/Android/iOS/macOS/Windows Phone/Linux/Browser Extensions)

Not only does The Old Reader have a pleasant modern-retro interface, but its open API means that it has a lot of access options. It allows up to 100 subscriptions with a relatively inexpensive premium option and is excellent at curating trending content with a social emphasis.

4. NewsBlur (Web/Android/iOS)

NewsBlur‘s interface is a bit clunky, and it only gives you 64 free sites, but the machine learning that lets you zero in on exactly the type of content you want by upvoting or downvoting certain aspects of articles really sets NewsBlur apart.

Create Your Space

Once you’ve decided on a reader, all you have to do is start pulling in your sources. Most RSS readers have a search function that will find pretty much any major site or publication, but if it doesn’t show up there, most things are easy to add manually. Just paste the URL into your RSS reader, and it should automatically find the feed for you or keep an eye out for the RSS symbol on blogs and sites, which will take you straight to their feed. Once you add your sources, you can organize them however works for you!

Check out the RSS feeds of all our categories here

Conclusion: RSS is not dead

If you’re an Internet user from the mid-to-late millennial generation, chances are you don’t currently use RSS and may have never even heard of it. It’s still very much a part of the Internet, though, and it’s refreshingly free of the personal issues and opinions that so often affect information shared on social media. While its information-aggregating properties are nice, RSS’s most valuable feature may now be its ability to help users consciously balance the perspectives they read, going beyond the Facebook and Twitter trends.

Andrew Braun

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What Does The Federal Budget Announcement Mean For Smes And Startups?

The Federal Budget had some hits and misses for SMEs and startups this year: here’s what you need to know.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers. Image: Getty

While the Labor Government and its supporters are celebrating a significant and deserved win today – announcing the first Federal Budget surplus ($4.2b) since 2007 – there are mixed reviews on what it means for SMEs and start-ups.

The major wins for SMEs

A $20,000 instant asset write-off for small businesses with annual turnover below $10 million will be in place from 1 July 2023 to 2024.

A new Small Business Energy Incentive will also be introduced, providing businesses with turnover less than $50 million with a bonus 20% tax deduction for eligible depreciating assets up to $100,000 for energy saving upgrades.

The Budget will also provide $23.4 million to support small businesses to build resilience to cyber threats. This includes the CyberWardens Program: a cyber awareness, education, and accreditation program designed by small businesses for small businesses.

Industry Growth Program to renew the approach and support for small to medium business to commercialise ideas and grow business.

Cashflow assistance through reducing the GDP uplift on PAYGI & GST instalments.

Government expenditure and initiatives on infrastructure, Housing, “Buy Australia Plan” and defence: provides flow on support into small business suppliers.

Additional funding to Productivity, Education and Training Fund, to support engagement and practical activities in relation to workplace reforms.

SMEs are regarded as the “lifeblood” of the Australian economy, accounting for around 99% of all enterprises, and the challenges they have faced over the past few years have been unprecedented. From a global pandemic and national lockdowns to rising cost of living pressures, high inflation and rising interest rates – the pain has been real.  

The Federal Government acknowledged the impact of cyber threats, providing a $23.4 million program to support SMEs to “build resilience” against cyber attacks.

Industry body, the Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA), described the place of SMEs in the budget as: “not on the sideline, not in the spotlight”. COSBOA Chair, Matthew Addison, says while the budget acknowledges the role that SMEs play in the wider economy, here is a need for “greater focus on empowering them, promoting entrepreneurship and providing enhanced reasons to commence and remain in business”.

However some businesses are critical of some Budget measures. Huon Hoogester, MD of solar company Smart Commercial Solar says the $310 million Small Business Energy Incentive “will be wasted on businesses that could already afford to spend that extra money,” as the vast majority don’t have spare cash to spend on non-core business items in the current climate.

“Forgive my skepticism…but 95% of small businesses are not the ones that have the spare cash to be spending on non-core business items at this point in time. So, this money will be wasted on businesses that could already afford to spend that extra money and who are already doing something.

“This cash won’t stimulate new markets and it’s a relatively small amount of money when you consider there are 2.4 million small businesses in Australia, most of them people in cars and utes. Even so, that equates to less than $130 each,” Hoogester said.

Thomas Fu, founder and executive director of Motor Culture was also skeptical of the level of support for business, saying “for the most part SMEs have been left to fend for themselves in a time of immense economic uncertainty”.

“The renewable energy super power scheme seems to be the only area of support for small businesses which, while encouraging from an environmental perspective, requires significant capital investment from start-ups during trying economic times,” Fu says.

COSBOA says areas for improvement in the budget include extending the eligibility for “full expensing” for equipment ordered but not yet installed, the mandating of “least cost routing” or lower debit card transaction fees, mandating e-invoicing, appointing a Small Business Commissioner to Job Skills Australia and further investing in training and skills development.

“To ensure that small businesses in Australia are not left behind and continue to thrive, it is essential that government continue its collaboration with industry associations who represent small and micro business,” Addison says.

Forbes Australia issue no.4 is out now. Tap here to secure your copy or become a member here.

Look back on the week that was with hand-picked articles from Australia and around the world. Sign up to the Forbes Australia newsletter here.

What Does Web Presence Mean?

With more and more people spending more time online and most people using the internet to find new businesses, your business’s web presence is more important than ever. But what exactly makes up your business’s web presence? Here’s a hint: It’s a lot more than just your website.

In this post, we’ll talk about:

What your web presence is.

Why you need a web presence.

How to create a great web presence.

What Makes Up Your Web Presence?

Your business’s web presence is anything and everything about your business that lives online. This can be assets that you create, like your website or social media profiles, or it can be what others say about you online, like user-generated content on social media or reviews on local listings sites.

No matter what type of content it is or who created it, it’s important that you have a handle on the full scope of your business’s web presence. When you take the reins on how your business is presented online, you have the ability to influence consumer behavior positively.

Let’s take a closer look at your business’s web presence, why it matters, and how to create one that works for you.

Why Do You Need a Web Presence?

Even without the stats to back it up, you can probably envision all on your own why it’s so important to have a web presence these days. Think about the last product or service you considered buying. What’s the first thing you did when looking for a solution to your problem?

Maybe you went onto Google and typed in a query, asking where you could find the item you need at a store nearby. Perhaps you turned to Facebook to ask friends for recommendations of their favorite local service provider. Or you might have visited Yelp to read through reviews from strangers.

No matter what approach you took, it’s likely that at least some of your research happened online. And the numbers bear that out. In fact, 88% of today’s consumers do research online before making a purchase, either online or in person. And that percentage may even be higher right now when fewer people are able to make in-person purchases.

If your business doesn’t have a sizable footprint online, allowing you to appear on platforms where consumers may be searching, you’re missing out on the opportunity to capture consumer attention, build trust, and ultimately make the sale.

Your Web Presence Serves You Throughout the Customer Journey

A great business web presence isn’t just about getting discovered. It’s about making sure you’re present for consumers throughout their customer journey.

Different facets of your web presence can help you achieve different marketing goals. Your website, for example, is the heart of your web presence. It’s the place where you should have information that suits consumers across the customer journey ““ from basic information on your homepage for those who are just discovering you, to content that builds trust and authority, to a seamless way for people to contact your sales team or make a purchase online when they’re ready.

How to Create an Effective Web Presence

The process of creating a complete web presence for your business might feel daunting. Establishing a presence on multiple platforms can feel like a lot of work, and in truth, it’s not something you can accomplish overnight.

But if you set out clear goals to develop your web presence, it’s possible to do so in a systematic way. Once you begin ticking things off your to-do list, you’ll feel a lot better about the progress you’re making!

Want to know how your web presence looks right now? Reach out for a free health check!

A strong web presence starts with a well-designed, mobile-friendly site. Of course you want to have helpful content, snazzy visuals, and compelling storytelling, but you also need to make sure your site is mobile-friendly. Google and other search engines consider mobile-friendliness a major factor when determining how to show sites, and if your site is clunky on mobile devices, you’ll lose out on SEO.

Next, you’ll want to make sure you’re present where your audience hangs out online. Target the social media platforms that make the most sense for you.

For example, a B2B brand should definitely be on LinkedIn, whereas an Instagram presence might not be as vital. Once you’re there, build out a profile with consistent branding, so people can clearly make the connection between your profile page and your brand’s larger online footprint.

Establish a presence on local listings sites. Just about every business should be on the big ones — like Yelp and Google My Business — but depending on your field or industry, there might be additional directories specific to your niche that you should consider. Many consumers beeline right to local listings sites to find local solutions, bypassing search or social media, so it’s important you’re present on these platforms.

Finally, make sure you’re creating shareable content. This content can help you bridge the gap between the various facets of your online presence. For example, you post a video on your YouTube channel, embed it on your website, and share it across your social channels. This encourages consumers to move across the various sides of your online presence to learn even more about you.

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Stephanie Heitman

Stephanie is the Associate Director of Content for LocaliQ and WordStream. She has over 10 years of experience in content and social media marketing and loves writing about all things digital marketing. When she’s not researching the latest and greatest marketing news and updates, she’s probably watching reality TV with her husband, reading, or playing with her two pups.

Other posts by Stephanie Heitman

Lecturers And Instructors Seek Union Representation

Lecturers and Instructors Seek Union Representation Group includes 250 on Charles River Campus

Last year the union drive extended from part-time to full-time teaching staff at Tufts and Lesley Universities, where bargaining units are now in contract talks with Local 509. Photo courtesy of CentralMassAficio.org

One year after part-time faculty at the University voted to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509, a portion of full-time nontenured lecturers and instructors at BU have petitioned the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for permission to vote to do the same. The new group, which consists of more than 250 lecturers and instructors on the Charles River Campus, will be sent mail-in ballots by the NLRB on March 22. In order to remain free of union representation, a majority of those voting will need to vote “no” in the upcoming election.

The organizational effort is the latest chapter in a larger movement at colleges and universities in the Boston area, a campaign that has unionized part-time faculty at Tufts, Bentley, Brandeis, Lesley, and Northeastern Universities.

Last year the drive extended from part-time to full-time teaching staff at Tufts and Lesley, where bargaining units are now in contract talks with Local 509. The Boston Globe reports that the Tufts group has about 100 members and at Lesley there are nearly 200.

Judi Burgess, BU’s labor relations director, says the University’s negotiations with the initial unit, which represents about 750 part-time faculty, are moving along on several issues. BU Today reported last year that among those issues were expected to be compensation, working conditions, and part-time faculty’s role in decision-making.

Burgess says the eligibility of individuals to vote in the petitioned-for group of full-time nontenured faculty was agreed upon with the union this past Friday. Those who are eligible are all nontenured or non-tenure-track lecturers, senior lecturers, master lecturers, and instructors who are salaried (whether full-time, part-time, or half-time) and who teach at least one credit-bearing course on the Charles River Campus, including in the Metropolitan College Prison Program.

Excluded from the bargaining unit are all professors (full, associates, and assistants and professors of the practice); faculty compensated solely on a per-course basis; faculty at the School of Medicine, the Goldman School of Dental Medicine, and the School of Law; the Questrom School of Business graduate faculty; and deans, provosts, administrators, department chairs, and associate chairs. Also excluded are postdocs, graduate assistants, and graduate students; athletics coaches; lecturers, senior lecturers, master lecturers, or instructors who teach only courses at campuses other than Charles River (with the exception of the Metropolitan College Prison Program) or non-degree-granting courses (including the Center for Professional Education); the directors of the Writing Program and the Health Communication Program; the chairs of the Mechanical Engineering Course Review Committee and the Undergraduate Lab Safety Committee; the manager of the Global Hospitality Education Consortium; the director/coordinator of the College of Communication Adjunct Writing Program; all faculty who teach exclusively in online programs; managers, confidential employees, guards, and supervisors; and all other employees of the University.

Burgess notes that the eligibility of certain potential voters, including those who serve on the University Council, is subject to challenge since their eligibility has not been resolved. If the union should win the election, the NLRB will hold a hearing on the status of these individuals and whether they should be excluded from the bargaining unit.

Julie Sandell, associate provost for faculty affairs and a School of Medicine professor of anatomy and neurobiology, describes the upcoming vote as disheartening. She says the lecturers, senior lecturers, master lecturers, and instructors in the prospective bargaining unit are already highly regarded and treated as regular members of the faculty, including being assigned the same annual salary raise pool as the professorial full-time faculty.

“Our lecturers generally have contracts for one to three years,” Sandell says. “Senior and master lecturers usually have longer contracts. They are members in the Faculty Assembly, and they already have access to the same benefits as other faculty members, such as health and retirement benefits and tuition remission.”

When the University develops new faculty policies, she says, lecturers have been included; for example, prospective bargaining unit members have been able to take paid Childbirth Leave and Primary Caregiver Workload reduction since 2011, when these policies went into effect for faculty. She says lecturers have a path to senior and master lecturer and are rewarded for promotions.

“Our full-time lecturers are highly valued and recognized,” says Sandell. “Three years ago, a master lecturer in physics won the Metcalf Cup and Prize, and senior lecturers have won Metcalf Awards as recently as last year. These are our highest teaching honors. In short, we value our full-time lecturers, and we treat them well. It is disheartening to think that the prospective voters expect to develop a better relationship with the University by choosing exclusive representation by the SEIU. Today our full-time lecturers are faculty colleagues; if the majority of voters choose SEIU representation, they will all become represented employees. There is a world of difference.”

The Local 509 Faculty Forward website says that “the election petition marks the latest milestone in the growing faculty union movement, with more than 3,500 Boston-area educators united in a shared effort to improve their profession and the overall quality of higher education through unionization.”

In a prepared statement sent to the Boston Globe, Bill Marx, a senior lecturer in the College of Arts & Sciences Writing Program, said, “This action comes down to recognizing the value of the job we do in educating our students, improving the conditions under which we work, and the active role we must play in the decision-making process.”

Burgess says ballots for the vote will be mailed to faculty by the NLRB on March 22, and must be returned to the NLRB by close of business on April 5, 2024. The NLRB address is 10 Causeway St., Floor 6, Boston, MA 02222-1001. Ballots will be counted at the NLRB on April 6, 2024, at 11 a.m. Last year’s vote by part-time faculty passed by a two-to-one majority.

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