{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "What would it take for us to become unionized? When will we push for this? We need unions to protect our hours or demand overtime pay for time over 60 hrs a week. What do you think, or know that's in the works?", "post_id": "607b0d89bada9900214f219a", "reply_count": 92, "vote_count": 86, "bowl_id": "564a5cdb94887803001dd07c", "bowl_name": "Accounting" }

What would it take for us to become unionized? When will we push for this? We need unions to protect our hours or demand overtime pay for time over 60 hrs a week. What do you think, or know that's in the works?

likefunnyupliftinghelpfulsmart
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Honestly—and this isn’t a purposeful slight against union supporters—but I don’t think you guys are being realistic about the economy these days. Every year we hear stories of a union factory in the Midwest that shuts down and reopens in Mexico or China. The reason is costs, plain and simple. Public accounting is already an archaic industry that is squeezed by small profit margins and ever-increasing regulatory expectations, we can’t handle any more costs. (Btw I think we deserve higher pay for the work we do, I just don’t think it’s realistic.) Firms are already forcing large amounts of work to India where the quality is much lower but where costs are lower too. If you think unionizing is going to fix anything you’ll also have to close the border to immigration and trade as there’s always some guy on their other side who will work for much less. Great case study—the rust belt!

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KPMG1: I agree with the first part of your post but most companies have stock options. A higher percentage of employees in corporate America get equity from their employers.

It takes people like you. Stand up to your Tim and your partners and demand a union! "Blood alone moves the wheels of history! Have you ever asked yourselves in an hour of meditation, which everyone finds during the day,how long we have been striving for greatness? Not only the years we've been at war, the war of work, but from the moment as a child when we realized that the world could be conquered. It has been a lifetime struggle. A never-ending fight. I say to you, and you will understand that it is a privilege to fight! We are warriors! (Accountants) of (the world), I ask you once more: Rise and be worthy of this historical hour! No revolution is worth anything if it cannot defend itself! Some people will tell you (an accountant) is a bad word. They'll conjure up images of used car dealers and door to door charlatans. This is our duty: to change their perception. I say (male accountants)... and women of the world unite! We must never acquiesce for it is together, TOGETHER, THAT WE PREVAIL! We must never cede control of the motherland!" Dwight Schrute

likefunny
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If this is the way you feel you’re in the wrong industry. We all know what the hours and expectations were when we accepted our job offers.

likesmartfunny

I wonder what factors lead to high hours in B4 accounting: I think that public accounting has pretty high attrition because people leverage their learnings / titles to get into industry so they have to overwork employees while they can, B4 firms have the power of brand as well because industry / corporates like to hire people with B4 brands on resume (so they have the upper hand in the sense that they have a high labor pool to choose from, I imagine mostly recent grads, which effectively makes them a secondary educator, so since they pay you and have to train you they also have to overwork you), seasonal things like tax season, etc. Ultimately I don’t think a labor union would necessarily solve all this, the existing system isn’t designed for stable long term work, it’s designed to burn out people and reward those that survive, pretty sad but I think this is the reality. I am fortunate to never have experienced B4 accounting, but basically the system is kind of strange in this way, I think the best strategy is to train up and hire out as quick as you can (I believe most people recommend once you become a senior for a year or two). If we lived in a world where there was a big 10 or big 25 things would probably be better in terms of employers having market power, but who knows.

Definitely will never happen in countries where businesses are more important than humans (ex: USA).

likefunny

EY5, and in Europe they import labor from countries such as the US, South Africa, Brazil, etc. to do the work the European workers are unwilling to do... an audit doesn’t suddenly lose the amount of work required just because it’s in a country where people aren’t used to overtime...

I stg I see this post at least once a week. Keep dreaming. The era of unions has come and gone.

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If you think forming a union is going to increase your comp to 200k, you’re nuts. Enjoy predetermined 2% COL annual raises, union dues, and the fact that you don’t control your career (the union does). If you want to be in a union, there’s plenty of trade jobs out there.

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I come from a family of union carpenters. Yes, it’s a decent living but not 3 homes and a bait like this board thinks every public accounting partner has. Yes there was protection around working conditions and pay but there were downsides. While they would technically get overtime pay for time over 40 hours that almost never happened. Instead the company would just hire more people. Then, when the job was over the whole crew would get laid off. No vacation time or holidays. If they had to leave a few hours early they didn’t get paid. They even had certain times they were allowed to use the bathroom. Also, people with 30 years experience made the same amount as people with 3-4 years experience. In our industry, when you work hard you get to make more. And one day you can even become owner. The tradesman making the same money for the past 30 years didn’t get that offered to them. Finally, unions are about sticking together. Our industry is not like that. We saw that with covid when people at my firm said let’s lay off the weaker people so they could get raises. And the stereotype of unions is they protect the weak. In our case, the “weak” might be the ones complaining about the hours. So when I was a staff I saw how much the partners made and said I’m going to work hard and do that one day. The union jobs in our society don’t allow that. So when I was a staff if they took that opportunity away from me and told me I would never make more than 75k a year but would long have to work more than 40 hours I would never agree to that.

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It would take a reduction in greed, pride, cowardice, cultish loyalty, and selfishness among employees. Fortunately, given the proud, condescending, over-achieving, cutthroat, risk-adverse, wealth worshipping, fiscal conservative types that make up the industry... "A miracle."

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EY5: someone already mentioned this elsewhere, but in the US anyone manager and above can’t legally be in a union. I think P1 is pointing out that enough employees hold out that ambition to not want to form a union since they’d only be a part of it 5 years before having to deal with it on the other end. Even if significantly under 50% of people make manager, you have close to that who start out considering it and 1st years make up 30% of Big 4 employees.

likehelpful

You are in the wrong profession, dude.

likefunny

It doesn't make sense to unionize a partnership, there's literally a light at the end of the tunnel where you become an owner, it's not a private corporation where you're rallying against budget lex luthor.

likesmart

PwC5, that light at the end of the tunnel is the train that is going to run over 9/10 of the folks that joined the same year as someone who makes partner...

Union talk aside, it’s pretty disheartening that so many defend the practice of working people into the ground. They do it because you let them.

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If we unionize, presumably the accounting firms would push for 5 years as an associate and no growth beyond senior associate since you can’t be management AND be part of the workers Union. Would you be willing to be a senior associate for the rest of your life?

likesmart

Unions *generally* skew towards promoting based on seniority not so much in skill or talent or performance. Feel like people love the idea of unionization so they can work less hours but don’t realize their hard work will be minimized even if they perform well

Yeah - And we can all start wearing red hats that say “Make Accounting Great Again” ..

likefunny

We must crush the hated fascists. Onward to Berlin comrades! (Oops wrong Bowl)

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funny

I have never taken a Union job. I want my accomplishments to be based on my own initiative, abilities, diligence and innovation, not on some political hack union rep negotiating for everyone as if we were all just herd animals. Told what you can make, how you can work, when and where you can work, with union dues being taken out of your income and used for enrichment of the union bosses and their political masters? No thanks. Unions are no longer about the rights and wellbeing of the workers, but the power of the few. There’s a reason union membership has dropped precipitously over the decades to only a little over 6% in the private sector. Pay attention to what’s going on in the economy and society before jumping on an idea over a century old that outlived its usefulness and original intent to morph into an oligarchy that serves its masters, not its members. Do some reading and research.

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The primary reason for dropping unionization is actually globalization. Corporate America is always looking to screw workers and moving jobs to the third world is a great way to do it. You should follow your own advice - research the real reasons!

When people in the industry desire to be rewarded based on their hire date and to pay union fees unionization will seem like a good idea

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How would unions work? Would it be all non-partner employees? Would pay become standardized based upon service time? Not saying it wouldn’t work but all things that would need to be answered.

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Remember Jan's response from "The Office" on the unionizing at scranton branch? Yeah we'll hear that from the partners.

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How about we all push for 4 day/35 hour work weeks so that as technology makes more efficient the lives of all workers get better.

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I’ll pass. Thanks. 😂

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The way to higher pay is to get less people willing to do the job. If the people who don’t think the pay and opportunity are worth the money would quit, then the people who are willing to work the hours will make more money.

Good point EY 2 - that seems to be the “evolve or die” solution to all this. Develop a technology skill set that can’t outsourced. Regardless, I don’t think OP has thought this through all that much.

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