My junior monkeys, want real change?

Having now left banking, I truly feel for you all. I've had some of the hours you guys are now experiencing far before WFH and it is truly miserable. I myself suffered from physical and mental health issues from workload.

If just ONE middle market or boutique bank can pull this off I guarantee that real change will happen across the industry. 

Get your analyst class to start unionizing.

Want to actually see your MDs give a shit and be concerned about your workload?

Want to have an actual vacation? 

Want to not work seven days a week for a year straight?

Want that "protected weekend" actually protected?

Want more than one hour a day to take care of personal issues and errands?

Want change that will actually last and not just some shitty townhall telling you take a break?

Want to be treated like a human instead of getting a Peloton and another last minute pitch?


Band together with your analyst class, because you have more power than you think. As as collective analyst class they can't fire you all, it would be an absolute nightmare for the bank if they did, not to mention the legal ramifications and negative press. Hell even if you only get half of your class, the effort and time to even replace half a class would be hell, MDs might even have to open an excel file! (Microsoft Office Suite has an app for iPhone right???) 

Thanks to the bold 13 at GS, the media is already on your side, even those who dislike bankers feel for the 21 year old kids being worked to death. 

Even the start of the process to unionize will have DJ D-SOL himself shaking is his little Gucci loafs. 

At this point this is a workplace safety issue. How many analyst have died from being overworked in the past five years? Moelis, GS, Lincoln, BofA, City, and I'm sure I'm missing several others. This is just deaths directly from the job. Not even including the physical and mental health issues countless juniors have suffered and are still suffering. 

There's no better time than now. You even have the benefit to use WSO (an anonymous forum) where you can at least start floating this to others at your bank. 

While I'm no longer in the industry, it would be incredible to see real changes happen and stay for good. 

Do it for your fellow lost bankers who actually worked themselves to death.

Do it for yourself.

Do it for your friends and family who wish they could do a dinner or brunch with you (with out you bringing your laptop or having to cancel last minute).

Do it for your girlfriend/boyfriend.

Do it for your physical and mental health. 

Do it for the prospects who will benefit from your bravery and courage to push the change forward.

Start talking to your fellow analyst and reach out to a union organizer. 

Be the change you want to see.

Comments (53)

Mar 26, 2021 - 4:20pm
Bears2021, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It's a brilliant idea. Unions make it hard to receive performance based bonuses, however.   

But it really is a brilliant idea. Any one who doesn't support unions is either deluded, a billionaire, a sycophant or a psychopath.   

Even if some unions are rubbish, the net sum of their impact has been positive for the average person. 

Mar 26, 2021 - 5:43pm
Graham Cracker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Negative for who? And why are you comparing public sector unions, who aren't bargaining with fiduciaries, with private sector unions?

Why do you think it is in the interest of workers to not unionize? Skilled labor that has unionized does extremely well and they have successfully extracted substantial parts of the excess economic profits from the business owners. That's why union electricians and welders and the like can earn >$150k in lower COL areas and never work close to the amounts of a banker and have better benefits.

There is a reason why jr banker compensation is DOWN, not up, since the 80s. Look up posts here from pre-GFC. Associates were paid more in absolute dollars than they are now in spite of all of these firms having record revenue.

Sure, unions don't help the companies, but who cares? The purpose of unionizing is to extract a great proportion of the $$ available. What other leverage do you think jr bankers have? The greatest analyst at GS isn't paid less than every associate based on performance or value add, so wtf are you even talking about?

Mar 27, 2021 - 11:05pm
pokemonntcg, what's your opinion? Comment below:

In both cases, the employees are being paid below their value added (hence why they're employed in the first place-their benefit exceeds their cost), but the company's profit off of the union guy is less than that for the non-union guy. So when you say is the union plumber adding double the value of the non-union plumber, the obvious answer is no, but you're asking the wrong question. The question you should be asking is how much of the value added by the plumber should the company keep. Most people would agree that companies keep too much of the value added by the employee, which explain s the resurgence in the popularity of unions.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Mar 28, 2021 - 6:46am

Maybe take some basic Econ classes on unions and their impact on the marginal worker before comments like this.

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Mar 29, 2021 - 3:09am

U serious bro? In Introduction to Microeconomics at Princeton, first semester, our prof showed us a list of "controversial" political topics that were universally (90%+) agreed upon by economists to be positive or negative. Unions were a positive on there. I still remember that.

Mar 30, 2021 - 1:44pm
TJWFfan, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Performance based bonuses get taxed at 50% anyway after federal state and city tax. Would much rather take collective bargaining to get a base salary increase. The market analyst pay of 85k hasn't increased from at least summer 2016 (from a friend I knew who was an analyst then) rent food and general cost of living has gone up substantially since (except for covid impact) still think it should at least be in line with inflation

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 16, 2021 - 12:00am

Or maybe someone who was born and raised in a Communist country like USSR and experienced the reality of your ideology and its a shit life for all except the ruling class and the union leaders

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Mar 26, 2021 - 4:28pm

Realistically speaking, at an MM or smaller boutique this may be possible but for big BB's and even EB's, it would probably backtrack them maybe a week or so before they re-hire people. I'm sure that there is an endless supply of people willing to eat shit for 2 years just to have a seat in banking. 

  • Business School in IB - Cov
Mar 26, 2021 - 6:41pm


Why does WSO, Litquidity, and other Investment Banking social media accounts have hundreds of thousands of followers? I think it's because way too many people idolize what is a really ruff and overrated job. I don't think unions will help because there is an endless line of people that will eat shit for 2 years.

Everyone on this forum always talks about how easy this job is and how you don't use your brain at all...

Going to a target and getting good grades is required to GET the job but not to DO the job. Meaning a million non target students will be chomping to do this job when a bank fires all the unionized analysts.

Someone should try it though lol. Just guessing it doesn't work.

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Mar 27, 2021 - 7:34am

Realistically speaking, how long do you think it actually takes a bank to hire someone? Imagine the PR backlash of firing people for unionising in 2021..

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Mar 26, 2021 - 4:29pm

Doesn't work like that just like communism didn't. If you don't like the hours / lifestyle - leave the industry. Eventually, less and less smart people will want to stay, they will realise they need to either increase pay or reduce the hours. 

Free market works beautifully. We are paid / work just how much we deserve, no one is forcing us to stay in.

Most Helpful
Mar 26, 2021 - 4:55pm
Graham Cracker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It is a silly idea, but unions aren't communism and this is literally the free market. Collective bargaining is a strategy to maximize value. Failing to understand that is some of the smoothest brain non target shit ever.

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Mar 27, 2021 - 9:41pm

The problem is that there is a supply & demand issue here. Literally thousands of people would happilly replace the average BB Analyst. Knowingly taking on a horrible WLB because they know that IB opens so many doors. 

Mar 27, 2021 - 10:02pm
marcellus_wallace, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Do you guys really want better "WLB" and "working conditions". Or you just want to be paid more, have top bucket matter more and salaries to go up? Be honest. No one cares for meal stipends if you paid more, in fact plenty people will eat "cup o noodle" and save the dollars for later.

Unions make no sense.

  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Mar 28, 2021 - 2:16pm

Personally, I just want better WLB, and tbf my group at an EB is pretty good about trying to keep people sane and happy. Without a doubt if I could wave a magic wand and have max 70hr weeks (4x15hr M-Th and 10hr on Friday) I wouldn't care about the marginal dollar of top bucket or $20k pay increases for juniors. If you're single in NYC or CA, that marginal dollar is already getting taxed something like 45%+, and it's only going to get worse when Biden's tax plan goes through.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Mar 28, 2021 - 9:27am

I just listened to a speech by Milton Friedman about unions and I love how some guys here think they are representing the free market opinion by saying bankers should not unionize because it doesn't help them. Friedman argues that we should not let people get away with unionizing, but he clearly says that unions work for the people in the union.

His argument basically is made with the pilot unions and medical associations. By requiring licensing e.g., these professions have successfully kept their salaries high by shutting out any competing labor supply (the thousands of guys willing to eat shit for working at a BB). The people trying to break into the industry get f*d for the benefit of people currently in the industry.

Not saying this would work perfectly for banking etc. but found this interesting to add.

TL;DR: Friedman says unions work perfectly for the highly-skilled unionized workers while giving the shaft to everyone else.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Mar 29, 2021 - 10:06am

Not sure whether it is in one of his books, but the speech is on Youtube and called "Milton Friedman - Rights of Workers"

Mar 30, 2021 - 1:38pm
FinGriffey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

That is correct. Highly skilled industries where constant certification is necessary. I agree with some aspects. Even then, for everyone else it's a poison pill. It has entirely made teachers unions defunct and is one of the most salaciously corrupt mechanisms in modern America. Not every outcome of unions are bad, but history is replete with the failures. It just works against human nature in my opinion and places emphasis on collectivist ends where skill is diluted.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Mar 28, 2021 - 2:37pm

Look at this prospect here, he's so cool, he knows how to spell a bank name. Stfu 

  • 3
Mar 29, 2021 - 10:13am
fvckthisbs69, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Would work until you realize total compensation would probably decrease for top bucket kids and banks realize they can fire all their target kids that unionize for millions of non-targets desperate for a shot

Mar 30, 2021 - 1:31pm
FinGriffey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You know it's propaganda from the jump if a post evangelizes all upside and no downside. Stop with the collectivist groupthink. It's toxic. Everyone is responsible for themselves, for bargaining on their own behalf. If you don't like something, this is a free country and therefor you are capable of changing your path or doing something else. No one is forcing anyone to do anything.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Mar 31, 2021 - 10:17am

Well, for those of us who DO want to unionize, any tips about how to do it? Virtually? Anonymously? 

Analysts have never done this before, it's worth a shot to revamp an inefficient industry that survives off of the backs of analyst labor - yes many people would kill for the job, that doesn't negate the fact that we can still fight for better conditions and similar ish pay (look at tech, consulting, etc) 

  • Associate 1 in IB - Restr
Mar 31, 2021 - 6:51pm

I don't want to wind up having my legs broken by a goon because I bucked the IB Local 157's position and voted against the La Croix delivery contract renewal. 

I'll always have a soft spot for unions because one got me paid $35/hr to shovel rocks as a 19-year old w/out requiring me to pay dues.  That said, outside of government, they are the most corrupt and counter-productive organizations I can think of. 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Apr 1, 2021 - 9:55pm

I studied unions / labor econ in college with professors who literally wrote the book on the space (Cornell ILR School) and am an analyst at a BB/EB in NYC. To touch seriously on a few points:

  • collective bargaining does a great job of leveling the playing field ($ spread) between employees and management in highly skilled industries 
  • unionized employees on balance out earn non unionized employees 
  • unionized employees on balance have better benefits and perks than non unionized employees (read: work/life balance) 
  • the points on supply/demand in people willing to take these jobs are valid but it should be noted that media pressure would be stronger than BBs have faced in years (see: Amazon and unionizing in factories) which would make firing employees (also illegal) impossible and if a unionization effort succeeds the barriers to entry in IB would only increase (bonus throughout the process could easily be hit)
  • unions and collective bargaining are not communism. unions have facilitated key function in free markets in the past 

Now as pro-union and collective bargaining as I am, is this likely/possible? No. We are talking about the same 20-30 year olds who circle jerk target schools, BB/EBs, and MFs. I doubt there would be anyone willing to take the risk of hurting their bonus in the short term (esp. given how short of a time an average person spends in industry) to go through with the effort even if it was good for them. After all, people chose IB because they are risk adverse. 

Happy to answer any serious questions about unions / collective bargaining / labor economics when I am not absolutely swamped 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Dec 25, 2021 - 5:08am

At what point would a banker be booted from a union? MDs wouldn't dare strike for reasons including hurting their client relationships, and they benefit from working juniors harder. 

Apr 9, 2021 - 1:12pm
ag monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The thing you will need to keep in mind is does the client/customer actually value the 100 page PPTs slammed together.  If not, IBs can slim down their teams and focus on the stuff that clients/customers actually want.  I wouldn't over estimate the perceived power as a collective group.

May 18, 2021 - 8:37pm
PainterDry, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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