Goats are at the center of a public union grievance against Western Michigan University for taking jobs that supposedly belong to union workers.
The jobs in question involve clearing the land of poison ivy and other noxious weeds that goats are willing to do for free.
Please consider Are Goats Taking Jobs from Union Workers?
A battle is brewing at Western Michigan University this summer between a group of hungry goats and a labor union.
The 400-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has filed a grievance contending that the work the goats are doing in a wooded lot is taking away jobs from laid-off union workers.
“AFSCME takes protecting the jobs of its members very seriously and we have an agreed-upon collective bargaining agreement with Western Michigan,” said Union President Dennis Moore. “We expect the contract to be followed, and in circumstances where we feel it’s needed, we file a grievance.”
The grievance alleges that the university did not notify the union that it was planning to use goat crews on campus,according to a chief steward report supplied to the Battle Creek Enquirer.
University spokeswoman Cheryl Roland said a small goat crew has been on campus this summer, but not to cut grass.
“For the second summer in a row, we’ve brought in a goat crew to clear undergrowth in a woodlot, much of it poison ivy and other vegetation that is a problem for humans to remove,” Roland said. “Not wanting to use chemicals, either, we chose the goat solution to stay environmentally friendly.
“The area is rife with poison ivy and other invasive species, and our analysis showed the goats to be a sustainable and cost-effective way of removing them,” she added.