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West Michigan Union Files Grievance Against A Herd of Goats

Goats are scary enough with their squinty devil eyes and their propensity to eat anything you put in front of them, but now they’re taking people’s jobs from them, and that ain’t right.

I’m not really sure where you build a wall to keep goats out, but a union in Kalamazoo is pretty ticked off about a goat crew that works on the campus of Western Michigan University.

According to the Battle Creek Enquirer, the 400 member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has filed a grievance with WMU because a goat crew of 20 working a field on the campus is keeping jobs from some of their laid off employees.

The union claims that their contract to landscape the campus means that any job to remove overgrowth should go to their workers, not to goats.

The goats, who work without contract for a place called Munchers on Hooves in Coldwater, have been clearing out an area near Goldworth pond.

Garrett Fickle, the owner of Munchers on Hooves told WOOD-TV 8 last month that goats can clear the woodlot in a way heavy machinery can’t.

“When you use a Bobcat to try to clear things, it just compacts the ground, tears up your seeds,” Fickle said. “It takes your seeds that are dormant and brings them to the surface, then allows them to grow. Well, when a goat goes to the bathroom, the seed doesn’t grow.”

Wait. What? Who the hell is using a bobcat to do landscaping? Suddenly, I’m on the union’s side. Everyone in the animal kingdom knows bobcats are scabs.

Campus spokesperson Cheryl Roland told the Enquirer the goats have special skills the workers don’t:

“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. Not wanting to use chemicals, either, we chose the goat solution to stay environmentally friendly.”

In other words, the goats aren’t technically mowing the lawn, so they’re exempt from union rules about landscaping the campus.

The union, however, feels differently.

“AFSCME takes protecting the jobs of its members very seriously and we have an agreed-upon collective bargaining agreement with Western Michigan,” Union President Dennis Moore told the Enquirer. “We expect the contract to be followed, and in circumstances where we feel it’s needed, we file a grievance.”

When reached for comment, the goats replied that they weren’t aware of the union’s gripe, and will hold a vote on whether to join the union.

Okay, I made that last part up, the goats really just said:

 

 

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