Local 1668 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has filed a grievance about goats that are allegedly taking jobs away from human workers. The grievance alleges that Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo violated its collective bargaining agreement with the AFSCME by subcontracting landscaping work to goats belonging to Munchers on Hooves, LLC, while nine Union-represented employees are on layoff. The goats have been employed by the university the last two years to clean up underbrush.

According to the university, the goats can “landscape” without resort to weed-killing chemicals and human exposure to the dangers of the woods, including poison ivy. One of the owners of Munchers said that the goats are taking care of areas that have not been touched for years. At last report, the goats were clearing 15 acres of woods and leaving natural fertilizer. The goats will go on “temporary layoff” about one week before the WMU students return for the fall semester. If the AFSCME grievance goes to arbitration, the arbitrator will certainly have to take this case by the horns.