A Michigan labor union is less than happy with a group of hungry goats they claim are taking jobs from unemployed union members at Western Michigan University.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a 400-member strong union, filed an official grievance claiming, “the work the goats are doing in a wooded lot is taking away jobs from laid-off union workers.”

Goats are often used by local and county governments to assist in keeping ground cover and brush ‘trimmed’ without the expense of hiring a ground crew.

The Battle Creek Enquirer reports:

“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.

The goats were formally introduced to the campus and local community on June 2 in parking lot 51 of the Sindecuse Health Center.

Unlike anything union related, the goats are ahead of schedule.

No word on if union members have directly confronted the goat crews, though I imagine an encounter would go down something like this:

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