Public-sector unions versus . . . Goats

Yes, goats are taking away our jobs, says AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.

It happened at Western Michigan University, which has a contract with the union barring non-AFSCME employees from certain jobs, including grass-trimming.

The Foundation for Economic Education reports on the job-stealing goat saga. 

The basics are simple:

  1. The goats were brought in during the summer to clear poisonous brush and overgrowth around campus
  2. Those tasks are hard for humans to do
  3. Renting a team of 20 goats for the summer was a good way to do it, environmentally friendly, and inexpensive
  4. The goats, rented from a local farmer, were very effective, cleaned out the 15 acres quickly, and were ready for more.
  5. Since the school had already rented them for the rest of the summer, they decided to let them continue grazing as a “lawn-mowing” service.
    • That was not the school’s original intent, but it was a useful, if unexpected, way to save taxpayer money.
  6. Lawn mowing is normally at AFSCME union job.
  7. The union considers the goats scabs and has filed a grievance.

Comment: A spokesman for the goats said they were concerned about “cheaper Chinese goats.”