Forget automation and AI, are goats taking away union jobs? (Malthus! arbitrage!)
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.
Garrett Fickle and his wife, Gina, the owners of Munchers on Hooves in Coldwater, rent out their four-footed “lawn mowers” to homeowners, commercial property owners and other clients.
…The goats are ahead of schedule, said Nicholas Gooch, a university horticulturist and the project leader.
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.”
Here is the full story, via Rayman Mohamed.