The American economy has changed considerably since the first union formed in the United States during the 19th century.
Today’s sharing economy has revolutionized the way we live and work, empowering Americans, especially those in younger generations, to innovate and pursue their dream careers in the U.S. workforce.
Competition comes along with new technologies and opportunities. In a free market, some models succeed while others inevitably fail. Uber and Lyft’s dominance of the ridesharing industry are a prime example of successful business models adapting and competing today.
Labor unions, on the other hand, are a prime example of an outdated model failing to adapt to the changing economy.
Union members in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees are even starting to ask questions like: are goats coming to steal our jobs?
AFSCME recently filed a grievance against Western Michigan University for hiring a goat cleanup crew, accusing the Kalamazoo-based college of taking jobs from laid-off union members.
Union President Dennis Moore told the Battle Creek Enquirer:
AFSCME takes protecting the jobs of its members very seriously and we have an agreed-upon collective bargaining agreement with Western Michigan. We expect the contract to be followed, and in circumstances where we feel it’s needed, we file a grievance.
The grievance? The union claimed its members were not notified about “Munchers on Hooves,” the crew of 20 goats contracted to clean-up invasive plant species on campus.
Western Michigan University spokeswoman Cheryl Roland was not kidding around when she explained:
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.
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.
Western Michigan University’s landscaping services horticulturist added, “Goats are low impact, they don’t emit pollution that machinery would, and have adapted to the terrain that would otherwise lead to potential human injuries.”
Using the goat crew to eliminate invasive plant species and poison ivy is widely supported by faculty and students alike as the most logical solution to the campus’ plant overgrowth problem.
It’s a shame that AFSCME would try to undermine sustainable and efficient solutions that save students and Michigan taxpayers money.
Young Americans know that scapegoating businesses like “Munchers on Hooves” is not the answer.
AFSCME’s attempt to stifle competition will not help restore the union’s anemic membership numbers or bring back jobs lost due to a changing economy. Instead, this latest incident will only further undermine the declining union’s credibility.