Purchase of Cold Weather Clothing, Rock Island District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
B-289683, Oct 7, 2002
The financial manager for the Rock Island District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requested an advance decision on the availability of appropriated funds for the purchase of cold weather gear for union employees who work outside in cold weather. The American Federation of Government Employees filed a grievance alleging that the Corps violated its collective bargaining agreement by not providing suitable protective clothing for employees requested to work outdoors in cold weather. The Corps, relying upon the decisions of our Office and contending that such an expenditure was improper, agreed to arbitration by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). In August 2001, the arbitrator issued a decision directing the Corps to provide the cold weather gear. The Corps asks whether appropriated funds are available to purchase cold weather gear for district employees who work outdoors year round.