Once a year, each NTEU chapter attends a National Training Conference. The training is crucial for stewards, new and seasoned, because it gives us information directly from NTEU National. One of the big topics this year was the changes to the contract. The new contract comes out in October this year and in training we discussed the changes with NTEU, National Vice President Jim Bailey. This gives each chapter the opportunity to review the changes and prepare to defend them to management. We were also trained on NTEU’s congressional role and how to get members involved at the grassroots level. Congress has the authority to set and make changes to your pay and your retirement. It is important for NTEU leaders to play a role in educating its members on how we can work to influence the outcomes of the issues that affect Federal employees. We have also witnessed an increase in investigatory interviews (i.e., TIGTA) and were trained on how to best represent employees in these situations. Under the CSRA, Civil Service Reform Act, Unions have the right to represent employees in two types of meetings, formal and investigatory. These rights are commonly referred to as the Weingarten right and entitles the employee to representation during the investigatory meeting if the employee has a reasonable fear that discipline may ensue. I have been a steward for more than three years and these training sessions never fail to teach me things I thought I already knew. Having NTEU National Office on hand to give advice and answer questions is priceless.