Home » Rep. DeSaulnier, Sen. Smith Introduce Legislation To Improve Workers’ Access To Secure Retirement And Health Care

Rep. DeSaulnier, Sen. Smith Introduce Legislation To Improve Workers’ Access To Secure Retirement And Health Care


Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA-11), Chair of the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, and Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) introduced legislation—the Employee and Retiree Access to Justice Act—to ensure that individuals have meaningful recourse when they are denied retirement and health benefits, including mental health and substance use disorder treatment, under an employer-sponsored plan.

The bill furthers the longstanding promise of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to ensure workers and their families are afforded “appropriate remedies, sanctions, and ready access to the Federal courts.”

“Forced arbitration and class action waivers are just some of the many ways bad actor employers get away with systemic denial of important benefits. As Chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions, I am proud to introduce this legislation that would take those tools out of employer’s toolboxes and help ensure robust health benefits for retirees, including mental health benefits, so that they can live with dignity and financial security in retirement,” said Congressman DeSaulnier.

An increasing number of individuals enrolled in ERISA-covered retirement and health plans are impacted by plan provisions and employment agreements that require the arbitration of claims that arise from improper benefit denials or fiduciary breaches. These forced arbitration agreements deny access to the courts and are often combined with class action waivers, which prohibit plaintiffs from joining together to correct systemic wrongdoing that harms many individuals, often across multiple plans.


The Employee and Retiree Access to Justice Act would strengthen workers’ access to the retirement and health care benefits by:

  • Deeming forced arbitration clauses, class action waivers, representative waivers, and discretionary clauses unenforceable with respect to ERISA and common law claims relating to benefits;
  • Prohibiting the inclusion of such provisions in plan documents; and
  • Prohibiting retaliations against individuals who decline to enter into forced arbitration agreements.


WC---Creeker May 13, 2022 - 10:30 AM - 10:30 AM

Repaying a favor to the legal community or expecting one in the future…

S May 13, 2022 - 10:38 AM - 10:38 AM

Will this include that a person actually has to “EARN” their pension?

Or is it another version of our money going to some loafer?

Dorothy May 13, 2022 - 11:08 AM - 11:08 AM

That will be DOA I’m sure.

Fred May 13, 2022 - 11:12 AM - 11:12 AM

What retirement benefits? This is just a patchwork approach to retirement and healthcare. I have SS, 401k and Medicare which I assume that is what the majority get these days. Of course I retired in Texas and you are basically on your own there.

JRocks May 13, 2022 - 11:28 AM - 11:28 AM

If you don’t know about PAGA do some research. “Forced” arbitration agreements are the only defense a small business owner has against frivolous class action lawsuits for “wage and hour” complaints filed by scum bag lawyers. PAGA is the new ADA it’s practically a cottage industry in California. Don’t let Marky Marky and the Commie Bunch fool you with flowery language about protecting workers. This act is explicitly written to protect the income stream of class action lawyers. If you read the fine print this law will not apply to collective bargaining agreements that organized labor uses.

Marky is once again showing his true colors. A true hack and shill for special interest groups.

Everything the Dems do is inflationary. Vote this POS out of office.

Ignatz May 13, 2022 - 1:22 PM - 1:22 PM

Check your ballot…
Hard to vote him out with no one running against him.
That’s how he keeps getting re-elected, no competition.

Savagette May 13, 2022 - 7:10 PM - 7:10 PM

There is a green party candidate on my ballot. Kerr is last name. Voting for Kerr. I attended desaulnier online “town hall” during womens month on a meeting supposed to be about womens issues ect. All they did was have 3 commie speakers that discussed abortion, which is going no where in this state, equal pay, and other nonsense. Then they opened it up for “questions”. Only desaulnier and the speakers could see the public’s questions and they cherry picked questions. My questions were how is allowing biological men compete in womens sports empowering women and asked how allowing biological men be housed with women in jails/prisons safe for women? I got no response

The Wizard May 13, 2022 - 11:47 AM - 11:47 AM

Mark, time for you to retire.

WC May 13, 2022 - 1:14 PM - 1:14 PM

I thought he said he was.

Sick of it May 13, 2022 - 1:19 PM - 1:19 PM

Last time I checked California had a huge debt liability in un funded pensions. Shouldn’t these fools be working on that instead. Oh yeah, the democrats never want to bring that one up to the public. It shows how badly they have run this state into the ground

Randy May 13, 2022 - 3:06 PM - 3:06 PM
HappyPappy May 13, 2022 - 1:59 PM - 1:59 PM

Just in time for the mid-terms.

Steve May 13, 2022 - 6:32 PM - 6:32 PM

The company pays the arbitrator I hear.
Yes, unfunded PERS liabilities just seem to hang on year after year.

Sick of it May 13, 2022 - 6:45 PM - 6:45 PM

As of June, the system estimated it owed current and future retirees an estimated $600 billion. That leaves CalPERS with 80% of the assets it needs to cover all its long-term obligations. The percentage, a common measure of pension fund health, sits well below its level going into the last two major downturns.Mar 2, 2022

It’s not good at all

Anon May 14, 2022 - 11:42 AM - 11:42 AM

VOTE for
you have to write it in and spell it correctly.

Anon May 14, 2022 - 11:44 AM - 11:44 AM

For those of you looking for an alternative to Mark DeSaulnier:

KATHERINE PICCININI has stepped up to the plate and is running as a write-in candidate against Democratic incumbent Mark DeSaulnier in Congressional District 10. KATHERINE PICCININI was asked to run at the last minute–and she said, “Yes”! Now she needs our help.

Here’s what you can do:
1. When you receive your ballot, write in KATHERINE PICCININI on the blank line under Mark DeSaulnier and fill in the circle on the left. Be sure to spell her name correctly.
2. When your ballot is completely filled out, please return it promptly or drop it off at the voter registrar in Martinez.
3. Then quickly send this email to as many people as you can and ask them write in KATHERINE PICCININI for Congressional District 10.
4. And lastly, please email KATHERINE at if you are able to further help her.

KATHERINE PICCININI stands for our flag. Her voice is one for life, for truth, for freedom–for us. So please stand with her in this 11th hour and vote for her.

She needs enough votes to beat out the green candidate, which will get her to the November runoff.

dusty May 16, 2022 - 9:38 PM - 9:38 PM

Thanks Anon I will do it!

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