John Tesija, Novara, Tesija, Catenacci, McDonald, & Baas PLLC Photo


University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 1984

University of Michigan-Flint, B.B.A., cum laude, 1981

Bar Admissions

  • Michigan
  • Ohio

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals
    - Sixth Circuit
  • National Labor Relations Board

John Tesija's career spans over four decades and is devoted exclusively to the service of multiemployer plans.


John Tesija joined with our firm’s founder, Gary Novara, to form Novara Tesija nearly 40 years ago.

Since that time, John has primarily focused his practice in the area of employee benefits law, labor law, and related collection services. Statutory compliance, litigation and representation before governmental agencies is a critical part of his practice. When it comes to multiemployer (Taft-Hartley) plans, John has seen and done it all.  

John has deftly guided clients through over four decades of economic and regulatory changes. He has developed deep knowledge of all major legislative initiatives that have affected multiemployer plans, including the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act, HIPAA, Pension Protection Act, Affordable Care Act, and Multiemployer Pension Reform Act. He is well-versed in various administrative proceedings, as well as withdrawal liability enforcement issues.  

While John is respected throughout the industry for being preeminent in his area of practice, it is perhaps his practical approach to day-to-day plan governance that clients appreciate most. 

Professional Affiliations

Professional Affiliations

Member, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP)

Member, American Bar Association (ABA)

Member, Macomb County Bar Association


Founding Member and Trustee, Breath of Life Foundation

Former Parish Council and Current Fundraising Committee Member, St. Lucy Croatian-Catholic Church

News & Events

Awards & Recognition

Honors & Recognitions

John has received numerous awards from client-based organizations, including his work on sponsoring mesothelioma research by the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers and the Breath of Life Foundation.  



Speaker: Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council, 57th Legislative Conference, March 9, 2016; Topic: Updates in PPA/MPRA and PPACA Updates

Speaker: Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council, 56th Legislative Conference, March 11, 2015; Topic: Updates in PPA/MPRA

Presenter: Mason Contractors Association’s Symposium on Withdrawal Liability, March 20, 2013

Presenter: Poured Concrete Wall Association’s Conference on PPA, March 5, 2013

Presenter:  Construction Association of Michigan/Associated General Contractors of Michigan New Right to Work Law and Pension Funds, February 21, 2013


John regularly authors client newsletters that cover legal and legislative development affecting plan operations and multiemployer plans in general. He has been a contributor the Michigan Building Tradesman and has authored a number of instructional pieces for multiemployer plan trustees, with a particular focus on withdrawal liability and the Pension Protection Act (PPA).

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