Still under siege by an army of 3500 sick and injured, justifiably-angry plaintiffs over exposure to the toxic chemical “C-8,” DuPont is facing potential liability of $1 billion. Furthermore, there is legal trouble on the horizon between DuPont and Chemours, the company that was spun off recently, since the latter is expected to indemnify the former under the separation agreement. So far, bellwether trials have not been going well, with juries finding for plaintiffs and increasing negative publicity resulting therefrom.

The question is then, who will ultimately pay DuPont’s legal costs? The answer appears to be DuPont employees.

Instead of attempting to own up to its mistakes and take responsibility, the corporate giant has decided to stop all contributions to active employees’ retirement funds. Furthermore, just as the Affordable Care Act seems destined to go down in flames under the new fascist GOP regime, DuPont is eliminating all health and medical benefits – including life insurance and dental coverage – for all employees under the age of 50. These cuts to benefits that DuPont workers were promised, have earned, and on which they were counting are scheduled to go into effect beginning in November of 2018.

To add insult to injury – in the great corporate tradition of spitting in the faces of American workers – these changes affect only employees in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. In the meantime, as the $130 billion merger with Dow Chemical goes through, the CEOs of both corporations stand to make a cool $40 million.

So far, benefits that employees have already earned is safe, even though those benefits were cut by 75%  in 2007 and replaced with an “enhanced” 401(k) plan. Under current federal law, those benefits are off-limits (though you can be fairly sure this will change under Der Führer Trump’s regime as attacks on American labor goes on steroids).

The move will save the still-profitable company $50 million a year. This however is not part of over $700 million in operation cuts DuPont intends to make, although it will put an extra $350 million in its corporate coffers.

Ultimately, this will hurt older, long-term workers the most, since payouts on retirement plans are calculated based on those workers’ salaries as they reach retirement age. A law professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia points out that “defined benefit plans reward longevity and loyalty because the most valuable benefits are the ones you accrue toward the the end of your career.” Essentially, the implied agreement is that if worker dedicates his or her life to a corporate overlord, they can count on being cared for in their old age.

It’s yet another example of how “Corporate People,” often aided and abetted by their own bought and paid for pet legislators on Capitol Hill, have been shredding the social contract over the past several years. By doing so, they are consigning loyal servants to the trash heap after a lifetime of dedicated service – while they pad their own pockets and laugh all the way to the Cayman Islands.

Small wonder that the Hopi Indian word for “capitalism” literally translates as “to eat another person’s life.”

K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.