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El Cajon, California, United States
The last time we saw Tanner Foust at the Nürburgring he was sloshing an SVT Raptor from kerb to kerb. Sticking with Ford but swapping keys, this time the drift champion and Top Gear USA host goes to the opposite end of the manufacturer's tuner garage and plucks a Fiesta ST for 'Ring duty.
The 179-horsepower front-wheel-driver acquits itself well by the end of the video. But be warned, Foust doesn't set a 'Ring time and it's shot like a commercial... because that's what it is. Still, you can enjoy all two minutes and 31 seconds of it below.
Let's start with some history: Ford's Dearborn truck plant, part of the company's massive River Rouge complex, was the center of a strike in 1941 that led to Ford signing the first "closed shop" agreement in the industry. The agreement obliged every worker at the plant to be a dues-paying member of the United Auto Workers. In December 2012, however, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation making Michigan a right-to-work state, which outlawed closed shops. The new law gave workers the right to opt out of union membership and stop paying dues even if they were still covered by union activities like collective bargaining. For employees at the Dearborn plant, the right-to-work clauses take effect at the end of their current contract in 2015.
As a tool-and-die maker at Ford's Dearborn plant for 16 years, Todd Lemire pays dues to the UAW - about two hours' salary per month. However, he's been unhappy with the UAW's support of the Democratic party, and not wanting to wait until next year to be out of the UAW entirely he invoked his Beck Rights, which state that a non-member of a union does not have to pay dues to support non-core activities, such as political spending. But Lemire wasn't happy that Ford still subtracted the total amount of dues, with the UAW reimbursing the difference, so he filed suit with the National Labor Relations Board, feeling that the workaround violates his rights.
Lemire's case is just a week old, so it could be a while before a resolution. Yet, as September 15, 2015 draws near and the right-to-work laws take full effect for Michigan workers - and others wonder whether it could help revitalize the state's manufacturing base - a case like this adds more fuel to the discussion.
Knowing how the bacon gets made rarely entices us and, in the same vein, the same usually goes for knowing about how new cars get painted. But in both instances, however, quality - or a lack thereof - is instantly obvious. In terms of the latter, Ford is showing off its new paint quality process with 3D Dirt Detection Technology to find imperfections in vehicle paint more easily and more quickly.
This process - being performed on the F-150 SVT Raptor above - uses 16 computer-controlled cameras to create a three-dimensional model (inset) of the vehicle to detect flaws in the paint including dirt particles, which can then be buffed out manually. Ford says this new technology cuts down on time spent looking for paint flaws and gives workers more time to correct those that are discovered.
Currently, Ford only uses its 3D Dirt Detection Technology system at three factories (the Dearborn, MI facility, along with those in Louisville, Kentucky and Valencia, Spain), but it will soon spread to five more plants in North America. Ford has released a video and press release for this innovative and unexpectedly interesting process, both of which are posted below.