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Auto blogSun, 24 Aug 2014 08:57:00 EST
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.
Nameplates like the Mercury Mariner and Lincoln Navigator aside, Ford hasn't offered a marine engine in over two decades. But through a new partnership with one of the biggest names in the business, the Dearborn-based automaker is dipping its proverbial toes back in the water.
Announced yesterday at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the new partnership between Ford Component Sales and Indmar Marine Engines will see the 6.2-liter V8 from the F-150 SVT Raptor and F-Series Super Duty marinized for use in boats.
The largest privately owned inboard gasoline marine engine manufacturer in the world, Indmar has been in the business for 43 years, and figures the Ford V8 will be just what watersport enthusiasts are looking for to tow waterskiers and wakeboarders to their hearts' content.
Roush Performance offers a whole raft of parts for folks looking to tune their Ford Mustang and F-150 models, and now Focus owners can start getting in on the hotted-up action, too. Owners of the 2012-13 Focus and 2013 Focus ST can now get a Roush cold-air intake system, and ST owners can also opt for a high-performance cat-back exhaust.
Although all of these components are now available for order, the parts will ship sometime in July; no word yet on pricing. Down the road, Roush will also offer styling upgrades for the Focus as well as performance tuning upgrades such as engine controller, suspension, wheels and tires. Scroll down for a quick video of what the Focus ST exhaust sounds like, as well as a Roush press release.