By Aleasha Sandley, Herald Bulletin Staff Writer

ANDERSON - General Motors jobs in Madison County might be a thing of the past, but last week's federal auto bailout still could have profound effects on the area.

Hundreds of Madison County workers commute to Kokomo, Marion and Fort Wayne to work at auto plants, an exodus that started when Anderson's Delco Remy started laying off workers, said Ollie Dixon, past president of United Auto Workers Local 663, which represented Guide workers.

"Most of those people live here, and they drive back and forth every day," Dixon said. "Madison County is still dependent upon those people because those people are going to spend money here.

"It's going to have a great effect on Madison County."

Besides keeping commuting GM workers in jobs, the bailout could put the county's thousands of GM retirees on more secure footing when it comes to their retirement plans and health insurance, allowing them to spend more money in the local economy, Dixon noted.

"We have a multitude of retirees, and (the bailout) would benefit them," said Anderson Economic Development Director Linda Dawson. "If they're paying more for insurance that's going to easily mean that there's not as much disposable money."

The bailout also could help Madison County companies that have relationships with or service the auto industry, like machine shops, Dawson said.

© 2019 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.