History shows Philly transit strike could be worse

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PHILADELPHIA - As the city's transit strike drags into its fourth day, tempers are frayed, commuter trains are packed, streets are clogged and some residents remain virtually stranded at home.

It could be worse.

During World War II, federal troops armed with bayonets and rifles gave striking Philadelphia transit employees an ultimatum: Get back to work or be drafted.

And there wasn't much brotherly love in the city in 1910, when a transportation strike led to riots, about two dozen deaths and the destruction of hundreds of trolleys.

The current walkout will surely cause economic and political damage, but Philadelphia is unlikely to see the strong-arm tactics and strike-related violence seen in decades past, historians and labor experts say.

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