Picketing under way for WGA strike



The first walkout by Hollywood writers in nearly 20 years got under way Monday with noisy pickets outside the "Today" show. The strike immediately threatens to disrupt everything from late-night talk shows to soap operas. WGA East members reported for picketing at Rockefeller Plaza starting at 9:00 AM yesterday. A giant inflated rat was put on display Monday with 50 or so folks in Rockefeller Center shouting, "No contract, no shows!"

"The seven-word mantra is, `When you get paid, we get paid,’" said Michael Winship, president of the Writers Guild of America East. The "Today" show is not directly affected by the strike because news writers are part of a different union. The picket was set up behind police barricades in an area adjacent to the NBC studios, where shows like "Late Night with Conan O’Brien" might be forced to play re-runs. In LA, writers are also picketing 14 studio locations in four-hour shifts from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day until a new deal is reached.