Sign Language

This was protesting by the numbers. High tension. Thousands of cops hunkered down to pounce on picketers should they surge or seethe. Placards speaking varied demands. A kick-line of dancers and 15-foot-tall puppets backing them up.

Well, that was in New York, at the World Economic Forum. The action at Deutsch/LA was calmer. Just a couple of guys in jeans and sweatshirts—between three and 10 of them, depending on the day—picketing in the parking lot last week. Their grievance? Signs read “Deutsch pay your bills” and “Show me the money,” but sources tell Shoptalk the compensation issue was between a subcontractor and the main contractor who worked on Deutsch’s offices in Marina del Rey. The subcontractor simply chose to protest at the shop where it had done the work.

Smartly looking to head off a confrontation of the kind seen during the SAG/AFTRA strike, Deutsch staffers approached the picketers and invited them in for coffee and a chat. They respectfully declined. Mike Sheldon, Deutsch/LA’s general manager, was philosophical about the whole episode. Of the picketers he said, “At least they’re not clients.”