Until I needed health insurance that would not strangle me like NYTimes Cobra, I never joined a union in my life. I always paid the dues and abstained, never more adamantly than after learning on my first stint on 43d Street exactly why my salary was depressed: the Guildsters were not about to allow equal pay to a youngish college dropout in a building full of gray sheepskins. Even so, I find myself decidedly on the side of the striking television writers (and Broadway stagehands) right now. Down the line every creative type is going to be working for the Pharaoh unless someone makes it stop, as I just realized on getting an offer from Fine Cooking that seemed hard to refuse. I did a single feature for the magazine, nearly a decade and a half ago, and because I had insisted the contract gave me the copyright and the editors one-time use, I got a nice little check every couple of years, whenever recipes were being rebundled. Then the publisher decided a buyout would be more economical, and a smallish chunk of change was dangled in my direction. I declined, figuring it was not enough to cover rebundling into perpetuity. And then I stupidly agreed to an online buyout only, assuming the recipes would just be out there like everything else in the free beyond. So of course the magazine is now charging for access to its web site and database. And guess who will never get a cut? Don’t be surprised if this strike converts even comedy writers into scripters of “Saw XIII: The Kitchen Story.”