Gian-Carlo Scandiuzzi, the executive director of downtown's bustling ACT Theatre, knows what his organization is going to do if raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour doesn't become law—it's going to voluntarily raise its minimum wage anyway. So will Theatre Off Jackson, the tiny basement theater in the International District, even though its budget is roughly 3 percent of ACT's.
"It's the right thing to do," Scandiuzzi said. Both theaters have run the numbers and decided they could, and would, raise their wage floor to $15 without a single layoff. Scandiuzzi said the department heads at ACT are cutting their budgets with a smile—perhaps for the first time in the theater's history—because they're committed to finding a solution. "Savings," he said, "do not always have to be on the backs of workers."
Despite the outcry from some restaurant and bar owners in the past few weeks, not everyone running small and midsize businesses with razor-thin margins is panicking about the prospect of a $15 minimum wage. Arts organizations large and small say they will do what it takes to increase wages.