As we've seen here in Seattle, the prospect of raising the minimum wage can provoke hand-waving, hair-on-fire, we're-all-gonna-get-laid-off-and/or-lose-our-shirts panic.

Nonprofit theaters, which always live close to the edge of financial catastrophe*, are probably the least likely place for business managers to lead the charge for "positive protest"—that is, volunteering to do what it takes to raise wages to $15/hour without layoffs, even if they aren't legally required to.

But that's what's happening, at theaters large and small. After the initial panic subsided, theaters began to run their numbers, and, as Donald Byrd of Spectrum Dance Theater said in the article, "the board and managing director are led by their humanity."

A few days ago, the Wall Street Journal published an interesting chart documenting an analogous panic in San Jose's fast-food industry as the city debated and passed a wage hike:

As you can see, there was a steady slump in hiring leading up to the vote, then a huge dip after a wage increase was approved, then a return to normal once the minimum wage went into effect and people realized the world didn't collapse.

Admittedly, this is about fast food, not small independent restaurants, but it's an interesting record of the rise and fall of a wage-hike panic.

* Because nonprofits must submit detailed, transparent financials to the IRS every year, which are then made publicly available, we can actually see and confirm how close to the edge they live—they make good case studies because we don't have to take their word for it.