My question for the crowd here: To my eyes, this is a classic example of a systems problem. As far as I know, all of you professional pilots are given the autonomy and authority to make the best available decision in the air (or while taxiing) to provide the safest outcome for each and every one of your flights. Logically, this would indicate to me (as a GA civilian pilot) that United has a systems structure in place that could act as a paradigm for other divisions in the company.
Why not deploy similar autonomy and authority to the appropriate ground crew members?
The whole idea that the ground crew in Denver "was allowed" to speak with the ground crew in Chicago sounds crazy to me. Then again, I did just complete an organizational leadership certificate course, so this type of inefficiency appears very obvious to my eyes now.
for those of you who are too young to remember the guitars song: