Collective bargaining in Denver public education

Material Information

Collective bargaining in Denver public education an historical perspective from 1946 to 1976
Schwartzkopf, Peggy Lynn
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
vix, 277 leaves : ; 29 cm

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Doctorate ( Doctor of Philosophy)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
School of Education and Human Development, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Administration, Curriculum, and Supervision
Committee Chair:
Murphy, Michael J.
Committee Co-Chair:
Noel, Thomas J.
Committee Members:
Koeppe, Richard R.
Napier, L.A.
Schoberlein, William F.


Subjects / Keywords:
Collective bargaining -- Teachers -- History -- Colorado -- Denver ( lcsh )
Public schools -- History -- Colorado -- Denver ( lcsh )
Collective bargaining -- Teachers ( fast )
Public schools ( fast )
Colorado -- Denver ( fast )
History. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
History ( fast )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 267-277).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Doctor of Philosophy, School of Education and Human Development, Administration, Curriculum, and Supervision.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Peggy Lynn Schwartzkopf.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
30674300 ( OCLC )
LD1190.E3 1993d .S39 ( lcc )

Full Text
Peggy Lynn Schlwartzkopf
B.A., Metropolitan State College, 1973
M.A., University of Colorado, 1980
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Administration, Curriculum, and Supervision

(c^) 1993 by Peggy Schwartzkopf
All rights reserved.

This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
Peggy L. Schwartzkopf
has been approved for the
Department of
Administration^ Curriculum, and Supervision
Richard R. Koepp

Schwartzkopf, Peggy Lynn (Ph.D. Education)
Collective Bargaining in Denver Public Education: An
Historical Perspective From 1946 to 1976
Thesis directed by Professor Michael J. Murphy
This thesis delineates the historical events and
issues during the time period from 1946 through 1976
that led to collective bargaining in the Denver Public
Schools. The generational framework of collective
bargaining in public schools developed by Mitchell,
Kerchner, Erck, and Pryor in 1981 has been used to
provide a conceptual basis for understanding the
evolution of labor relations between the Board,
administrators and teachers.
Nineteen persons identified as major figures in
the development of collective bargaining were
interviewed for the study. These interviews took
place from the summer of 1992 through the spring of
1993. The interviews were tape recorded, except for
three telephone interviews. Historical information
was collected from board minutes, newspaper and other
publications, reference materials, dissertations, and
the personal papers of major figures.

This case study focused on the major themes that
emerged in the Denver Public Schools and discusses
these themes as they compare With four national themes
developed by Cresswell and Murphy in Teachers. Unions,
and Collective Bargaining in Public Education.
Findings suggest that the development of labor
relations in the District evolved along the lines of
the first two generations of the Mitchell et al.
framework. This study did not explore the third
Themes that emerge in Denver include the effort
to raise the professional standards of teachers.
Three categories of leadership enlightened,
catalytic, and pragmatic leadership emerged within
the context of raising professional standards. The
second major theme was the teachers' efforts to
achieve an independent voice in educational decisions.
Other themes include school integration, the rift
between the NEA local and its state association, and
a gender theme that is identified but not explored in
this study.
Two national themes identified by Cresswell and
Murphy were found in Denver. These were the
interaction between the Federation and the

Association, and the unique role played by the NEA in
the evolution of labor relations.
This abstract accurately represent^ the content of the
candidate1 s thesis. I recoimend,/J J_

1. INTRODUCTION....................................1
Purpose of the Study...........................5
Significance of the Study......................6
Scope of the Study.............................7
Limitations of the Study.......................9
Summary of Methods............................13
Definition of Terms...........................16
Organization of the Study................... 17
2. METHODOLOGY AND PROCEDURES.....................19
Procedures................................... 22
Interviewees and Questions....................29
Data Management...............................32
3. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE...................35
Theory of Public School Collective
National Themes for Public School
Collective Bargaining.........................36
The Generational Framework....................40
Unionism in Colorado..........................48
Unionism 1859-1900.......................48
Unionism 1900-1940S......................50
The Post Depression Years................53
Historical Background of the Denver
Public Schools

The Denver Public Schools
The Denver Public Schools
The Growth of Teacher Organizations............63
Early Beginnings..........................63
Women and the Formation of Teachers'
The Development of the DCTA...............74
4. THE MEET AND CONFER YEARS 1946-1962.............79
The Post War Years 1946-1951...................82
The Employee Council Years 1951-1961..........107
Professional Negotiations 1962-1966...........127
The Shift to Collective Bargaining, 1966......161
The Election Campaign 1967....................171
The First Labor Contract: 1967................175
The 1969 Strike...............................189
The Post Strike Years: 1970-1976..............199
Historical Summary of DPS Labor Relations....208
Denver Themes.................................215
The Struggle for Professionalism
and Independence.........................217
vi i i

Enlightened Leadership..................222
Catalytic Leadership....................225
Pragmatic Leadership....................229
Other Themes............................232
The National Themes..........................235
The Generational Framework...................241
The First Generation....................244
The First Intergenerational Conflict.... 246
The Second Generation...................250
A. Questionnaire.................................255
B. Statement of Teacher-Administrator-Board
of Education Relationships....................259
C. Report of Results of Negotiations Between
the Denver Board of Education and the DCTA....263


On February 23, 1946, the Rockv Mountain News
announced that over 1600 public school teachers from
Denver met to launch a campaign to form a union.
The News reported that Denver's school
administration was "not opposed to the idea of a
union in the system, nor is it opposed to higher pay
schedules and other improvements, but it believes
such a program can be attained only a little at a
time."1 Over the next two decades this
administrative reluctance prevailed, despite
continued pressure by a minority of teachers
determined to further their economic welfare and
participate in the development of school policy.
This reluctance was generally shared by an
overwhelmingly female work force who found the word
"union" to be very upsetting. Seeing themselves as

Rockv Mountain News.
23 February 1946.

part of the rising middle class, many viewed
association with a union as a sign of inferiority.2
Encouraged by the successful United Federation
of Teachers' election in New York City in June 1961,
members of the Denver Federation of Teachers who had
been struggling since the mid-forties to attain an
"independent voice" for teachers, adopted the UFT
strategy in a plan hatched during a car ride from
Denver to Pueblo in the fall of 1961.3 In spite of
a membership of only three percent of Denver's
teachers, these self-described "fanatics" secured
signatures of about one-third of the city's teachers
to a 1962 petition demanding that the school board
set an election to determine if teachers wanted
collective bargaining.4 The school board not only
rejected the petition, they adopted a "Statement of
Teacher-Administration-Board of Education
2Ruth McIntosh Jeffs, Interview by author, Tape recording,
ver, Colorado, 10 September 1992.
3Royce Forsyth and Jerrell McCracken, Joint interview by
hor, Tape recording, Denver, Colorado, 19 August 1992.
4J. Gaskie, "Denver School Board Rebuffs Teachers' Bid for
rgaining," Rockv Mountain News. 7 June 1962, p. 7.

Relationships" policy and designated the rival
teachers' organization, the Denver Classroom
Teachers' Association, as the majority organization
with the right to represent teachers in
"professional negotiations" under the new policy.5
Four years later, in 1966, the professional
negotiations policy was challenged as a "sweetheart
deal" by the DFT leadership in another demand for an
election. When a majority of the Board and the DCTA
resisted setting an election, the DFT went "eye ball
to eye ball with the 'silver fox'" (Superintendent
Kenneth Oberholtzer) and demanded that he and the
board set an election.6 Under mounting pressure
from the press, a developing antagonism between
teachers and the administration, and with three
members of the school board swinging toward
authorizing an election, the DCTA reversed its stand
against an election. With them came the fourth
board member vote needed for approval. At the
December 15, 1966 board meeting the Board resolved
5School Board Minutes, 19 December 1962.
6Forsyth and McCracken interview.

to "review and modify" the 1962 policy, and
authorized an election to be held no later than
April 30, 1967.7 On March 30, 1967, the Denver
teachers elected the DCTA as their official
bargaining agent by 2361 to 1355 votes.8
Within months, with assistance from the NEA,
the DCTA negotiated its first written collective
bargaining agreement, including the exclusive right
to represent Denver's teachers. The written
contract did not, however, bring labor peace to the
Denver Public Schools. Disrupted by a change in
administrative leadership, an embittered battle over
school integration, and the first teacher strike in
the city's history, the school district continued
its struggle with labor relations issues. By 1976,
however, the conflicts were subsiding and the labor
agreement negotiated that year was adopted in an
environment marked by labor peace unlike that
experienced for more than a decade.
7School Board Minutes, 15 December 1966.
8Rockv Mountain News. 30 March 1967, p. 5.

The mid-seventies had become more amicable
times between the Denver Board and its teachers, but
the thirty preceding years were replete with people,
issues, and events that affected the course of
labor-management relationships between public school
teachers and school boards not only in Denver, but
across the state of Colorado.
Purpose of the Study
This case study will offer an historical
perspective of the thirty years following the end of
World War II in which Denver's teachers struggled
for recognition as an organization and sought
collective bargaining rights. The study will
describe the significant events that occurred as
identified through the oral histories of the
participants who played central roles in these
events. The general purpose of the study is to
investigate and delineate the historical antecedents
that led to collective bargaining in the Denver
Public Schools. This study does not, however,

attempt to discover why these events and issues
occurred in the school system.
Significance of the Study
The study of this particular thirty year period
is timely due to the unprecedented takeover of the
bargaining process between the Denver teachers and
the School Board by Governor Roy Romer on January 3,
1991. Invoking a 1915 labor law passed after the
state's infamous Ludlow Massacre of striking miners
and their families, he moved to kill a threatened
strike by Denver teachers. When the teachers' union
and the Board were unable to settle their dispute
within the Governor's preset deadline, he set
hearings patterned after the legislative process and
included not only the two parties to the contract,
but also citizens and the business community. With
Joe Donlon, the Executive Director of the Department
of Labor at his side, the Governor proceeded to
deliver a labor contract that he hoped would
fundamentally change the way the Denver Public
System was doing business. When both parties

ultimately adopted the "Romer Contract," they may
have presaged the beginning of a new generation of
collective bargaining in the Denver school system.
Although this study will end more than a full
decade before this remarkable event, the pre- and
early bargaining years are ripe for examination as
they may help to understand the early evolution of
labor relations in the Denver Public Schools. The
study of these historical events will also provide a
view of the background of labor relations from the
perspectives of those who experienced this history,
and may help illuminate the current relationship
between teachers and the District administration.
In addition, this study will contribute to the
existing few studies of the history of Denver's
teachers and their relationship with the District,
and to the general literature on the evolution of
labor relations in public schools.
Scope of the Study
The scope of this study will be limited to an
examination of the factors that led to the

development of the practice of collective bargaining
by public school teachers in Denver during the
thirty year period from 1946 to 1976 from the
viewpoint of key participants. This time period was
selected for the following reasons. One, no study
of the District's labor relationship with its
teachers exists for any time period after 1946.
Two, 1946 is notable because a small group of
teachers began the first significant drive to
organize a union in the history of the District.
Three, limiting the study to thirty years is an
attempt to carve out a manageable period of time to
study. Four, by 1976, labor relations became
relatively stable and collective bargaining had
become generally accepted as a method for
determining the terms and conditions of employment.
Because it is the purpose of this study to research
the events leading up to the acceptance of
collective bargaining as the method for dealing with
labor relations issues, the years subsequent to 1976
are not explored.

A brief description of the early history of the
Denver Public Schools, the beginnings of teachers'
organizations, and a summary of the growth of labor
unions in Colorado will be included as a backdrop to
the study of the time period from 1946 to 1976.
Limitations of the Study
This is a study of the evolution of labor
relations that relies heavily upon the responses of
key participants as they recall their experiences.
As such the research is formed from the standpoint
of leaders in the teachers' organizations and in the
District administration. Correspondingly the study
will be limited by the accuracy or inaccuracies of
their personal reminiscences. In addition those
identified as central figures may not be
representative of the community of teachers or
administrators in the Denver Public Schools.
Many of the documents reviewed were materials
donated to various local libraries by Dr. Kenneth
Oberholtzer and Herrick Roth. These donated
materials were personally selected and organized by

each. The materials they chose to be preserved
represent their interests and create bias as to
those materials. There is almost no personal
correspondence among the Oberholtzer papers. There
is some personal correspondence among the Roth
papers, but it is limited to his organizational work
in Denver. Materials and documents in the personal
possession of Royce Forsyth were also reviewed.
These materials are primarily publications and
official correspondence of the Denver Federation of
Teachers and the Colorado Federation of Teachers.
Other participants had newspaper files and copies of
printed material that they made available. They
told the researcher that they had not retained their
personal documents.
With the exception of Oberholtzer, Palmer
Burch9, and Betty Jean Lee10 every person
identified as a key individual participated in this
9Burch was a member of the Board of Education from 1959-1967.
10Betty Jean Lee was the first Executive Director of the Denver
ssroom Teachers' Association. She reportedly retired in Estes
k, Colorado, after her employment at the Stanley Hotel.
Id not be located, however.

study. Oberholtzer could not be interviewed because
of his advanced age.11 Newspaper accounts list
Burch's date of death as January 1, 1990. A review
of their speeches and comments at pertinent school
board meetings, and questions to key participants
about their conversations with them substituted as a
secondary source of information. These speeches and
comments were made in public to specific audiences
and may not have reflected their real views. Those
who conversed with Oberholtzer and Burch may have
personal biases that are reflected both in what they
recall and how they recall their conversations.
As noted above, most of the key individuals in
the study have not retained their personal papers
and documents. Thus the study is limited by lack of
documents that might have shed light on facts long
since forgotten or revised by the passage of time.
In addition, because the study will be based on the
perceptions of the key participants the truth is
11School district officials informed the researcher that
rholtzer resides in a nursing home in Long Beach, California.

subject to their own interpretation beyond objective
Unavoidable in the research and writing of
history are the interests and biases of the
researcher. This study attempts to limit these by
focusing on four themes identified in Teachers,
Unions, and Collective Bargaining in Public
Education, by Anthony Cresswell and Michael J.
Murphy.12 However, in limiting the study to these
themes, others that exist may be neglected. In the
process of gathering historical information it is
more likely to find what one is looking for, than
for what one is not. To lessen the impact of this
latter problem, the researcher will summarize those
themes that emerge from the data as they relate
specifically to the Denver Public Schools. These
themes will be understood, however, by the way the
study's participants came to recall their
interactions as leaders of the District or of the
teachers1 organizations.
J12Anthony M. Cresswell and Michael J. Murphy, with Charles T.
2-chner, Teachers. Unions, and Collective Bargaining in Public
Ediication (Berkeley: McCutchan, 1980).

Finally this researcher has spent fifteen years
in the field of labor relations from the teacher,
administrative, and legal perspective. In that time
a strong view has developed that individual leaders
often shape the course of labor relations. Knowing
this affords the reader of this history an
understanding of why the interview methodology was
selected and provides a basis for judging the
Summary of Methods
The interview approach was chosen as a useful
method to determine the major issues and critical
events that led to collective bargaining and the
evolving relationship during the early years of
bargaining. An initial sample included four people
known by the researcher to have been involved in
teacher collective bargaining during the time period
pertinent to the study. Other names were added if
they were repeatedly identified as key figures by
the interviewees. This process continued throughout
the interview phase. As the research progressed to

a review of documents and materials, those
individuals whose names also appeared in
contemporaneous materials where ultimately confirmed
as major figures.
Two studies were used to provide a basis for
understanding the history of labor relations during
the relevant time period. The focus was to
determine if four national themes identified in 1980
by Cresswell and Murphy can be applied to the Denver
Public Schools. The themes are: (1) professional
versus membership welfare, (2) the unique role
played by the NEA in the governance of public
education, (3) the interaction of the two major
unions, and (4) the differing organizational
structures of the NEA and the AFT.13
The generational framework of collective
bargaining in public schools developed by Douglas E.
Mitchell, Charles T. Kerchner, Wayne Erck, and
Gabrielle Pryor in their 1981 study "The Impact of
Collective Bargaining on School Management and
13Ibid., pp. 96-97.

Policy,"14 was utilized to provide a conceptual
basis for understanding the evolution of labor
relationships between the Denver district and its
teachers. Mitchell et al. found a pattern
characterized by stages of labor relationships in
the eight California and Illinois school districts
they studied. The data from their sample districts
suggested that there were three generational stages,
separated by two intergenerational conflicts or
struggles. They found that the intergenerational
conflicts were characterized by "vitriolic political
debate over the ideological basis of labor
relations."15 The first stage begins as "meet and
confer," and evolves into questions that center
around recognition of the right to organize and
bargain collectively. A second stage develops into
"good faith bargaining" patterned after traditional
industrial models of collective bargaining. There
is aggressive bargaining and a stronger interest in
Douglas E. Mitchell et al., "The
lj-gaining on School Management and Policy,
cation. February 1981, pp. 147-188.
Impact of Collective
" American Journal of
15Ibid. p. 173.

"managing through" the contract. This process is
gradually altered as outside parties challenge the
collective bargaining process between the teachers
and the District as not representing their
interests. Mitchell et al. suggest that a third
hypothetical generation called "negotiated policy,"
develops. This generation is not entirely clear to
the researchers as only one school district in their
study seemed to have moved into a third generation-
type bargaining relationship.16
Definition of Terms
A number of terms will be used throughout this
study. Generally these terms have been widely used
in negotiations and in labor law work. They will be
defined when necessary throughout the text.
The abbreviations listed below will be used in
the text.
AFL-CIO American Federation of Labor-Congress of
Industrial Organization
AFL American Federation of Labor
16Ibid., pp. 175-177.

AFT American Federation of Teachers
CEA Colorado Education Association
CFL Colorado Federation of Labor
CFT Colorado Federation of Teachers
CLC Colorado Labor Council
DCTA Denver Classroom Teachers Association
DFT Denver Federation of Teachers Local 548
DPS Denver Public Schools
NEA National Education Association
UFT United Federation of Teachers
Organization of the Study
The development of the study has been presented
in Chapter 1, including introductory comments, the
purpose of the study, the significance of the study,
the scope and limitations of the study, and
definitions and abbreviations of terms.
Chapter 2 presents the methodology and
procedures, including data sources, interviewees and
questions, and the method of data management.
Chapter 3 is the review of the literature,
including a brief history of the Denver Public

Schools, a review of unionism in Colorado, and a
summary of the early beginnings of teachers1
organizations in Colorado and the nation. In
addition there is a discussion of theory about
public school collective bargaining.
Chapters 4, 5, and 6 explore the history during
the early meet and confer years from 1946 through
1962, the professional negotiations years from 1962
through 1966, and the collective bargaining years
from 1967 through 1976.
Chapter 7 is a review of the major individuals,
events and issues as reported by the participants.
This chapter also includes a summary, a discussion
of the Denver themes that emerge from the data, the
research conclusions, and recommendations for future

This case study is a history of the thirty year
period from 1946-1976 in the Denver Public Schools.
It was during this time period that teachers
organized, achieved recognition and the right to
bargain collectively. They subsequently embarked on
a course of labor-management relationships that led
to formal, negotiated contracts with the school
History is the narrative presentation of the
past based on critical examination, evaluation, and
selection of material from primary and secondary
sources, and which is subject to scholarly criteria.
Gilbert Garraghan defines historical method as the
"systematic body of principles and rules designed to
aide effectively in gathering the source materials
of history, appraising them critically, and
presenting a synthesis of the results achieved." He

suggests three major operations. The initial step
is heuristic, the search for material on which to
work for sources of information. The second step is
criticism, the appraisal of the material or sources
from the viewpoint of evidential value. The third
step is synthesis, the writing of the formal
statement of findings and their significance.17
Wood Gray describes historical research as
consisting of six steps: (1) selecting an
appropriate topic, (2) tracking down relevant
evidence, (3) taking notes, (4) evaluating
critically the evidence collected, (5) arranging it
into true and meaningful patterns, and (6)
presenting it in a manner that will command interest
and communicate to the readers the fullest possible
understanding of the subject.18
17Gilbert Garraghan,
dham University Press
A Guide to Historical Method
1946), pp. 33-35.
(New York:
18Wood Gray,
:ojijpany, 1957) p.
Historian's Handbook
Houghton Mifflin

Homer H. Hockett takes a more broad-ranging
view stating that there is no single method in
history. He describes historians as "scavengers."19
At its simplest, Barzun and Graff first define
history as the story of past facts. They give
history three additional meanings including: (1)
the fact itselfthe substance of what happened,
rather than the story, (2) the fashioning of written
history that requires methodhistoriography, and
(3) the recollection of the past in the minds of a
whole people. They propose that the latter produces
the gravest problem for historians and includes
legends and myths. In summary, they state that
"History-as-Event, generates...History-as-Narrative,
which in turn produces History-as-Maker-of-Future-
History. "20
Louis Gottschalk, editor of the Report of the
Committee on Historical Analysis of the Social
Science Research Council in 1967, surmised that
19Homer C. Hockett, The Critical Method in Historical Research
Writing (New York: Macmillan, 1969) p. 9.
20Jacques Barzun and Henry F. Graff, The Modern Researcher
n Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985), p. 49.

there is a "striking degree of unanimity on
historical method."21 It includes: (1) selection
of subject, (2) collection of probable sources, (3)
examination of sources for genuineness, (4)
extraction of credible particulars from the sources,
and (5) synthesis of the particulars thus resulting
in historiography.22 The methodology for this study
applied the steps set out by Gottschalk.
According to Gray, subject selection should
meet the criteria of value, originality,
practicality, and unity.23 As noted above, the
value of this study is to provide an historical
context to the recent and unusual intervention by
Governor Romer, and to address the renewed interest
in public Sector bargaining. As no researcher has
21 Louis Gottschalk,. ed., Generalization in the Writing of
sjtorv: A Report of the Committee on Historical Analysis of the
ial Science Research Council (Chicago: The University of
cago Press, 1967), p. 52.
^Gray, p.10.

heretofore studied the history of labor relations
between Denver's teachers, administration, and Board
for the period from 1946 through 1976, this the
study is an original work.
The study proved to be practicable. A number
of key figures were not only still living, but many
reside in the Denver-Metro area. Those who were not
local were contacted by telephone. Each participant
was mailed a questionnaire to assist them in
preparation for the interview. Some of the
participants completed the questionnaire in great
detail, some sketched out responses, and two
participants did not complete the questionnaire. In
those two cases the questionnaire served as a guide
for the interview.
Primary and secondary documents retained by the
participants were reviewed with the permission of
their owners. The papers of Dr. Oberholtzer and
Herrick Roth that are archived at. the University of
Colorado Nor1in Library, and the publications of the
DFT, CFT, and the DCTA were also examined. The
sources thus proved to be available and the scope of

the subject was manageable. The unifying question
was to determine if Cresswell and Murphy's national
themes identified for the time period of the study
would be replicated in Denver's history.
The next two steps, collection of sources and
their examination for authenticity, are known by
historians as external criticism. The primary data
sources were the interviews of the key leaders as
identified by the participants. The individuals
interviewed are listed below. In addition to the
interviews, library catalogues, bibliographies of
related materials and texts, periodical and
newspaper indexes, reference materials,
dissertations, and government documents were
reviewed. Government documents were primarily
school board minutes, along with a variety of other
materials published by the school district.
Garraghan says that the extraction of "credible
particulars" poses an interesting problem for
historians. He states that the gathering of facts
may not be complex, but that credibility may be
difficult to determine. This step is generally

referred to as internal criticism. In solving the
problem of credibility, Garraghan recommends using
sound judgment and common sense.24
Gray sets out nine principles of internal
1. Do not read into earlier documents the
conception of later times.
2. Do not judge an author ignorant of
certain events, because he fails to
mention them, or that they did not occur,
for the same reason.
3. Underestimating a source is no less an
error than overestimating.
4. A single true source may establish an
idea, but other direct, competent,
independent witnesses are required to
prove the reality.
5. Identical errors prove the dependence
of the sources on each other, or a common
6. If witnesses contradict each other on
a certain point, one or the other may be
true, but both may be in error.
7. Direct, competent, independent
witnesses who report the same central fact
and also many peripheral matters in a
casual way may be accepted for the points
of their argument.
8. Official testimony, oral or written,
must be compared with unofficial testimony
whenever possible for neither one nor the
other alone is sufficient.
9. A document may provide competent and
dependable evidence on certain points, yet
24Garraghan, p. 35

carry no weight in respect to others it
These principles were applied to the internal
criticism of this study.
Despite the difficulty involved in some of the
steps in historical research, all of the above
historians agree that the hardest problem is how to
put together the details that have been reliably
learned into a connected narrative.26 It is this
process that Gottschalk defines as historiography.
The critical examination and analysis of the records
and "survival" of the past is "historical method."
The "imaginative reconstruction of the past from the
data derived from the process is historiography."27
It is at this step that historians may make
generalizations. Gottschalk categorizes six types
of historians by their use of generalization. They
25Gray, p. 212.
26Gottschalk, p. 28.
27Ibid., p. 48.

1. Those who try to avoid generalization.
2. Those who apply generalizations
borrowed elsewhere than from the
documented historical knowledge under
3. Those who make a deliberate effort to
go beyond the historical subject matter at
hand and risk broad interpretative
synthesis, but still limit their
interpretations to interrelated trends.
They try to provide a hypothesis to a
limited set of data.
4. Those who go beyond the subject matter
at hand, and draw parallels and analogies
to the data in other times or places of
the past, whether or not interrelated.
5. Those who venture propositions about
the past trends or analogies in such
general or abstract terms as to leave the
implications that their propositions may
be extrapolated to future events.
6. Those who propound philosophies that
are intended to have cosmic understanding
of the course of human events past and to
come. These are the philosophers of
In this study any generalizations will be
limited to the subject matter under investigation
for this specific case. The national themes, as
presented by Cresswell and Murphy in their study of
28Gottschalk, pp. 113-129.

teacher unions, will be borrowed as a research tool
for the investigation of the Denver Public Schools.
The generational framework developed by Mitchell et
al. will be used as a conceptual basis for
organizing the study. Consequently this research
adopts the second type of generalization.
Hockett guides beginning historians in
attending to data synthesis by identifying four
historical problems which must be attended to at
this step. The first is the confusion of
correlation and causes. He says that these two
phenomenon often systematically occur together, but
that does not mean that one causes the other. The
second problem is in defining key .terms to avoid
vagueness and accounting for the context in time in
which terms are used. Third, is to distinguish
between evidence of an idea about how people should
behave, and evidence of how in fact they did behave.
Finally, he advises that the historian distinguish
between intent and consequences, being aware that
sometimes consequences are not always as intended.29
29Hockett, pp. 41-62.

Interviewees and Questions
Much of the data gathered for this study
originated from personal interviews with individuals
who played significant roles in the evolution of
collective bargaining during the thirty year time
period. Their identification was made possible
initially by interviewing four persons currently
working in teacher labor relations who are personal
acquaintances of the researcher. A preliminary
sample of key figures was thus generated and tested
by a continuing process of interviews until no
additional new names were provided. These names
were compared against newspaper publications
contemporaneous with the particular time, and with
specific leadership positions held in various
organizations. This process resulted in the
following core list of people who were interviewed
for this study.
Lena Archuleta DCTA President 1958-1959
Robert Anderson DCTA President 1974-1976
James Bailey DPS Chief Negotiator 1968-1976+

Clarke Ballinger DCTA Executive Director 1968- 1976+
A. Edgar Benton School Board 1960-1969
Neal Breaugh DCTA Executive Director, 1966- 1968
Ronald Carlson DCTA president, 1962
Ben Craig DPS Legal Counsel 1960-1976+
John Eklund DFT Founder and first President
Royce Forsyth DFT President, 1950-1953
Robert Gilberts Superintendent, 1967-1970
Donald Goe DCTA President, 1961
Robert Gould DCTA President, 1968-1969
Ruth McIntosh Jeffs DFT charter member
Richard Koeppe Assistant Superintendent, 1968-
Peg McIntosh 1972 DCTA executive board member 1955-1970
Edward Robran CEA Field Representative 1966-1970
Herrick Roth DFT Executive Secretary, 1947- 1959

William Stiles, Jr. NEA Field Representative
The interview questions used in this study (see
Appendix A) were developed by questions from the
Mitchell et al. study as a guide. The questions
for this study related specifically to the DPS,
however. After a pilot interview with four of the
key individuals, an initial set of fifty-two
questions was combined and reduced to a more
manageable set of twenty questions. Each
interviewee was contacted by telephone, and was sent
the questionnaire along with a brief introductory
explanation of the purpose of the questions. The
interviews were scheduled with enough time for the
interviewees to have an opportunity to review the
questions and prepare for the interview. Each
interviewee was allowed to expand upon any of the
questions in a topic specific narrative and could
refuse to answer any of them. In fact, every
interviewee participated fully and with great
interest and enthusiasm.

Three key individuals could not be interviewed.
Dr. Kenneth Oberholtzer, superintendent from 1946-
1967 could not be interviewed due to his advanced
age. His papers, however, were reviewed at the
Norlin Library, and the dissertation by Patricia
Shikes30 provided valuable information concerning
Dr. Oberholtzer. Palmer Burch (deceased), school
board president was also identified as a key figure.
A brief telephone interview was held with his
daughter Sue Burch, and additional insight was
acquired through the interviews of Herrick Roth and
A. Edgar Benton, each who hot only worked directly
with Burch, but considered him a friend. Betty Jean
Lee could not be located.
Data Management
The data were stored and retrieved on a text
base management software system called "askSam."
With the use of this system and the usual note file,
3 up
30Patricia Ann Shikes. "Three Denver Public School
erintendents: A Historical Study of Educational Leadership"
D. dissertation, University of Denver, 1987)

the writing is an extraction of the critical issues
and themes from all the data gathered.
"askSam" is an information storage and
retrieval system that works with both text and
numbers. It allows the storage of narrative
documents of any length and provides a simple,
flexible way to retrieve information stored through
a "query." The format and length of the information
stored can be dictated entirely by the researcher.
Information can be entered anywhere within a
document, and can contain any kind of information.
Information retrieval is based on any combination of
any word or symbol in a document. In addition it
will sort information alphabetically, numerically,
or chronologically.
For this study a template containing file name,
organization, year, relationship, event, and theme
was created. Information collected verbatim from
interviews, notes, and documents was then added to
the system documents. Queries made from any words,
dates, times, or events were then made. The system
then identified every document containing the

inquiry. In this way all information stored about a
particular query was retrieved. Although data entry
was time consuming, retrieval of information was far
more efficient and effective than the normal
handwritten index file.

Theory and Public School Collective Bargaining
Mitchell, Kerchner, Erck, and Pryor submit that
"collective bargaining for public school teachers
represents one of the three most significant changes
in public education in the last 30 years." The
other two are desegregation with all of its problems
and judicial intervention, and categorical aid
programs which provided the federal government's
version of national school finance. Mitchell et al.
base their assertion on their study of eight school
districts in 1981. Their research led them to
conclude that "the unintended, and frequently
unnoticed, policy consequences of teacher
organizations and collective bargaining have
dramatic impacts on school governance and
management.1,31 Seeing the "'crises' of the 1940s
and 1950s as controversies and programs carried out
largely within the familiar ideology and structure 31
31Mitchell et al., pp. 89, 184.

of the common school," Tyack "hazards the
conjecture that historians a hundred years from
hence may consider the ferment of the 1960s and
1970s to be a major turning point in the history of
American education...." By the end of the sixties
he suggests that established assumptions and
practices were being questioned.32 Wayne Urban
believes that collective bargaining is the most
important development in the recent history of most
local teachers' organizations and he has challenged
historical researchers to study current trends and
to improve on the "relatively non-analytical" nature
of earlier work.33
National Themes for Public School Collective
Cresswell and Murphy are among the few
researchers who have dealt with the historical
32David Tyack, The One Best System: A History of American Urban
ation (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1974), pp.
-272. For details of his view see the Epilogue: "The One Best
em under Fire," 1940-1973, pp. 269-291.

33Wayne Urban, "Teacher Activism,"
bories of a Profession at Work, ed.
millan Publishing Co., 1989), p. 175.
in American
Donald Warren
(New York:

evolution of teachers' unions in their book,
Teachers. Unions, and Collective Bargaining in
Public Education. Four national themes in public
school bargaining during the forties, fifties, and
sixties are identified. They include: (1)
professional versus membership welfare, (2) the
unique role played by the NEA in the governance of
public education, (3) the interaction of the two
major unions, and (4) the differing organizational
structures of the NEA and the AFT.34
The authors considered the tension between
professional social goals and teacher material
welfare goals welfare to be a major theme. They
noted consistent difficulty by both the teacher
association and the teacher union with this issue,
and speculated that it may have been the result of
the desire for organizational status or "ultimate
authority" in having a voice in education. This
concern created an early "identity crisis" for each
organization, and each reacted to the problem in a
different way. The NEA tried to combine
34Cresswell and Murphy, pp. 96-97.

professionalism with teacher welfare, and
"consequently had a tough time acting as if they
were militant." The AFT on the other hand
maintained the traditional union approach and union
language, but avoided the issue by emphasizing
social and legislative agendas. Complicating the
issue was the fact that these were voluntary
organizations and, as such, were very much aware of
and sensitive to public opinion and the press.
Cresswell and Murphy suggest that administrators
exploited teachers' concern over professional status
from the early part of the twentieth century through
the emergence of collective bargaining in the
The second theme that emerged from the
Cresswell work was the unique role that the NEA
played in the governance of education. This theme
is supported by the long historical influence on
education by prominent leaders from the NEA who were
college presidents, superintendents, and principals.

The continuing interaction of the two
organizations took different forms at different
times, but nevertheless the presence of another
organization was always a source of awareness and
constitutes the third theme. The AFT is
characterized by the authors as the "NEA's
organizational bogeyman." Because of this
interaction, the contention is made that each
organization both benefitted from and responded to
the positions of the other. The AFT "absorbed the
more militant and disruptive teachers," allowing the
NEA to proceed on a "conservative, professional
course." The AFT, on the other hand attracted a
minority group of more militant teachers and was
left to "assume a more liberal, militant, or teacher
centered stance as an alternative to the NEA
course." As the two organizations reacted and
responded to "more or less liberal, or more or less
militant, or more or less teacher centered
positions, members found themselves making repeated
choices among the alternatives." Cresswell and
Murphy thus conclude that, "The consequence of such

repeated choices is that members share similar views
and are likely to continue to hold them in the
The differences in the way the organizations
were structured is the final theme. The NEA adopted
the professional, voluntary mode, and a management
system not unlike that adopted by their school
districts. A strong business executive was selected
to run the organization with the help of paid
professional staff. The AFT on the other hand opted
for the traditional union organization in which
elected officials were charged with the
responsibility for managing and decision-making.37
As noted above, these themes will be used as a
research tool to assist in the investigation of the
past events in the Denver Public Schools.
The Generational Framework
Mitchell et al. took a different approach in
developing their evolutionary framework of teacher
Ibid., P- 99.
Ibid., P- 100.

collective bargaining. They proposed a concept of
three generations of collective bargaining separated
by two intergenerational conflicts. This concept
was developed from data gathered in an intensive
year-long study of eight school districts, four in
Illinois and four in California.
Generation one is characterized as "meet and
confer," a term used to describe a basis for
discussion between school boards and their teachers.
The first generation ends when there is a separation
of goals between the board and the teachers, or
there is a perceived difference is what is deemed
acceptable behavior. This latter refers
specifically to teacher militancy. The generation
ends when the teachers demand a contract, or some
statutory structure is provided for a collective
bargaining process.
Mitchell et al. found evidence in their study
that the end of the first generation is accompanied
by a "single galvanizing event" that becomes a
rallying point for change in the direction of labor
relations. Teachers begin to consider school boards

to be paternalistic rather than protective. School
boards charge teachers with abandoning their
professional standards. The decision making process
between the two groups changes from "meet and
confer" to "demand and response."
In the sample studied by Mitchell et al., every
school district had a major political upheaval in
the district governance system associated with the
end of the first generation. The researchers also
found that a strong linkage was created between the
local teacher association and the state
organization. Finally this evolution into a new
generation starts a change in the leadership of the
local teacher organization. The result, the
researchers conclude, is that the teacher
organization has a new found legitimacy as a voice
for teachers, whether liked or not by the school
In the second generation labor relations moves
into a period of "good faith bargaining." The
assumption during this time period is that teachers
38Mitchell et al., pp. 175-176.

should be able to decide collectively whether the
terms and conditions of employment offered by the
school board are adequate. A belief develops in the
teacher organization that they have the right to
improve their working conditions, without having to
leave their jobs. The system evolves into the more
traditional industrial relations framework adopted
by the private sector, in which there is a
separation between managers and teachers.
During the study of the eight school districts,
Mitchell et al. found evidence that adoption of the
private sector industrial relations pattern breaks
down during the second generation. The researchers
note, however, that their sample was small and too
limited to draw unequivocal conclusions. Their
evidence supporting the suggestion of a breakdown is
the complete breakdown of the traditional industrial
relations model in one district, and the
identification of two features of instability in the
other districts.
One feature of instability is the public
attention to the success of the teacher

organization's influence in school board elections.
This comes under attack as the public develops the
perception that generous contract settlements are a
direct result of the teachers' ability to elect
board members favorable to the teacher organization.
The public charges that teachers are exerting "undue
influence" on the school board, thus destroying
democratic control over the school district. When
that happens, the researchers note that endorsement
by the teachers' association becomes a liability
rather than an asset. The districts in Illinois
demonstrated that when anti-teacher candidates were
subsequently elected to the board, the district
managers perceived they are charged with "getting
back the keys to the store," and exercising control
at the bargaining table in response to the electoral
The second feature of the breakdown in the
second generation is the development of a crisis in
the stable good faith bargaining arrangement when
parents and other citizens accuse the teachers'
39Ibid., p. 180.

organization of protecting unsatisfactory or
incompetent teachers. The reaction in the school
districts studied was that managers felt pressured
to change traditional tenure laws and set up new
machinery for moving inadequate teachers out of the
district. At the bargaining table the
representatives of the school district began taking
stronger stands, even if they were not certain that
the stronger stand was helpful. Teacher
negotiators' response was to claim that they were
protecting the rights of teachers against arbitrary
evaluations, in resisting school district
negotiators' attempts to formulate and enforce
teacher evaluation procedures.
During the field observations, the researchers
also noted a district governance crisis not unlike
that which occurs in the first generation. This,
they speculate, is a response to the political
pressures that becomes well organized and intense.
This pressure alters the ideological belief system
that surrounds the good faith bargaining process
during negotiations. There a struggle develops over

the scope of the bargaining agreement. In the
districts studied a third group emerges, arguing
that the managers have taken the wrong approach in
attempting to limit the scope of the agreement,
claiming that managers have simply abandoned their
responsibility to "really manage." The third group
suggests managing through the contract rather than
around it. In the judgement of the researchers:
The third ideological perspective
represents the driving political force in
the second intergenerational period and
this viewpoint gradually alters the entire
process of collective bargaining in
Generation three is projected as "negotiated
policy," even though Mitchell et al. admit that
details of a third generation were not entirely
clear in their study. Of the eight school districts
studied, only one had moved into a third generation
bargaining relationship. In developing their theory
they compared the one district to the other seven,
and identified several basic elements of the third
generation. One, the superintendent recognizes that
40Ibid., p. 182.

labor relations is more political than economic.
Two, bargaining becomes multilateral as active
parties other than labor and management are
recognized as legitimate influences. Three,
bargaining is recognized as political because its
outcomes are less related to the "division of
economic shares or even organizational authority,
and more a matter of overall educational policy
setting."41 42 The critical issue is seen as public
support for public education.
Because this study ends shortly after the
beginning of collective bargaining, it is
anticipated that there will be some evidence of the
second generation, and no evidence of a third
generation. In any event, the authors of the
generational study conclude that:
[T]he central lesson is that the
unintended, and frequently unnoticed,
policy consequences of teacher
organizations and collective bargaining
have dramatic impacts on school governance
and management.
41 Ibid., pp. 182-183.
42Ibid., p. 184.

Unionism in Colorado
Unionism. 1859-1900
The history of unionism in Colorado began well
before statehood was achieved. In 1859, gold-
seeking newcomers created the State of Jefferson.
That year William M. Byer's Rockv Mountain News and
John L. Merrick's first and only issue of the Cherry
Creek Pioneer appeared on the streets of Auraria and
Denver City.43 Merrick, losing the race to be the
first newspaper publisher, traded his equipment for
provisions and stock and promptly headed for the
gold fields. "Jolly Jack" was no more successful in
the gold fields and returned that same summer,
taking a job at the News as a compositor. In April,
1860 he organized the News compositors and was
elected President of the first labor union in what
would become the State of Colorado.44 Chartered in
Jerome Smiley, ed., History of Denver (Denver:
Times-Sun Publishing Co., 1901), p. 286.
The Denver
44Ibid., 658.

1860, the Denver Typographical Union Local 49
remains as the oldest surviving Colorado union.45
The decade prior to statehood was marked
primarily by loose organizations that lasted for
only short periods. After statehood in 1876, there
was a period of increased labor activity consistent
with the national growth of the Knights of Labor,
the American Federation of Labor, the Railroad
Brotherhood, the United Mine Workers of America, and
the Western Federation of Miners.
The first serious strike in Colorado was
organized by the Knights of Labor in a Leadville
mine in May, 1880. This union had only limited
activity in the state and this strike was the last
of its efforts in the state.46 Despite the downfall
of the Knights of Labor, The First Biennial Report
of the Colorado Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1887
reported that the state had more workers in labor
45Harold Knight, Working in Colorado: A Brief History of the
orado Labor Movement (Denver: Word Press, 1971), p. 1.
46Leroy Hafen, ed., Colorado and Its People (New York: Lewis
torical Publishing Co. Inc., 1948), p. 314.

organizations, in proportion to its population, than
any other state.47
After their founding in 1893, the Western
Federation of Miners organized Colorado's coal
miners. In January, 1894 they struck for an eight
hour day. This issue led to a series of strikes
through the remainder of the decade and on into the
early 1900s. The most violent of these was in 1903
in Cripple Creek. In response to the strike,
Governor James Peabody dispatched the militia to the
strike area. Viewed as undemocratic by some and
criticized by others, this handling of the state's
labor affairs lost Peabody the election of 1904 to
his democratic challenger Alva Adams.48
Unionism. 1900-1940s
The early 1900s were years of unsettled labor
relations as unions struggled for recognition,
better pay, improved working conditions, and an
27 3
47Ibid., pp. 8-9.
48Carl Ubbelohde, Maxine Benson, and Duane A. Smith, eds., A
3oiL|orado History (Boulder, Colo: Pruett Publishing Co., 1982), p.

eight-hour day. This period was marked by
industrial growth and the corporate takeover of
mining and smelting operations in Colorado by the
big eastern trusts. Included was the Colorado Fuel
and Iron Company, whose empire extended into the
coke fields eighteen miles north of Trinidad. It
was here on April 20, 1914, that the industrial
warfare of the era erupted into terror in what the
United Mine Workers labeled the "Ludlow Massacre."49
In a tent colony of mine workers and their families,
the militia that had been called in by Governor
Elias Ammons, exploded three bombs in an apparent
signal to move in. Shots were exchanged resulting
in the killing of miners and militia men.50 Much
worse, however, was the fire that broke out in the
colony, resulting in the death of two women and
eleven children who were burned to death or
49Ibid., pp. 259-260.
50Knight, p. 79.
51Ubbelohde, p. 260.

Once again Colorado's labor struggles drew
national attention. Ludlow had far reaching impact
across the nation and was the impetus to a
Congressional investigation and presidential
intervention. Among other things, it gave rise to
the creation of the Colorado Industrial Commission
and passage of the Colorado Labor Peace Act of
Also in 1915, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., arrived
in Colorado to establish the Rockefeller Employee
Representation Plan purported to give workers in his
companies a vehicle for voicing their grievances.53
Ultimately this plan demonstrated all the weaknesses
of "company unions" from the laborers'
52Stephen J. Leonard and Thomas J. Noel, Denver: Mining Camp
Metropolis (University of Colorado Press, 1990), p. 155. The
Colorado Labor Peace Act was invoked by Governor Roy Romer in 1991
:o prevent the Denver school teachers' threatened strike. For
idiitional information regarding the Ludlow incident see Leonard
inq Noel, pp. 150-155.
53Knight, p. 82.
54Ubbelohde, p. 260.

The subsequent decades through the depression
years were times of little labor activity in
Colorado, with unions maintaining their existence
with varying degrees of success. The "Tramway Wars"
of 1919 and 1920, and the 1927 strike at the
Columbine Mine in Weld County reflected the only
other event of significant labor unrest. The
Tramway riots resulted in the death of seven non-
strikers and injury to many others, and again
brought federal intervention to Colorado.55 The
Columbine Mine strike in 1927 took the lives of six,
with 60 others wounded. Shortly after, Josephine
Roche took ownership of the Rocky Mountain Fuel
Company and made a deal with the UMWA, inviting
organization and supporting the standard eastern
labor agreement.56
The Post Depression Years
After the inactivity of the depression years,
the forties became years of renewed effort to
55Knight, p. 84.
56Hafen, p. 323.

organize Colorado's workers. Encouraged by the
passage of the powerful National Labor Relations Act
of 1935 that provided for election and collective
bargaining procedures for the nation's workers, but
excluded public employees, Denver became the most
fully organized city in the state, with 136 separate
unions affiliated with the AFL alone by 19 4 5.57 The
end of World War II marked the emergence of unions
among employees that had been resistant to union
organization. Included, among others, was the first
concerted effort to organize Denver's teachers.58
Historical Background of the Denver Public Schools
The Denver Public Schools 1859-1904
Denver was still a territory when the first
school was established in 1859 by a colorful
Irishman nicknamed the "Professor."59 Wearing a
silk plug hat and urging his oxen team forward with
57Ibid., p. 325.
58Knight, p. 8.
59Nolie Mumey, Professor Oscar J,
ks, 1959), p. 9.
Goldrick (Denver:

Latin and Greek phrases, Goldrick drew a crowd from
the Auraria saloons and busisnesses along Cherry
Creek on the day of his arrival. This would not be
the last of the Latin speaking "professors" to make
a mark on Denver Public School history. He
organized the first public school on October 3,
1859, in a log cabin near the corner of 12th and
Blake Street in West Denver.60 His first fifteen
students were part Indian, Mexicans, and Americans
who began their education under the school's leaky
roof.61 This particular malady of Denver's school
buildings likewise would repeat itself in years to
come. Goldrick was provided with better quarters
within several months of opening his school, and was
so successful that a second school was established
in I860.62
Territorial legislation in 1861 marked the
beginnings of public education in Colorado, and in
60Ibid., p. 10.
61 Ibid.
62Robert G. Athearn. The Coloradans (Albuquerque: University
dew Mexico Press, 1976), p. 53.

that year provisions were made for levying of both a
district and county education tax. The first two
tax supported school districts were formed in 1862
as East Denver District Number 1, and West Denver
District Number 2, separated geographically by
Cherry Creek. Board elections were held and a two
room school opened in each District in December of
that year.63 Goldrick was chosen as Superintendent
of Schools for Arapahoe County, a position in which
he served for two years until he left education to
become a reporter and correspondent for the Rockv
Mountain News.64
Prophetically two major problems during the
1860s were overcrowding and desegregation. In a
visit to a school in the fall of 1866, William
Byers, editor of the Rockv Mountain News complained
that the facilities were a disgrace and a dishonor.
His visit had found about a hundred and fifty
students crowded into two rooms.65 The News also
63Hafen, P- 161.
^Smiley, P* 734.
65Ibid., P- 54.

took a position on the integration question that had
been raised when a school principal resigned in
protest over the presence of black students in his
school. Expressing the general attitude of the
times, Byers supported equal but separate
facilities.66 Undaunted, Colorado's blacks
established a night school in 1868 and campaigned
for integration, achieving that goal in 1873 when
the Denver School Board approved integration.67 *
Until 1870, the public schools suffered from
the benign neglect of the transitory population in
Denver. Breathing new life into School District 1,
the territorial legislature provided for common
schools in an Act passed on February 11, 1870. The
new law gave the school Board of Directors more
authority, assured for revenue, and established a
method for forming districts. The first wholly
owned public school was completed in 1872. In
ibid., p. 54.
67Carl Abbott, Stephen Leonard
E istorv of the Centennial State
iversity Press, 1982), p. 207.
, and David McComb, Colorado:
(Boulder: Colorado Associated
Smiley, p. 740.

1874 East Denver High School became Denver's first
secondary school. By this time District 1 enrolled
1,212 students, about half the population of school
age children.69
As Denver's population increased and became
more permanent, newly appointed Superintendent Aaron
Gove was faced with a series of difficult problems
in 1874, associated with a growing city school
system. He methodically added temporary and
permanent buildings, in addition to instituting
educational practices that he believed had been
successful in other districts across the nation.
With substantial property revenues to support him
and the firm foundation of the new state's 1876
Constitution, he led District 1 to national
recognition by 1900. The system opened the new
century with 21 schools, 225 teachers, and over
14,000 students.70 The long and successful tenure
of Superintendent Gove ended after thirty years of
service in 1904.
69Ibid., p. 743.
70Leonard and Noel, pp. 73-74.

The Denver Public Schools 1904-1945
The Denver city area actually housed twelve
separate school districts by 1900.71 However,
District 1 was the principal district of the city,
particularly after Gove consolidated District 1 with
Districts 2, 7, and 17 in 1897.72
From 1904 to 1920, four men had served as
superintendent, none for more than five years.73
The country had fought the first World War. What
little attention was paid to the schools during this
time came in the form of a school board with two new
members, who in 1916 were "responsible for an awful
orgy of firing principals and teachers.1,74 By the
twenties the morale of Denver teachers was low.
The progressive movement in education was
developing nationally and phrases such as "democracy
in administration" and "teacher participation"
71Smiley, P- 741.
72Shikes, P- 106.
^Denver Public Schools
74Shikes, P- 160.
School Review. Vol. 27, May 1947, pp.

became the popular catchwords of that time. A
champion of that philosophy was Jesse Newlon,
Denver's new superintendent in 1920. He came from
Nebraska knowing Denver's problems, but believing
they could be solved. During his seven year tenure,
he facilitated the adoption of a single salary for
teachers and implemented curriculum revision that
directly involved teachers. Often the leaders of
the curriculum committees were teachers who were
given time off from their classroom responsibilities
while supply teachers paid from a special district
fund took their classes. Newlon, greatly influenced
by the philosophy of John Dewey, believed that a
well administered school district had to include
teacher participation.75 He was a strong supporter
of the NEA and encouraged teachers to join. By
February 1921 every one of Denver's 1,215 teachers
were members of the Association.76 In 1925 he
became President of the NEA.
^Shikes, p. 169.
76Ibid., p. 176.

Newlon was succeeded by A. L. Threlkeld in
1927. Managing the District during the Age of the
Great Depression was essentially an effort to
overcome the effects of the depression that
permeated the lives of educators as well as others
in the state. Of importance in 1936 was the passage
of the first state tax on individual and corporate
income. For the first year the proceeds were
designated for use as a public school fund. Until
that time the source of state aid for schools had
been the income from state school lands, and from
local district levies.77 Generally Threlkeld
carried on the policies and philosophy of Newlon.
Interrupted only by the two year administration
of Superintendent Alexander Stoddard from 1937 to
1939, the District began a long conservative period
epitomized by Charles E. Greene who became the
superintendent in 1939. His leadership mirrored an
attitude of complacency that existed statewide.
Ready to settle down and maintain the institutions
created over the sixty years since statehood, the
^Ubbelohde, p. 325.

population adopted a sedentary attitude. Although
Greene continued to encourage teacher participation,
changing the old curriculum committees into planning
groups,78 79 he and his wealthy, elite, school board
members showed a healthy respect for the status quo.
The new watchwords for the District, as well as the
state, were "protect," "conserve," and "maintain.1,79
This was interrupted in the forties by the
build up for World War II. Teachers in Denver and
across the country left the classroom for higher
paying jobs as "Rosie Riveter" in the defense
industry. Alice Aronson, a teacher at South High
School enlisted as Denver's first WAVE in 1942.80
Those teachers who remained in the classroom sold
ration tickets as part of their job responsibility.
When the war ended in 1945, a postwar boom
developed in Denver, strengthened by the return of
soldiers who were attracted by the state's beauty
and climate. Herrick Roth, one of these returning
78School Review, pp. 1-5.
79Abbott, Leonard, and McComb, p. 263.
aoLeonard and Noel, p. 228.

soldiers, returned to his teaching position in
January 1946 and within one day participated in the
effort to unionize Denver's teachers.
Greene retired in 1947 and the District
embarked on a twenty year period of growth guided by
Kenneth Oberholtzer.
The Growth of Teacher Organizations
Early Beginnings
The National Teachers' Association was founded
by a group comprised of male professors,
superintendents, college presidents, and principals
in 1857 at a gathering in Philadelphia.81 Their
purpose was to "elevate the character and advance
the interests in the teaching profession and to
promote the cause of popular education in the United
States.82 In the 1870s this organization merged
with the National Association of School
Superintendents and the American Normal School
Cresswell and Murphy,
82Edgar B. Wesley, NEA: The First Hundred Years
>er & Brothers, 1957), p. 24.
(New York

Association, and changed its name to the National
Education Association.83 This merger impacted the
governance of the NEA for the next 100 years.84
Colorado's educational leaders founded the
state's association one year before statehood.
Horace Hale, the Colorado Superintendent for Public
Instruction, sent a letter to superintendents,
principals, teachers, and friends of education on
November 25, 1875, inviting them to a convention in
Denver.85 On December 28, 150 "friends of
education" met at the East Denver High School to
discuss problems in education. Ninety-nine of these
individuals became charter members of the Colorado
Teachers' Association.86 The driving force for
this organization was "the honest desire to bring
83Marshall O. Donley, Power to the Teacher; How America's
cators Became Militant Teachers
ijversity Press, 1976) p. 10. For an account of the founding of
National Education Association, see Edgar B. Wesley. NEA: The
st Hundred Years (Harper Brothers. 1957), esp. ch. 3.
Cresswell and Murphy, p. 60.
85James H. Baker, ed. History of Colorado (Denver: Linderman
Inc., 1927), p. 1184.
Ellison E. Ketchum, "A History of the Colorado Education
ociation," (M.A. thesis, University of Denver, 1936), p. 8.

about desirable legislation relative to the school
laws of Colorado."87 By 1905 the membership reached
1,000, marking the beginning of great growth in the
The CTA's membership reflected that of other
NEA affiliated state organizations and it was
controlled by college presidents and big city
superintendents. Among the first officers elected
was Aaron Gove who served as Secretary to the new
state organization.88 Gove would also serve as
President of the NEA in 1888, thereby earning
membership into the group of big city
superintendents who formed what David Tyack called
the "urban elites." According to Tyack, Gove was
comparable to the nation's powerful superintendents,
particularly in his informal influence with the
Denver board:
Since the board followed the custom of
having subcommittees to make decisions on
administrative matters, Gove exerted his
control not through formal delegation of
responsibility but by being a well-
Ibid., P- 52.
Baker, P- 1184.

informed and trusted adviser to the board
and its committees. He did not limit his
scope to the course of study and
supervision but felt that it was his duty
to participate in all the 'business
affairs of the corporation.' Toward
subordinates he had absolute authority,
but he was content with relatively
undefined power with respect to the board,
until in 1904 he crossed swords with a new
consolidated board and came to believe
that duties and spheres of influence of
the superintendent should be clearly
James H. Baker, the principal of East Denver
High school was also among CTA's members. In 1892
he became the President of the University of
Colorado and was a founder of the "Committee of Ten"
that led the reform for revisions in secondary
schools in the early 1900s.90 He would later serve
as President of the NEA's Department of Higher
Denver's school board, made up of predominantly
wealthy businessmen,91 epitomized what these
Tyack, p. 91.
Fay Abbott, Famous Coloradans (Paonia, Colo: Mountaintop
1990), p. 89.
91In 1902 four of the six board members were D. C. Doge, F,
>tei.nhauer, Tyson S. Dines, and Thomas Keely.

powerful school leaders desired. Statistically
Denver, a centralized system where board members
were elected at large, "enjoyed" a disproportionate
number of these "elites" than was typical of most
urban cities where board members were elected by
wards.92 Not all of Denver's teachers were
enthusiastic about this school board makeup. In
1903, President Flynn announced that "the [Denver]
Teacher's Club is a democratic institution of the
teachers, by the teachers, and for the
teachers...."93 This club had been founded in 1897
by Aaron Gove as an organization with social and
professional objectives to help bring the teachers
of the newly consolidated District 1 together.94
92Tyack, p. 141, citing Scott Nearing, "Who's Who in Our Board
Education?" School and Society, pp. 89-90; George Struble, "A
dy of School Board Personnel," American School Board Journal. 65
t. 1922) pp. 48-49; George S. Counts, The Social Composition of
rds of Education (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1927),
93Rockv Mountain News. 18 October 1903.
94Mazie Leola Dolphin,
chers' Association" (M.A.
"A History of the Denver Classroom
thesis, University of Denver, 1936),

Women and the Formation of Teachers1 Unions
In the same year that Gove was organizing
teachers for social and professional objectives,
Margaret Haley formed the Chicago Teachers'
Federation primarily for the benefit of women
elementary teachers.95 From the beginning, female
teachers' unions were clearly identified with
improving the conditions of women, and were seen by
the NEA's "elite" as being run by militant women.
Haley opposed the reforms leading toward
centralization in the administrative structure of
the Chicago schools that was supported by the NEA
leaders.96 The Chicago Teachers' Federation
affiliated with the Chicago Federation of Labor in
1902, and was one of the founding teachers' locals
in the formation of the American Federation of
Teachers in 1912. The American Federation of
95William E. Eaton, The American Federation of Teachers. 1916-
1: A History of the Movement (Carbondale: Southern Illinois
yersity Press, 1975), p. 15.
96Wayne Urban, "Teacher Activism," in American Teachers:
tory of a Profession at Work (New York: Macmillan Publishing
, 1989), pp. 193-194.

Teachers affiliated with the American Federation of
Labor in 1916.97
Notwithstanding their affiliation, members of
these unions were invited to participate in the NEA
conventions. Haley gave an address titled "Why
Teachers Should Organize" to the NEA national
proceedings in St. Louis in 1904. She identified
four conditions mitigating against effective
teaching: (1) inadequate salaries, (2) job
insecurity, (3) overwork in overcrowded classrooms,
and (4) lack of recognition of the teacher as an
educator and a tendency toward "factorizing
education."98 Gove followed Haley to the podium,
objecting to teachers participating in decision-
making. He pointed out that teachers were hired
97Ibid. For accounts of Margaret Haley's, and the efforts of
er women teachers to organize, see Marjorie Murphy, Blackboard
ons; The AFT & the NEA. 1900-1980 (Ithaca: Cornell University
ss, 1990) esp. ch. 4.; Nancy Hoffman, Women's True Profession
stbury, N.Y.: The Feminist Press, 1981) pp. 289-300; and David
Tyack, The One Best System (Cambridge: Harvard University
ss, 1974) esp. Part V, Section 5, "Lady Labor Sluggers and the
fessional Proletariat."
98Nancy Hoffman,
Hibltorv of Teaching
Women's True
raw-Hill Books,
(Old Westbury
1981), p. 291.
Profession: Voices from the
, N.Y.: The Feminist Press,

only to carry out the views of the administration
and the board.
It is comparable to the turning out of
work by an industrial establishment, the
performance of a task assigned by the
chief of police of a city, or communicated
to a soldier while on duty. A
superintendent and his line officers
necessarily have despotic authority, 'but
that despotism can be wielded with a
gloved hand.
It ultimately became apparent to these
"militant" women that the NEA would be far more
interested in the cause of popular education, than
it would be in the cause of teachers. An ongoing
battle between Haley and the male leadership of the
NEA developed, with Haley complaining that the NEA's
model of the profession kept "teachers on the lowest
rung of the ladder."* 100
It was this issue which gave rise to Denver's
grade school teachers' demand for a salary increase
"Tyack, p. 257, citing Aaron Gove, "Limitations of the
erintendent's Authority," pp. 152-153.
100James W. Fraser, "Agents of Democracy, Urban Elementary-
ool Teachers and the Conditions of Teaching," in American
chers: Histories of a Profession at Work (New York: Macmillan
lishing Co., 1989), p. 129.

in 1911. On April 7, twenty-eight teachers
representing twenty schools met at East Side High
School to discuss the formation of the Grade School
Teachers' Association. Stating as a major interest,
the inequality of pay among teachers, Cora B.
Morrison, Jessie Hamilton, Celia Peterson, and
Amelia Webber are credited with instigating the
organization of grade school teachers.
They held their first organization meeting on
October 6, 1911,101 and the following year
threatened to strike over their demand to have the
same salaries as janitors.102 The highest paid
janitor received $3,000 compared to the highest paid
elementary school teacher who earned $960 per year.
At least one Board member believed this to be an
"absurd comparison" because a "woman could not do
that [janitorial] work."103 The women threatened
to follow the Chicago teachers' example and organize
a movement that would lead to a union. Although the
101Dolphin, pp. 10, 58.
102The Denver Post. 19 December 1912, p. 15.
103The Denver Republican. 17 December 1912. p. 1.

Board refused the requested raise, no teacher action
occurred. 104In 1914 the Denver Board granted its
grade school teachers a salary increase touted to
provide for "abler" teachers.105
Denvers Senior High School Association was
originally organized as a committee of ten who met
at the Albany Hotel in 1907. This group became
known as the High School Council in 1912 and the
committee was increased to 15 members. In 1915 the
Council became the High School Teachers'
Association, whose members were from North, South,
East, West, Manual, Longfellow, and Latin High
Schools.106 Three years later, on October 4, 1919,
they affiliated with the AFL, and changed their name
to Senior High School Teachers' Association.107
Duressa Dupree, in supporting affiliation with a
labor union, contended that "the NEA had been in
existence for 60 years, and had never undertaken to
104The Denver Post. 19 December 1912.
105The Times. 21 August 1914.
106Dolphin, pp. 5, 56.
107Rockv Mountain News. 4 October 1919, p. 1.

better the conditions of teachers, and that labor
unions had afforded actual benefits to its
members."108 The same week the NEA presented a
plan to reorganize and include the welfare of
teachers in its program.109
In the meantime the CTA membership increased
over 300% between 1905 and 1915.110 By 1920 the
state organization officially opposed affiliation
with the AFL.111 Now firmly structured like most
professional organizations, the CTA had an executive
director, and was arranged along the lines of the
NEA with a governance structure of an Educational
Council. It became customary in Colorado for the
state legislature to sponsor educational legislation
only after sanction of the Educational Council was
assured.112 Pushed by teachers for a more
representative and democratic system, the CTA
108Rockv Mountain News. 24 June 1919, p. 3.
110Ketchum, p. 17.
111Rockv Mountain News. 3 January 1920, p. 9.
112Ketchum, p. 38.

eliminated the Educational Council and replaced it
with the Delegate Assembly in 1926, and in 1927
changed its name to the Colorado Education
Association.113 Nevertheless, the character
established by the NEA, and adopted by the CEA,
would remain in place,into the 1960s.
The Development of the DCTA
As discussed above, Jesse Newlon supported
teacher participation in District decisions, a
philosophy he demonstrated soon after his arrival as
the Denver superintendent. Noting that there were
four distinct employee organizations, he called a
meeting on October 3, 1921, to discuss the
feasibility of consolidating the Principals'
Association, the Denver Teachers' Club, the Grade
Teachers' Association, and the Senior High School
Teachers' Association. In April of the following
year, the need for consolidating the teachers'
groups was presented by Amelia Irving of Byers High
School. She declared:
113Ibid., p. 40.

One, that there should be teacher
solidarity among the teachers in our city.
Two, every teacher should be in touch with
elementary, junior, and senior high school
problems. Three, education is not divided
into compartments, hence all education is
to be viewed as a unit. Fourth, if
education is to be considered as a unit,
the teaching body should be considered as
a unit. Fifth, the need of self-
protection as a teaching body.114
On June 6, 1922, the following letter was
presented to the District.
The joint committee on re-organization is
unanimously in favor of the following:
1. An organization of classroom teachers
which takes the place of the Grade
Teachers' Association and the High School
Teachers' Association.
2. The name, "Denver Classroom Teachers'
There will be a special meeting of the
Grade Teachers' Association on Tuesday,
June 13, at East Side High School at 4:15
to discuss these questions.
The High School Committee has been
empowered to act and your committee is
asking like power.115
1uDolphin, p. 12.
115Letter dated 6 June 1922, signed by Minnie Addelman, Isabel
;.mer, Helen Singleton, and Leota Larimer.

On October 17, 1922 with the blessing of
Newlon, the Denver Classroom Teachers' Association
formed and wrote its Articles of Incorporation and
The immediate goals of the new organization
were to secure organized action, to improve economic
status, and to provide for the professional
betterment of teachers.116 The DCTA membership was
limited "only to those teachers who are actively
engaged in classroom work in the Denver Public
Schools..."117 Article II of the Articles of
Incorporation stated the object of the organization:
[T]o improve the material welfare and to
raise the professional efficiency of the
teachers, and thus promote the welfare of
the public schools; to foster a spirit of
sympathetic good-will and helpfulness
among teachers, and to awaken in the
public mind a sense of the significance of
the teaching profession....118
The pressing salary issue of the grade teachers
was addressed the first year of the merger of the
116Ibid., p. 21.
117Ibid., p. 48.
118Ibid., p. 43.

teachers organizations into the DCTA. Working
together, the DCTA and Newlon adopted a single
salary schedule that attracted national attention
and was characterized by some as the best salary
schedule in the nation.119 In May, 1925 DCTA
submitted a petition to the CEA to amend its
constitution to include a separate department of
classroom teachers within the CEA structure.120 The
DCTA identified itself from its inception as an
organization specifically to address teacher
interests. Its membership of 1,619 in 1924, dropped
off to 1,335 in 1925, and remained steady through
the Great Depression with 1,387 members in 1935.121
By this time the AFT had adopted the
conventional union model with national officers, and
had no active federations in the state in the
twenties.122 It would not be until after World War
119Shikes, p. 164.
120Dolphin, p. 29.
121 Dolphin, p. 33.
122Cresswell and Murphy, p.75.

II that teachers in Colorado would' again demonstrate
much interest in forming a union.

Under the evolutionary framework developed by
Mitchell et al., each stage is characterized by:
(1) a particular ideological system which
describes the legitimate interests of all
actors and sets limits on how those
interests can be properly pursued; (2) a
unique approach to structuring labor
relation activities; and (3) a specific
set of bargaining strategies and
contractual outcomes.123
The researchers use the phrase "meet and confer" to
describe the first generation discussions between
teacher organizations and administrators concerning
the terms and conditions of employment. Teachers
are considered to be professional or quasi-
professional employees, but the school board has the
unilateral right to make final decisions. Labor
relations activities are structured through an
informal, ongoing committee system, or by means of
special meetings.
123Mitchell et al., p. 173.

Ideologically this period assumes a commonality
of goals between teachers and administrators. It
also assumes problems can be solved through
discussion to the benefit of the common good. The
economic assumption is that the board will take care
of its teachers to the best of its ability. If the
teachers are not satisfied, the "proper course" is
to change jobs rather than demand change within the
school district.
The purpose for having a teacher organization
is so that teachers may provide the school board
with advice and information, which the board may
accept or reject. Leadership in the teacher
organization tends to be "honorific" and not issue
related. If there is turnover in the district
administrative leadership, it is associated with
school program issues or changing demographics in
the community rather than teacher organization or
labor issues. As first-generation relationships
develop, however, teacher organizations become more
influential and the school board and district

managers come to accept the organization's right to
be consulted on matters of salary and benefits.124
The events leading to the DFT demand for a
recognition election and the right to bargain in
1961 will be the focus of this chapter. The major
figures, as identified by the interviewees were
Superintendent Kenneth Oberholtzer, John Eklund,
founder and president of the DFT, and Herrick Roth,
DFT/CFT executive director. Others who were
identified as playing important roles were Ruth
McIntosh Jeffs and George Cavender (deceased),
leaders in the initial organizing effort of the DFT.
No DCTA members or other school administrators were
perceived to be key participants. The major events
identified were the ceaseless effort of the
Federation to organize teachers, the success of
achieving a significant salary increase in 1946, the
employment of Kenneth Oberholtzer as the
superintendent in 1947, and the formation of the
Employees' Council in 1951.
124Ibid., pp. 174-175.

The Post War Years: 1946-1951
The postwar years in Colorado have been
characterized as an "awakening," and a time of
"tremendous transformation." For Denver's public
schools the postwar years were a wake up call that
signalled a period of cautious transformation.
Described as an unimaginative superintendent125 by
one teacher activist, Charles E. Greene remained the
superintendent until 1947, when he retired. The new
superintendent was Kenneth Oberholtzer who was to
become one of the most notable superintendents in
the history of the District.126 His national
renown is evidenced by his appearance on the cover
of Time in February, 1950.127 All of the school
board members who had been elected during the
depression and war years remained in their
125Jeffs interview.
126He joined Jesse Newlon and Aaron Gove in this regard.
127Time, Cover, 20 February 1950.

positions, 128however a board turnover began in 1947
and by 1955 it was complete.
Colorado's teachers, whose pay remained
unchanged since 1938 under an austere war-time
budget, began asking for salary improvements. In
October 1945 several hundred teachers from across
the state marched out of the Colorado Education
Association Annual Convention and onto the state
capitol grounds demanding that the Governor Ralph
Carr propose legislation and support a minimum
salary of $1500 per year for Colorado's
teachers.129 He offered no help however, and the
CEA dropped its effort.
Denver's school board had pursued a "policy of
containment" during the war years between 1940 and
1945, ostensibly to assist in the war effort.130
Limiting expenses and cutting costs had by 1945
128The school board members were L. Kent Robinson (1929-1947) ,
President, Mira Scott Frank (1939-1951) Dorothea Kunsmiller (1931-
1955), William W. Grant (1943-1949), Samuel Johnson (1933-1951),
Hoyprd Patience (1937-1947), and William C. Stearne (1935-1947).
129Denver Teachers' Union letter, 14 March 1946.
130John Eklund, Ph.D., Telephone interview by author,
truary 1993. Also Eklund questionnaire.

resulted in many deficiencies in school building
maintenance, outdated materials, and numerous
shortages of supplies. Disturbed by this state of
affairs, John Eklund, an English teacher at Cole
Junior High School, attended the quarterly meeting
of the DCTA at Morey Junior High School in October
1945 with the intent to see what could be done to
make improvements.131 Speaking from the floor, he
recalls making some "stinging remarks" about the
failure of the DCTA to step forward and take action
concerning the district's deficiencies. Taking no
action whatsoever, the DCTA meeting adjourned.
Disappointed by their "do nothing attitude," a
group of teachers gathered around Eklund supporting
his remarks and asking what could be done. They
decided to form an Executive Committee of five
teachers, whose purpose was to develop a plan to
improve salaries and working conditions in the
district. Eklund was appointed as Chair of the
Executive Committee, which included George Cavender
and Robert Ozanne, from East High School, Ruth

McIntosh (Jeffs) from Cole Junior High School, and
Arnold Ward, a "feisty, little guy," from North High
School.132 At the Oasis Lounge on East Colfax,
this "rump" group of determined teachers began
laying the groundwork for an "independent and
unified group of teachers who [would be] directly
responsible for assuming the leadership required to
raise [teachers] professional standards."133 These
five became the first of a core of 55 teachers who
would initiate a campaign to charter the Denver
Federation of Teachers Local 8 58.134
Their initial strategy was to develop an action
plan that became known as the "Sixteen Point Plan."
The Executive Committee took to the plan to
faculties, with the permission of each school
principal. Eklund also believed that a strong
132Ibid. Also interviews with Herrick Roth and Ruth McIntosh
, and questionnaires completed by Eklund, Roth, and Jeffs.
Denver Teachers' Union letter, 14 March 1946.
interviews with Eklund and Jeffs.
134Philip M. Kleinsmith. "A Teachers' Union and A Collective
Bargaining Election," (Juris Doctor dissertation, University of
Dejwer, 1967), p. 12. Also interviews with Eklund, Roth, and
Jeffs, and questionnaires of each.

teachers' organization was needed to support the
plan. He proposed affiliation with the American
Federation of Teachers, whom he saw as the only
legitimate teacher organization responding to
teacher interests.135 According to Eklund,
Cavender was initially hesitant about affiliation
with the AFT, but came around to the idea after
persuasion by the other four.136 At the schools
the "rump group" received a good reception for the
plan, although the number of teachers who actually
attended the general meetings was few.137 Always
more men than women showed an interest, and the
"hardest nut to crack" was the elementary school
teacher.138 Jeffs found these women to be
"compliant, submissive, and conservative in their
135Eklund interview.
136Ibid. Information about Cavender indicates that he
subsequently served for many years as a leader in the labor
movement in Colorado.
137In addition to meetings at the schools, several general
meetings were held in the Assembly Room at the school district
offices at 14th and Court Place. Eklund and Jeffs report that
never more than 50 teachers attended these general meetings.
Jeffs interview.

outlook." They were personally upset by the word
"union" and expressed the view that association with
a union would be beneath their professional position
as a teacher.139 Some of the teachers showing
early interest were men returning to their teaching
jobs, many of them were still on active duty.140
One of these returning veterans was Herrick Roth.
Roth arrived home on Sunday, January 25, 1946,
after spending the past four years writing technical
radar manuals for the military. He had been drafted
away from his teaching position at Smiley Junior
High School where he had taught since 1938.141 His
first year teacher pay was a $100 a month, less a 10
percent discount imposed during the depression. The
first day of school he recalled that his greeting
from the Dean at Smiley was a reminder of the
expectation that Denver's teachers paid dues to the
professional organizations. Because Roth didn't
141Herrick Roth, Interview by author, Tape recording, 12 May

have the money to pay $1.00 to DCTA, $5.00 to CEA,
and $8.00 to NEA, he challenged other teachers about
the membership expectation and dues obligation.
They warned him that he was on probation, and that
if he didn't have the $14.00, they'd loan it to him.
"Denver was 100 percent on everything. That was the
labor policy."142 Even though he considered the
organization to be nothing more than a "tea drinking
society" he paid the dues, but refused to
participate in the organization's activities.
The GI Bill of Rights guaranteed veterans that
within two weeks of returning home, they were
entitled to reinstatement to their former jobs.
Roth explained that Denver's school district policy,
however, required that returning veterans start at
the beginning of each semester to avoid classroom
disruption. Roth reported to Smiley Junior High
School on January 26, 1946, the first day of the
second semester. It was the day after his return
from the war. Had he not reported on this day he
would not have been able to resume teaching until

September, 1946 at the beginning of the next school
Still dressed in military uniform, he went to
the his first meeting of the Denver Teachers'
Union144 general meeting at the school district's
Assembly Room. "My first question was, 'Why are we
meeting in the school administration building.
Doesn't that make us a company union?'" The son of
a small Nebraska town banker, Roth had no previous
union experience, but instinctively believed that
teachers should be independent of the school
administration.145 "The whole thing really got off
the ground when Roth appeared on the scene. You
never made an excuse with Roth."146
By February 23, 1946 the Rockv Mountain News
announced that a "campaign to unionize Denver's 1600
144According to Jeffs and Eklund, the original name was changed
tcjlthe Denver Federation of Teachers when chartered specifically to
eliminate the term "union," because it was objectionable to many
teciChers. Roth is not certain whether this meeting was on his
filyst or second day of work.
146Jeffs interview.

public school teachers to gain higher pay and better
working conditions" had been undertaken. Within two
weeks, the News reported, the members would decide
whether to form a local association or join the
American Federation of Teachers.147 It actually
took three weeks for 54 men and one women (Jeffs),
who signed the original charter to affiliate with
the American Federation of Teachers as Local 858 on
March 16, 1946. Eklund, Roth, and Jeffs noted that
their approach was not one of seeking collective
bargaining at the time, but rather to organize
teachers so that they would have a more "powerful
voice" with the school administration.
Concurrent with the AFT affiliation, the DFT
publicly announced its "Sixteen Point Program" which
became the Federation's objectives:148
1. Maintenance of a single salary
2. A substantial increase in the salaries
of teachers based on an appreciation of
their professional worth and on the
increased cost of living.
147Rockv Mountain News. 23 February 1946.
148Denver Federation of Teachers membership brochure, 1946.

3. An equalization of teacher load
throughout the three levels allowing one
planning period per day for every teacher.
4. Expanding the program whereby teachers
may have a real voice in the establishment
of educational policy including the
interviewing and supporting of prospective
members of the board of education.
5. Reduction of class size to the point
where modern teaching methods may become
a reality.
6. An expanded health program for all
7. A more adequate health program for all
pupils of serious anti-social behavior
8. Elimination of certain malpractices in
hiring and placing teachers such as:
arbitrarily cutting years of experience,
holding up of first increment, holding
teachers on a supply basis for unwarranted
periods of time, and discounting August
salary check.
9. Method by which contributions to such
agencies as the Community Chest shall be
democratically instituted and administered
exclusively by teachers.
10. Continuing and expanding the program
for maintaining the professional
efficiency of teachers by inservice
training. 11
11. An aggressive support for teachers
everywhere for decent pay and working