What Labor Day means

At the time Labor Day was formed, unions were fighting for "very specific improvements in their working conditions," Freeman said.

The eight-hour workday that most workers have today was fought for by workers.

Labor Day provided an opportunity for workers to meet together and discuss their priorities

as well as for the country's recognition of the contributions they make to society.

Freeman says that there was also an even more radical political component to Labor Day celebrations.

He said that the Knights of Labor were looking at the idea of "what we call the industrial capitalist system being fundamentally exploitative

It created inequities in wealth and power. They wanted to give workers more control in society."

Freeman said that "Back when Labor Day started, there was a lot of voices which were fundamentally challenging the emerging system.

Labor leaders at that time supported alternatives to the "capitalist wage structure", such as collective ownership of corporations and socialism.