Union Will Ask Presidential Candidates to Side Against Walmart in Debate Ad

National Retail Federation Has Its Own Ad Plans in CBS Broadcast

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It's not clear how heated Saturday's Democratic presidential debate on CBS will be, but the advertising battle between retailers and the United Food and Commercial Workers union is shaping up as pretty hot.

The UFCW's Making Change at Walmart group will run an ad on CBS during the debate asking candidates to join their effort to change labor practices as the nation's biggest retailer.

The National Retail Federation plans to run two ads during the debate focusing on how retail workers have learned from their jobs, and the raises they've been getting.

The Making Change at Walmart ad shows people identified as current and former Walmart workers complaining about low wages, erratic schedules and hour and benefit cuts. They ask Democratic candidates (and Republicans) "Are you with us? Well, are you?"

"Every day, millions of hardworking Walmart and retail workers struggle," said Jess Levin, communications director of Making Change at Walmart, in a statement. "It's why we're ask Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley and every Republican to speak out in support of the men and women who have earned a chance at a better life."

The NRF "represents the interests of the employer, not the employee," Ms. Levin added in an e-mail to Ad Age. "The concerns that real Walmart workers have are shared by retail workers across the country. That is why we think it is so important that presidential candidates commit to standing with retail workers in their fight for a better life."

Walmart spokesman Brian Nick said in a statement: "While the UFCW is committed to spending its members' hard-earned union dues attacking a company that employs 1.3 million Americans, Walmart will continue to focus on our commitment to invest $2.7 billion over this year and next in wages, education and training for our associates."

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