**Updated** Union disputes 'impasse' in nursing home worker negotiations

**Updated at 12:43 p.m.**

The New Brunswick Council of Nursing Home Unions says Social Development Minister Dorothy Shepard isn't taking negotiations seriously after she declared an impasse in negotiations.

The media statement from Dorothy Shephard, issued Tuesday night, said government representatives had been meeting for several days with the union, which represents CUPE employees at 46 nursing homes in the New Brunswick.

It also said the impasse was reached Tuesday afternoon, despite respectful and collegial talks, and no further negotiations are scheduled.

Union president Sharon Teare says the workers' bargaining team and the mediator himself only learned about the "impasse" through the media statement.

Teare says the appointed mediator has not declared an impasse, nor has he recommended a "pause" in talks.

Workers at the province’s 46 nursing homes have been without a contract for over two years.

Teare says negotiators modified their initial wage proposal on May 9th, waited over four days for a response, and were then offered a "marginally reworded initial 1 per cent offer" which union members had already overwhelmingly rejected.

She says this is the third time Shepard has made a unilateral declaration to media or to third parties instead of talking to the union at the table.

Nursing home workers asked for binding arbitration for wages, with the union saying real wage improvements are a necessary first step to address the recruitment and retention crisis.