Fact check: Chris Christie's lying in some of his anti-union talking points

In fact, on the occasions when the Legislature granted the unions new benefits, it was for pensions, which were not subject to collective bargaining — and it has not happened in eight years. In reality, state employees have paid 1.5 percent of their salaries toward health insurance since 2007, in addition to co-payments and deductibles, and since last spring, many local government workers, including teachers, do as well. The few dozen school districts where employees agreed to concessions last year still saw layoffs and cuts in academic programs.

“Clearly there has been a pattern of the governor playing fast and loose with the details,” said Brigid Harrison, a political science professor at Montclair State University. “But so far, he’s been adept at getting the public to believe what he says.”…

Political analysts, Democrats and even some of his Republican allies say that Mr. Christie could — and sometimes does — make most of his points without resorting to questionable claims. It is beyond dispute that New Jersey is in terrible financial shape, that the governor has made big cuts in spending, that the pension funds are headed for insolvency and that state workers pay little for generous health benefits compared with those in the private sector.

But in going beyond those facts, the governor sometimes wanders into gray areas. In addition to claims about unions circumventing collective bargaining to “get what they want” from the Legislature, he has frequently said that “there are dozens of states in this country” that do not let public-sector unions bargain collectively (there are, experts said, eight); that New Jersey’s last round of union negotiations, under a Democratic governor, were not adversarial (there were heated protests at the State House); and that the vast majority of teachers in the state get free health care (they did until last year).