ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) – Workers in contract talks with Atlantic City’s casinos fear losing something a lot worse than money: their place in the middle class.

With the gambling halls seeking steep pay cuts, plus contributions to health care and benefit costs, service workers at the casinos say they fear losing a middle-class lifestyle if the cuts go through.

Some have already seen their pay cut steeply. That has made them give up things like cable TV, Internet, dinners out, movies and even air conditioning.

The casinos say they need concessions to keep Atlantic City alive in the face of growing competition from casinos in neighboring states.

Contracts between the Unite-HERE union and 10 of the 11 casinos expired last month.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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