LIMA — About a dozen workers stood at the Metcalf Street gates to the Lima Refinery Friday morning, bolstering themselves for what would be a hot day — or a long string of hot days on the picket line.The more than 200 hourly workers at the Husky Lima Refinery walked off the job at 9:45 a.m. Friday. It took weeks of failed negotiations to get to the point where a strike was on. It took just minutes to set it up.“We just had to pull our cars out and move them off the lot. The guys were out on the line as soon as we made the call,” said Mike Edelbrock, president of United Steel Workers 624, which represents the plant’s hourly workforce.Within minutes of the 9:45 a.m. strike deadline, picket lines were set up at gates at Metcalf and Collett streets and Buckeye Road. Union leadership said they will continue to talk with Husky officials, but are committed to securing a fair contract.“What can I say? We were up all night on this. We’re going to keep negotiating and see what happens,” Edelbrock said.Husky officials said Friday the plant is maintaining normal operations despite the strike. Salaried employees, many of whom came up through the ranks of hourly laborers, are covering needed jobs.“Contingency plans have been put in place to provide for continued safe and reliable operations during a labor disruption. These include using experienced technical staff and former front-line workers who have moved into management positions. All replacement workers are trained to the same requirements and occupational safety standards as the regular workforce, and each person has received specific process unit and task-oriented training,” Husky Spokesman Mel Duvall said in a statement released Friday afternoon.Edelbrock said the strike was necessary because the two sides are stuck on issues of working conditions, safety and the use of vacation time. Husky officials said they have offered three years of wage increases. Husky officials say their offer to the union was a good one.“The Company has put forward a labor contract proposal that provides benefits that are in accordance with or exceed the national pattern of accepted agreements at refineries,” Duvall said.Husky presented its “last and best” offer May 1 and hasn’t moved substantially from that position. The local’s 230 members rejected that offer days later by a 5-to-1 margin, but continued to work under the terms of a three-year contract that expired April 15. Husky officials say that last offer met or exceeded agreements recently signed at other U.S. refineries. It included a three-year contract, medical insurance for which Husky pays 80 percent, a proposed 401k pension plan that increases contributions for 99 percent of employees and provides for immediate vesting, and increases wages over the next three years. With adjustments, wages will average $37 an hour.“Other items in the offer are related to the Company’s ability to maintain a flexible workforce, increase safety, and reduce a higher-than-standard absenteeism rate. These improvements are necessary to remain competitive in a challenging refining industry. A number of U.S. refineries have closed in recent months as the industry faces increased global competition, high crude oil prices and volatile refining margins,” Husky said in its statement.Edelbrock said the union and Husky representatives spent the entire night in negotiations Thursday but remained at an impasse. He said union negotiators would continue to talk with the company.The last time the Lima Refinery has a strike was in 1980 when the 400 workers with what was then the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers union joined 60,000 national workers in a walkout that lasted 11 weeks.