The Canadian Auto Workers turned up the heat in negotiations with the Detroit Three automakers on Wednesday by saying its members must be ready to strike at all of the companies.

"It is our hope and intention to reach an agreement with at least one of the three companies before the deadline," the CAW said in a leaflet distributed to members. "We must be prepared, though, to shut down operations at all three, should we be unable to reach an agreement."

The union said it has strike mandates from its members at the Canadian operations of all three of the automakers, but has not designated a strike target.

"The corporations are refusing to add any costs whatsoever – instead they insist on cutting costs from our existing agreements," the union said in the leaflet.

"Worse still, the corporations fail to recognize the sacrifices our members at General Motors, Chrysler and Ford made during the economic crisis."

The leaflet goes on to say: "We must be prepared to shut down operations at all three [companies], should we be unable to reach an agreement."

The union has set a strike deadline of 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 17 to reach a deal.

The CAW typically names a target company for each round of contract negotiations. The deal with the target automakers normally serves as a template for an agreement with the other two firms. In this round of bargaining, the CAW said it is attempting to negotiate simultaneously with all three of the automakers. The CAW began negotiating with the domestic automakers in August.