Some 46,400 workers at General Motors, Ford and Daimler represented by the Canadian Auto Workers have voted to strike if needed, as pay talks approach a September deadline, the Detroit News reported.

DaimlerChrysler and GM employees were 97% in favour of a strike, while Ford staff voted 95% for action, the Detroit News said, citing a union statement.

The CAW is after increased pay and limits on overtime to spread work around more employees, the newspaper added.

The Detroit News said that unions often use the authorisation votes as a part of the negotiating process, and the move doesn't necessarily mean the workers intend to strike.

CAW President Buzz Hargrove will name a target company after Labor Day this weekend, with a bargaining deadline of Sept. 17, the union said, according to the Detroit News.

The union tries to negotiate an agreement with the target company that can be adapted to the other two vehicle makers, the Detroit News said.