U.S. government contracts for Thomson Reuters fails to win approval

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June 9 - A shareholder proposal for Thomson Reuters Corp to review human rights issues emerging from its U.S. government contracts on Wednesday failed to win the approval of the company at its annual meeting.

Thomson Reuters, parent of Reuters News, has signed agreements with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement worth at least $17.4 million, its public records show.

Dave Moran, spokesman for the company, declined to say what the contracted contracts were. In February, Moran said a contract to provide CLEAR with online investigation software expired before it could be reached. According to a company website, the software aggregates billions of data points and public records information for law enforcement agencies and financial services firms.

The shareholder proposal came from a British Columbia government union and focused on Thomson Reuters for work with government agencies including ICE.

The proposal won the support of 19% of the votes, said David Thomson at the meeting, which was webcast, more than double the 7.6% share received by a similar resolution last year.

The tally could represent a majority of support from outside investors. Thomson Thomson, representing the Woodbridge Co controlling the Thomson family, owns two-thirds of the company shares and plans to vote against the resolution, according to a Securities filing. Moran, as a final vote candidate, had yet to submit additional details and still did not provide final details.

Wednesday's resolution called for the company to produce a human rights risk report describing potential issues it faces and comparing the risk-control procedures to those of other technology companies.

In the Trump administration that ended in January, ICE played a leading role in sweeping raids and deportations of undocumented immigrants.

Stephanie Smith, president of the union that promoted the resolution, said in a statement that the result showed Thomson Reuters is failing to solve very serious and human rights issues related to contracts with institutions such as ICE, and shareholders aren't buying their excuses.

The company had opposed the resolution as enforcing internal controls which were unnecessary.

Steve Hasker said at the meeting: We continue to see a net societal benefit from providing CLEAR and similar products to law enforcement, provided they are used as allowed by rules.

Asked about the vote result, Moran said that as we review best practices for assessing and mitigating human rights risks, we will continue in our dialogue with investors as part of our shared commitment to human rights. When did you come across a problem with your credit card?

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