There is definitely a place for someone with good testing skills on an agile team, whether or not that person has programming skills. Of course, it depends on the team. A very small team might require that everyone on the team can code. Our experience is that programmers on the team can help with tasks such as test automation. Agile teams need good exploratory testers, just like any development team. They need people who see the big picture from multiple viewpoints, and ask good questions the programmers and customers might not think of.
Thanks. That is how we estimate currently, however, as our team gains more experience writing tests, we are beginning to cover more than function testing alone (e.g. performance, error recovery, coding standards, etc.). How do we know when we're done?
Unions are used for collective bargaining. Frankly, I don't care what you make so long as I'm happy with what I make. Now if you and I are going to work at the same payscale, then I do care what you make, our interests are aligned and we can band together.
This works well for jobs involving manual labor. Consider the cannonical assembly line worker. Whether it's turning a screw, painting wood, inspecting quality, the best person is only marginaly better than the average person, or even someone on the low end.
In our industry, there's a factor of 10:1 between the best and the worst, and a factor of 2:1 between the best and the average. I don't want my pay to be pegged to the average, and my promotions and benefits based on some fixed agreement independent of the work I do.